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Suicide Car Bomb blasts kill at least 22 in Baghdad

Hundreds of men in a Fallujah hospital claim they were physically assaulted by Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces

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As Coalition Forces respond to a car bombing in South Baghdad, Iraq (IRQ), a second car bomb is detonated, targeting those responding to the initial incident. The attack, aimed at the Iraqi police force, resulted in 18 casualties, two of which were police officers, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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  • Two separate car bombings killed 22 in Baghdad
  • Attacks were expected to subside in the Iraqi capital, which is not the case
  • IS has claimed responsibility for many previous attacks, but not this one

Two separate suicide car bomb attacks in Iraq’s capital have killed at least 22 Thursday morning, June 9, according to police.

One bomb targeted a commercial street in eastern Baghdad, killing at 15 civilians and wounding 35 others. Another explosion hit a bus stop near one of the country’s largest military bases north of Baghdad and killed at least 12 people and leaving 28 others injured.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for almost all suicide attacks in Baghdad in recent months, although no claim for Thursday’s explosions has yet been verified.

Attacks in the Iraqi capital have not subsided as many expected, despite the Iraqi offensive against Islamic State militants in Fallujah, a military spokesman in Baghdad said Wednesday, June 8.

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Iraqi forces have been battling with the IS fighters for a few weeks in an effort to retake the city, which has been controlled by the Muslim group since January, 2014. The offensive has so-far surrounded the city on three sides, with the only area remaining unclaimed being the western bank of the Euphrates.

Human Rights Watch called upon the Iraqi government Thursday, June 9 to investigate reports of abuse carried out by its military forces against civilians in the operation to take Fallujah.

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In Baghdad. Image Courtesy: Associated Press
In Baghdad. Image Courtesy: Associated Press

Hundreds of men in a Fallujah hospital claim they were physically assaulted by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, according to the international rights group.

A U.N. estimate puts the number of civilians trapped in Fallujah at around 50,000. People have been attempting to cross the Euphrates River as a means of escape, but the U.N. said several people, including children, have drowned while attempting to traverse the 300 meter-wide river.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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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)