June 19, 2014— -- The flag of ISIS was pictured flying above Iraq's biggest oil refinery today, an image that suggested the Sunni militant group had taken control of the refinery in their quest to take control of the country.
The image at the Baiji refinery was taken from a video obtained by the Associated Press, which quoted a witness saying that the refinery was now controlled by ISIS.
The extremist Sunni group, whose initials stand for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have been taking over cities in Iraq as they march toward Baghdad. The refinery is about 150 miles north of Baghdad.
The Iraqi government insists that over the two days of fighting at the refinery it has maintained control of the vital facility and has used attack helicopters to blunt the attack.
A man who identified himself by the alias Abu Anas claimed to be a member of ISIS told the Associated Press by phone that they had failed to capture the refinery because of the helicopters' firepower. But the AP noted that there was no way to verify the man's identity or his location.
The Baiji facility provides electricity to the capital Baghdad.
Gas prices in the U.S. spiked Wednesday in response to the news, hitting a six-year high.
Iraq has asked the U.S. for airstrikes targeting the ISIS militants, but President Obama has said the strikes are not imminent.