By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices contributed to the recent gains on Monday, with Brent at nearly $ 70 a barrel as escalating tensions in the Middle East increased worries about supply disruptions.
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West Texas Intermediate crude was $ 63.86 a barrel, up 81 cents, or 1.3%, after hitting an intraday high of $ 64.27.
Oil prices rose more than 3% on Friday after the United States killed an Iranian top commander in an air raid on Baghdad airport.
The Iraqi government on Sunday urged American and other foreign troops to leave Iraq, increasing concerns about an expanding Middle East conflict that could disrupt oil supplies to the region.
The US President Donald Trump threatened on Sunday with "big retribution" against Iran if Tehran should return the murder.
"The assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani will trigger a long cycle of regional escalation that poses significant risks to US assets and the Middle East's energy infrastructure, yet will not lead to war," said Eurasia Group's analyst Ayham Kamel ,
"But the risk of a limited conflict is real. It would involve major Iranian attacks on Gulf energy targets and direct sea fighting between the United States and Iran."
Nearly half of the world's oil production comes from the Middle East, while Iraq is the second largest producer within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
(Reporting by Florence Tan; editing by Richard Pullin)