Iraq News
Terrorism

Iraq accuses ISIS of sabotaging electric grid

By Khalid al-Taie

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Maintenance workers repair an electricity distribution networks in Iraq's Diyala province in this photo, posted online on July 4th. [Photo from the Diyala electricity directorate’s Facebook page]

The Iraqi government on Monday (August 14th) accused the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) of attacking the country’s electric power grid.

"Terrorists in the last two days bombed four power transmission lines using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), leaving several areas cut off from electric power supply," said Ministry of Electricity spokesman Musab al-Mudarris.

Three towers on two main high voltage power lines between Diyala and Kirkuk were blown up on Saturday, he told Diyaruna.

As a result of this act of sabotage, he said, "power plants have stopped feeding areas in those two provinces, and 1,100 megawatts have been taken out of service".

"A high voltage line transmitting power between al-Muqdadiya district and the Hamreen Dam area in Diyala, and a second line -- between the cities of Heet and Haditha in Anbar -- were attacked by terrorists at dawn Sunday," he said.

"Six towers were blown up, cutting power supply to the cities fed by the two lines and causing the loss of 800 megawatts," al-Mudarris added.

Attacks on power facilities

The incidents are the latest in a series of attacks targeting power facilities that are perpetrated by ISIS elements and other saboteurs, al-Mudarris said.

"The terrorists at the beginning of the month targeted an electricity input line in Diyala with IEDs, bringing down three towers between al-Safra intersection and Hamreen Dam, and causing the loss of 400 megawatts," he said.

"An IED also blew up under a tower in the area of al-Latifiya, killing and wounding ministry personnel and causing the loss of 400 megawatts of electric power to the capital, Baghdad," he said.

Saboteurs also attacked the electricity distribution directorate in the city of al-Nasiriya on August 8th, stole various items from the facility, and fired rounds of ammunition at the building, he added.

"We are experiencing a vicious attack," he said, adding that "these repeated attacks are eating away at our capabilities" and must be stopped.

Teams from the ministry are working under difficult conditions to provide electric power to Iraqi civilians in the area, al-Mudarris said.

"The attacks, wasting and tampering with electricity are causing losses of up to 60% of the total daily power production, which currently stands at 16,000 megawatts," he said.

Al-Mudarris called for the rationing of electricity and appealed to would-be saboteurs to leave the electricity distribution networks alone, in order to increase power supply and ensure its stability.

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