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Baghdad Killings: Suicide Truck bombing Kills at Least 124, ISIS claims responsibility

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast in the Karrada district, saying Shi'ites were targeted and considers Shi'ites heretics

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People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: Reuters
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  • A suicide truck bombing occurred at a busy shopping area, killing at least 119 people and wounding 170 others
  • Pope Francis delivered a prayer for the victims in Iraq and for a separate bombing Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the bombing hours after the attack

Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi met with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones in Baghdad after two separate early morning bombings in Baghdad killed at least 124 people and wounded at least 186 others.  The officials discussed how the two countries can better collaborate in the fight against Islamic State (IS).

A suicide truck bombing Sunday, July 3, occurred shortly after midnight at a busy shopping area, killing at least 119 people and wounding 170 others.  It was the most deadly attack in the Iraqi capital this year.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast in the Karrada district, saying Shi’ites were targeted.  The jihadist group considers Shi’ites heretics.

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In the second attack, an explosive device detonated in Baghdad’s northern Shaab area, killing at least five people and wounding 16.  No one has claimed responsibility for this attack.

Image source :www.natsentinel.com
An ISIS supporter.Image source :www.natsentinel.com

The White House condemned the attacks Sunday and said in a statement the violence has reinforced the America’s commitment to defeating IS. “We remain united with the Iraqi people and government in our combined efforts to destroy ISIL,” the statement said, using another acronym for the group.

Pope Francis delivered a prayer for the victims in Iraq and for a separate bombing Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  The pope told tens of thousands of worshipers in St. Peter’s square he feels “closeness to the families of the victims” and asked those gathered to “pray together” for them.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the bombing hours after the attack.

A man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karada neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: AP
A man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karada neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: AP

The attack came little more than a week after Iraqi forces ousted Islamic State militants from the city of Fallujah, just 50 kilometres west of the capital.

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A second deadly blast occurred in eastern Baghdad, killing at least one person and wounding several others.  There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the second blast.

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This is the third major act of terrorism claimed by IS in a week, following the suicide attack Tuesday at Ataturk International Airport that killed more than 40 people, and the siege of a restaurant in Dhaka in which more than 20 people died.

Bangladeshi officials insist, however, the Dhaka attackers had no connection with Islamic State.  The Bangladesh government has long maintained IS has no presence in the country. (VOA)

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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.

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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)