Reuters / Hamad I Mohammed
The United States military says it’s launched airstrikes around Iraq’s Haditha Dam to prevent the area from being captured by Islamic State militants.
The dam in western Iraq’s Anbar Province, a major source of water and electrical power, is currently in control of the Iraqis, but there have been attempts by the militants to take over the vital facility.
The Sunday airstrikes on the area around the dam were carried out at the request of the Iraqi government, according to US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is currently on a trip to Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.
“If that dam would fall into ISIL’s (Islamic State’s) hands or if that dam would be destroyed, the damage that that would cause would be very significant and it would put a significant, additional and big risk into the mix in Iraq,” Hagel told reporters.
The Haditha Dam is Iraq’s second-largest hydroelectric contributor to the country’s power system. A power station containing six electricity generators is located near the dam.
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