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Official: 3,000 square km polluted with mines, war remnants in Iraq

Muntaha Khudair (L), director of the Information and Outreach Department at Iraq’s Mine Affairs Department, 19 December 2017 [Hunna_DOS/Twitter]
Muntaha Khudair (L), director of the Information and Outreach Department at Iraq’s Mine Affairs Department, 19 December 2017 [Hunna_DOS/Twitter]

Approximately 3,000 square kilometres of Iraqi soil is riddled with landmines and war remnants, Anadolu news agency reported the country's Mine Affairs Department saying yesterday.

The Director of Information and Outreach Department, Muntaha Khudair, said in a press release that "2,743 square kilometres are still polluted with landmines and war ordnance across the country excluding the Kurdistan region in the north."

"An area of 2,872 square kilometres was cleared and an area of 237 square kilometres is being cleared," pointing out that the landmines exist mostly along the Iraq-Iran border as a result of the 1980-1988 war between the two.

Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported Khudair saying: "The issue of mines is one of the big ones because Iraq is one of the countries most affected by the level of mines and war remnants in the central and southern governorates."

"The southern provinces have been affected since the year 1990 due to the war, which left large areas of pollution," the official said, adding that northern areas were subsequently affected as a result of the emergence of Daesh.

The Republic of Iraq is the world's most contaminated country by extent of mined area, according to Landmine Monitor.

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