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28 killed in clashes, air strikes against IS in Iraq

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Baghdad, Up to 28 people were killed and 20 others wounded on Saturday in clashes and air strikes by Iraqi forces on Islamic State (IS) militants across the country, security sources said.

iraq-airstrikes-on-ISIL-MosulIn Iraq’s western province of Anbar, security forces and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi (popular mobilization), retook control of Abu Fleis village near Habbaniyah town, some 80 km west of Baghdad, after heavy clashes with IS militants that killed 14 IS fighters before the militants withdrew, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

The battle came a day after the IS militants seized Abu Fleis village in an attack on the positions of the security forces.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Tash area in south of the IS-held provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, when IS militants attacked positions of security forces and Hashd Shaabi militias, leaving seven security members killed and five others injured.

The battles also resulted in the destruction of an armored vehicle and two military vehicles, the source said, without giving further details about casualties among the extremist militants.

Also in the province, two people were killed and eight others wounded when an Iraqi helicopter gunship pounded suspected IS positions in Mal’ab district in central Ramadi.

The IS group has seized most of Anbar province and has been trying to advance toward Baghdad in the past few months, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shia militias have pushed them back.

Near Baghdad, three roadside bombs went off simultaneously near an army patrol in Madain area, some 30 km south of the Iraqi capital, leaving four soldiers killed and four others wounded, an interior ministry source said.

In Salahudin province, a policeman was killed and three others were wounded in a clash with IS militants in Fat’ha area, just north of the town of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad.

The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10, 2014, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and IS militants.

(IANS)

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Water-Borne Illness Increases Sharply in Iraq

Iraq's individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage.

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Water crisis
A girl drinks water in the street outside her tent at a camp for internally displaced people in western Baghdad, Iraq. VOA

Iraqi health officials say that a health crisis stemming from water pollution and a shortage of clean drinking water has worsened in recent days, as hospitals in the southern port city of Basra treat more than 1,000 cases of intestinal infections on a daily basis. The problem was exacerbated several months ago when Turkey cut back on water distributed to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

A crowd of young men took to the streets on in the southern port city of Basra Tuesday, demanding the central government and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi increase the quantity of clean drinking water allotted to their province, otherwise it’ll lead to a health crisis. Abadi vowed to increase spending on infrastructure for the province during a visit to Basra in July.

A young man, whose friend was killed during a rally several weeks ago, broke down and sobbed over the protesters’ inability to force Iraqi leaders to improve the condition of public services in Basra, especially the region’s worn-out water infrastructure and insufficient quantities of drinking water allotted by the central government.

Some health officials in Basra warn that a cholera outbreak is possible due to water pollution and water-borne parasites that have made thousands of people sick in recent days. The director general of the Basra Health department, Riad Abdul Amir, told Al Hurra TV the situation continues to worsen.

He says more than 17,500 cases of intestinal ailments, resulting from contaminated drinking water, have been treated by Basra hospitals during the past two weeks, alone.

 

egypt. health crisis
The water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years. Pixabay

 

Abdul Amir says the problem stems from insufficient fresh water supplies coming into the city via canals and water pipes from the north.

“Salty water [which has infiltrated the water network],” he asserts, “is known to reduce the efficacy of chlorine used to treat and kill bacteria in drinking water,” he said.

Safaa Kazem, a docotor who has been treating dozens of cases of intestinal problems and diarrhea in Basra’s Sadr Teaching Hospital each day, says water from the city’s supply is not safe to drink.

She says the degree of water sterilization is minimal and that Basra’s water is very salty and has an extremely high level of microbes in it, along with a high degree of chemical pollution.

Basra Governor Assad al Edani told Al Hurra TV that his province has been suffering from numerous infrastructure problems for a long time.

He says the water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years and the old pipes often break, mixing drinking water with sewage.

water, health crisis
The degree of water sterilization is minimal. VOA

Edani says “not enough fresh water is arriving via the region’s only canal from Thi Qar province to the north.” He thinks a “strong current of fresh water will flush out salty water seeping into the water network from the sea.”

Also Read: Iraq Lifts Ban On International Flights to Kurdish Airports

Edani adds that the population of Basra has “more than doubled since the water network was last updated in the early 1990s.”

Iraq’s individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage, since Turkey in early June severely curtailed the number of cubic meters of water it funnels into both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (VOA)