90 suffocate from gas leak in eastern Iraq: health ministry

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-16 06:31:29|Editor: yan
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BAGHDAD, March 15 (Xinhua) -- About 90 people suffocated from the leak of chlorine gas in Iraq's eastern city of Kut, capital of Wasit Province, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said Friday.

The leakage took place "at a water treatment facility in Kut, some 180 km southeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad," said Sayf al-Badr, the ministry spokesman, in a statement.

Most of the suffocation cases are not serious, he added.

The Health Department of Wasit has taken all necessary precautions to address the situation, al-Badr noted.

The statement did not say if the gas leak resulted from a sabotage or an accident.

In previous cases, the Islamic State (IS) militants used chlorine gas in their terrorist attacks against civilians and Iraqi forces.

The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.

IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out guerilla attacks from time to time against security forces and civilians.