Reports indicate that Kurdish and Iraqi forces have all but taken back the key Mosul Dam from Islamic State militants. However it is rigged with explosives which, together with other issues, could lead to hundreds of thousands killed in just days.
Two major problems are the deliberate setting of booby traps by the militants, who took the dam in early August, and the already extremely dangerous, under-maintained state of the Tigris River dam itself.
The dam, the largest in Iraq, could be used as “a weapon of mass destruction,” experts have warned, alluding to its capacity to hold back 11-12 billion cubic meters of water, as well as to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
In essence, the dam can either deprive half a million people of energy and water, or simply drown them.
A 2006 US Army Corps of Engineers report obtained by the Washington Post said the dam, which blocks the Tigris, could wipe out whole cities, and was considered to be “the most dangerous dam in the world.”
Mosul would be wiped out, while Baghdad – 400km (250 miles) away – would be covered in four meters of water in a matter of days.
In the months the fighting was taking place, there were fears that an accidental airstrike or explosion might hit the dam, but the US operation to support its allies went on.
A total of 68 airstrikes have been carried out since August 8, 35 of which were in support of the Mosul Dam operation, as well as in order to “protect US personnel and facilities in Iraq.”
Read more at RT News