Iraqi forces foil ISIS attempt to blow up power towers in Diyala, Nineveh

File – An electrical transmission tower is seen damaged in Iraq (NINA photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi security forces foiled another attempt to blow up power transmission towers in Diyala and Nineveh, the military said on Sunday.

Iraqi security media cell said a bomb disposal team had defused a number of explosive devices attached to transmission towers in Diyala and Nineveh provinces.

The explosive devices were planted by Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the security media cell said in a tweet.

“Our security forces … are monitoring the power lines around the clock and thwarting all attempts to target towers and stations to ensure that power supply is reached to all areas in the country,” it tweeted.

As many as 106 power towers and 54 lines have been targeted since January, an official document from the electricity ministry showed, according to Shafaq news.

Iraqi authorities accuse ISIS militants of targeting the country’s towers in several provinces.

Coalition spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said the militants were blowing up the power towers so as to continue its “ideology of hate, destruction & terror”.

The explosion of towers comes as Iraq is struggling with electricity outage in several provinces in central and south of the country.

On Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said there were forces that do not want Iraq to reach energy self-sufficiency.

Power from Iraq’s main grid suffers year-round from hours-long cuts each day, but the shortages worsen during the hot summer months when temperatures regularly reach 50 degrees and households rely on air conditioning.

Iraqis blame a government which relies on energy imports from Iran and which they say has failed to develop Iraq’s own grid to serve its population. Iraq’s electricity minister resigned last week under pressure over the power crisis, local media reported.

Kadhimi also said the previous governments had spent nearly $80 billion on electricity sector since 2003.

Iraq buys gas and electricity from Iran to supply about a third of its power sector, worn down by years of conflict and poor maintenance and unable to meet the needs of the country’s 40 million population.

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