ISHM: April 22 - April 29, 2021

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Key Takeaways:

  • Deadly Hospital Fire Reignites Calls To Address Corruption; Sunni Alliances Take Shape Ahead Of Elections; US Commander Says No Plans To Withdraw From Iraq - On April 23, CENTCOM Commander Gen. McKenzie said there were currently no plans for military withdrawal from Iraq. On April 23, a person died and several suffered injuries after a riot police vehicle rammed through a crowd protesting poor services south of Baghdad. On April 25, PM Kadhimi ordered an investigation into the causes of the fire that killed 82 people and injured dozens at Ibn al-Khatib hospital in Baghdad. Kadhimi suspended top health officials while the Parliament identified negligence and corruption as major factors in the high number of casualties. On April 26, dozens of former PMF fighters protested in Baghdad demanding re-employment.On April 26 and 27, Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Iraqi officials and discussed Iraq’s latest efforts to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh. On April 27, sources said four potential Sunni political alliances are likely to compete for votes in the upcoming elections. On April 27, PM Kadhimi warned his cabinet members against exploiting their positions for political gain, threatening to “make difficult decisions” in the coming period. more…

  • New Wave Of IEDs And ISIS Attacks Threaten Gains In Diyala; Rockets Land Near Baghdad Airport; Security Forces Kill Suicide Bomber In Kirkuk – On April 23, three Katyusha rockets landed in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport. Between April 23-28, at least five IED explosions and six ISIS attacks killed five people and injured 20 others in Diyala. During the same period, five IEDs targeted r International Coalition supply convoys in Anbar, Dhi-Qar and Diwaniyah. On April 27, a remnant of war explosion killed four Federal Police members and injured five others in Kirkuk. On April 27, ISIS militants briefly seized control of al-Abyadh border outpost in Anbar after Border Guard personnel fled the area, leaving behind their weapons. On April 29, Iraqi forces said they foiled an attempted suicide attack targeting the National Security Directorate building in Kirkuk, and killed the would-be attacker. On April 29, two IED explosions in Anbar killed a senior Iraqi officer and his driver, and injured six Iraqi soldiers. more…

  • Inferno Kills Scores In A COVID-19 Hospital; Indian Strain Of Virus Discovered in Dhi-Qar – On April 24, an intense fire broke out in the intensive care ward of Ibn al-Khatib Hospital in southern Baghdad, killing 82 people and injuring 110 others. Witnesses said the fire began after an oxygen tank used for COVID-19 patients exploded, setting off a chain reaction of explosions that quickly spread. On April 26, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said it delivered food and humanitarian assistance to 259,200 people in Iraq last month. On April 27, Iraq’s government suspended air travel to and from India over concerns of the spread of a new COVID-19 strain found in India. Hours later, officials identified the first case of the B.1.617 mutation of the COVID virus in Dhi-Qar. On April 29, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 1,058,794. The average number of new cases increased to 6,927 per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 7,633 per day last week. more…
  • Iraq Imposes Taxes on Tobacco And Alcohol Imports; Basra To Host Gulf Cup 25 - On April 25, Iraq began imposing taxes between 100% and 200% on cigarettes and alcohol imports. On April 26, members of the Arab Gulf Football Federation voted to hold the Gulf Cup 25 championship in Basra. The vote follows years of deferments to other member countries. On April 27, the Planning Ministry said that Iraq witnessed a significant increase in the inflation rate, increased by 5.6% in the past five months. On April 28, the government approved an increase in social security payments to assist communities suffering from economic hardship. Monthly payments to individuals in need will now be IQD125,000, increasing by IQD50,000-75,000 increments for each additional family member. more…

For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.