Islamic State booby traps still spread mayhem in liberated Iraq

The explosives include mines that are buried underground, as well as homemade bombs found in buildings where they are wired into household appliances such as refrigerators or televisions.
By Paul Pate | Jul 30, 2017
The Islamic State no longer controls swaths of Iraq, but deadly mines and explosives that its fighters laid out en masse across the country are still claiming the lives of Iraqi civilians day after day, according to UN and coalition security leaders. Security officers are finding and deactivating homemade explosives concealed in houses, mosques, school buildings, and streets but acknowledge that clearing all of them away could take decades.

The explosives include mines that are buried underground, as well as homemade bombs found in buildings where they are wired into household appliances such as refrigerators or televisions. When someone opens a door or flicks a switch to turn on an appliance, the explosive detonates.

Around 1,700 Iraqi civilians been injured or killed by these mines and explosives since October, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service. The UN agency has been co-ordinating an explosive-clearing campaign in newly-liberated areas of Iraq since October.
"The scale of contamination? There are kilometers and kilometers and kilometers of active devices, sensitive enough to be detonated by a child and powerful enough to blow up a truck," Craig McInally, operations manager for Norwegian People's Aid anti-explosives project, said.
Security officials said that the Islamic State fighters set up most of these explosives while in retreat from coalition forces in order to hamper post-war stabilization efforts. The goal is to make it as difficult as possible to restore law and order, rebuild infrastructure, or enable Iraqi civilians to return to their homes, studies, and livelihoods.
Islamic State fighters are still active in some pockets of the Iraq-Syria border. Charles Stuart, charge d'affaires at the European Union's mission in Iraq, warned that the persisting crisis and lack of security that these explosives create could give the Islamic State an opportunity to recapture ground and thrive again.

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