Decades Needed to Clear Mosul from IS Explosives: UN

The United Nations’ Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has estimated that it could take at least 10 years to clear Iraq’s Mosul from landmines left by the Islamic State (IS).

Mosul, known as the second largest city in Iraq, fell into the hands of IS in June 2014 and soon became the group’s stronghold in the country.

Following a months-long operation, the Iraqi army, backed by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and US-led Coalition, liberated the city in July 2017.

The UN has warned that people could not return to their homes especially in the Old Town of Mosul for the fact that the district is contaminated by landmines and explosive hazards.

Chief of the UNMAS program in Iraq, Pehr Lodhammer, told VOA that these weapons must be cleared before people can return home safely. He said unexploded ordnance, booby traps and other explosive devices are particularly hazardous.

“People are getting injured, yes. But there is also more of a tendency that people actually are getting killed by those devices rather than injured because of the explosive weight. And, the fact that many of them are also within a container that is made from metal, creating fragmentation,” Lodhammer said.

The official said last year that they had removed 17,000 explosive hazards, including 2,000 improvised explosive devices.

Apart from landmines, thousands of tons of other explosive hazards threaten civilian lives in Mosul. The UNMAS said it would take decades to remove all these explosive hazards. Source

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