200 displaced families return to western Baghdad district after removal of landmines

Baghdad – Around 200 families returned back to their homes in Abu Ghraib district, western Baghdad, after three years of being displaced, according to informed source.

The displaced families returned on Monday to al-Anaz region in Abu Ghraib after three years of displacement, news reports quoted the source as saying.

Security troops, according to the source, removed the explosives and landmines from the region and checked the names of the returning civilians to prevent infiltration of terrorists among them.

Over four million persons were displaced inside the country since the Islamic State emerged in 2014.

Since taking over several Iraqi cities, IS militants have adopted booby-trapping and landmines as a central defensive strategy against government forces. Proved effective, the tactic required extra cautiousness by Iraqi troops before staging any security offensives against IS locations.

In February, U.N. Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has estimated the cost for removing landmines and explosives from the city of Mosul by US$50 million and another and $50 million for the rest of the country.

In 2014, the Iraqi environment ministry said it was setting a strategy to clear the country from landmines by 2018, and said then that the southern Iraqi regions alone contained 25 million unexploded mines. But the United Nations, voicing last year its commitment to rid Iraq of dangerous mines, set the number of unexploded mines in the country at only 26,000.

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