Clearing Iraqi cities of explosives may take decades


The wires protruding from the small, misshapen stuffed animal revealed the deadly booby-trap tucked inside. For the people of Mosul, the sophisticated bomb was a reminder of how difficult it will be to return to homes littered with hidden explosives by Daesh militants and dotted with the remnants of undetonated bombs dropped by the US-led coalition that still could blow up.
Washington at least is trying to ease a bit of the massive clean-up burden. On Thursday, the top US commander in Iraq said for the first time that the American military will help contractors and other officials locate unexploded bombs dropped by the coalition. US Embassy officials have asked the coalition to declassify grid coordinates for bombs dropped in Iraq to help clear the explosives.
It may not be that simple, Gen. Stephen Townsend told a small group of reporters, “but we’ll find a way through that.”
“We’ll find a way to help them,” he said. The coalition’s unexploded bombs are only a small part of Mosul’s problems. The bulk of the explosives have been hidden by Daesh fighters to be triggered by the slightest movement, even picking up a seemingly innocent child’s toy, lifting a vacuum cleaner, or opening an oven door.—AP

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