The directorate general for distribution of electricity in Kirkuk calls for safeguarding power transmission towers as 177 of it were bombed in the last five weeks in the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil which has lately become a top target by Daesh militants regrouping in the war-ravaged region.
The series of attacks by the regrouping militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS on power transmission towers were carried out in the provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, Ninawa and Salahaddin in July and August.
The last incident was on August 9th, seven transmission towers were down by IED in the sub-district of Riyadh of Hawija district, south of Kirkuk causing power failure in some neighborhoods.
“Beside causing damage to 177 power transmission towers, 50 other towers were saved by the security forces whom defused IEDs planted under the towers,” a senior civil servant of Kirkuk electricity anonymously told KirkukNow.
“Targeting the power towers leads to shortage of power transmission to people and the main part of the damage was caused to Salahaddain.”
He called on the Iraqi security forces ISF to set out a tight security plan to protect the protect the towers from attacks as the demand is growing on power consumption in the peak of summer’s heat wave that passes 50 Celsius degrees in the baking summer.
IS militants are regrouping in the rural areas of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. They are targeting Iraqi forces and civilians in the suburbs of Diyla, Kirkuk Ninawa, Salahaddin and Erbil, leaving tens of casualties and causing material damage to power towers, oil wells, houses, cattle, orchards and vehicles of the villagers.
The Iraqi ministry of electricity said in a statement on August 5th that 13 towers for transmission of power were damaged by the militants in 48 hours in Ninawa, Kirkuk and Salahaddin, including Kirkuk-Gayarra (in Mosul) by IED, causing damage to five towers.
The frequent attacks targeting power transmission towers in the baking summer led to complete power shutdown in some areas of Kirkuk, Diyala and Salahaddin provinces with hours of outage in other parts of those three provinces.
Guards were deployed to safeguards the 250 power towers in the province and last week a suspect was arrested while trying to detonate a power tower, a senior official said.
Mohammed Ahmed, mayor of Riyadh where seven towers were down early this week, said the towers were transmitting electricity to the district of Beji in Salahaddin province.
“Power towers have to be protected, otherwise attacks will escalate and people are the min losers,” he added.
Iraqi Prime Minister and commander-in-chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi last Wednesday chaired a meeting of the ministerial council for national security where he ordered intensified efforts to protect power towers.