Carp ‘annihilated’ as Iraq’s water pollution woes worsen

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Dead carp float in the Euphrates river, near the town of Hindiyah, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)
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Government employees collect dead carp from the Euphrates River, near the town of Hindiyah, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)
Updated 05 November 2018
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Carp ‘annihilated’ as Iraq’s water pollution woes worsen

HINDIYAH, Iraq: Iraqi officials and fishermen are at a loss to explain how hundreds of tons of carp have suddenly died in fish farms in the Euphrates River, fueling anxieties about soaring water pollution.
Local authorities used excavators to skim dead fish from the river surface near the town of Hindiyah, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, where residents and local farmers have long complained about substandard water management.
The fish were being farmed in cages for sale in domestic markets, where grilled carp is considered a national dish, called masgouf.
Ayad Talibi, head of Iraq’s Fish Producers’ Syndicate, called it “annihilation” and a blow to the country’s “strategic fish reserve.”
Water pollution and scarcity have been on the forefront of Iraqi discourse after matters reached crisis levels last summer.
Health officials said some 100,000 people were taken to hospital for stomach illnesses in the southern Basra province, where sludge and yellow water was recorded flowing out of the taps. Demonstrators rioted, demanding better services.
Iraqi officials could not say for certain what caused the fish die out. Wissam Muslani, deputy governor for Babil province, which includes Hindiyah, said initial tests suggested it was the result of a virus that infected the gills.
But scientists speculated in media that the annihilation may have caused by low oxygen levels, agricultural runoff or wastewater pollution.
Ali Akbar, a medical officer for the World Health Organization, called it a “man-made disaster,” and advised Iraqis to stop eating fish.
“My first message is that make sure nobody eats any fish. And my second message is make sure that no fisherman does fishing these days until all this is cleaned,” he said.
Photos and video of the carp-clogged Euphrates have had an immediate impact on fish sales, according to fishmongers from Hindiyah to Baghdad.
Ali Ibrahim, a vendor by the side of the highway outside Hindiyah, said he was closing his stall and returning to his family.
“People are no longer eating fish,” said Ibrahim. “It’s all over.”


Israeli tank, aircraft hit Gaza after cross-border shots: army

Updated 19 April 2019
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Israeli tank, aircraft hit Gaza after cross-border shots: army

JERUSALEM: Israel on Friday struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip with tank and aircraft fire after shots were fired at troops on the Israeli side of the border, the army said.
“No injuries to soldiers were reported,” it said in a statement.
Palestinian security sources in Hamas-ruled Gaza told AFP that the Israeli fire hit Hamas military observation posts at three locations along the frontier.
They said there were no reports of Palestinian casualties.
Palestinians in Gaza have for more than a year gathered at least weekly along the border for often-violent protests, calling on Israel to end its blockade of the enclave.
The Israeli statement did not say if there were mass protests taking place at the time of Friday’s incident.
At least 264 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces since the protests began.
The majority were killed during clashes, with others hit by tank fire or air strikes.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.