Militants attack electrical towers in Iraq

BAGHDAD - Militants bombed three electrical transmission towers in Iraq’s Anbar province on Monday, cutting power to numerous western cities and towns in the first attack on the power grid for months, officials said.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 29 Nov 2010, 9:29 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:19 AM

Police said improvised explosive devices were used to destroy the three towers near the city of Haditha, disrupting power to Qaim, Akashat, Rutba and other towns and villages.

“It was a sabotage operation,” said Amir al-Ani, the manager of electrical distribution in the area. “An operation to repair the towers will be finished at the end of this week”.

Militants attacked Iraq’s feeble electrical power grid frequently earlier this year as politicians squabbled over positions in a new government after a March election that failed to produce a clear winner. Intermittent electricity is one of Iraqis’ biggest complaints about the government.

In a month-long period during April and May, bombers toppled 22 transmission towers. Many of the attacks disrupted power to the northern Nineveh province.

An Electricity Ministry spokesman said Monday’s attack was the first in months on electrical power.

Sunni Islamist insurgents linked to al Qaeda have sought to exploit a political vacuum created by a long political impasse as Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish factions fought for positions in a new government.

Political leaders finally agreed nearly three weeks ago to divide up the top jobs in a deal that likely will see Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki return for a second term.

Western Anbar province was an al Qaeda stronghold during the worst of Iraq’s sectarian carnage in 2006-07 and Sunni insurgents are trying to reassert their influence.

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