Iraqi militants threaten to open dam in Anbar
Militants of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) said on Friday that the move would push back the Iraqi army from areas under the government’s control.
The dam, which is located in the Nuaimiya area, some five kilometers (three miles) south of the city of Fallujah, helps distribute water from the Euphrates river.
“Using water as a weapon in a fight to make people thirsty is a heinous crime,” said Oun Dhiyab, a government adviser to the Water Ministry, adding, “Closing the dam and messing with Euphrates water will have dire consequences.”
An Iraqi army officer said the army was “carrying out aerial surveillance to spot militant positions near the dam,” adding, “A military operation could start very soon.”
The militants have closed most of the gates of the dam in recent days to reduce water levels in Iraq’s southern provinces.
The threat came as the country was heading towards an important election on April 30.
Iraqi troops, backed by local Sunni tribesmen, have been fighting al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in the country’s western regions, including Anbar province, since late December 2013.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry has said that militants have launched an open war in Iraq and they want to push the Middle Eastern country into chaos.
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