Al-Qaeda militants have closed down all gates of Euphrates River dam they control in Iraq in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in Anbar Province.
Militants have “completely closed the gates of the Fallujah dam since yesterday morning,” Water Resources Minister Muhanad al-Saadi said on Tuesday in a statement.
The move blocks a major source of water for central and southern Iraq.
The militants, who seized the dam several weeks ago, had previously cut the flow of water through the dam near the city of Fallujah but reopened it when water accumulated and caused the area to flood.
The US embassy issued a statement on Monday condemning “ongoing terrorist acts” by extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the dam closure in particular.
“Targeting dams and other vital infrastructure victimizes innocent Iraqi citizens. In the past week, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis have suffered from water shortages as a result of ISIL’s actions,” the embassy said.
Meanwhile, shelling and shoulder-fired rockets killed two people and wounded seven in Fallujah. Bombings in three areas close to Baghdad killed five people, among them two Sahwa anti-al-Qaeda militiamen, and wounded nine.
And north of the capital, a firebomb thrown at a checkpoint killed a policeman in the city of Tikrit, while gunmen killed a Kurdish security forces member and a civilian in Kirkuk.