ISIS blows up Olympic stadium in Iraq’s Anbar province



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Olympic stadium in Iraq

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group blew up a sports stadium in Iraq’s western Anbar province, according to media reports.

“ISIS elements planted high explosives inside the Olympic stadium and its surroundings in the area of the 18th km west of Ramadi, while detonated them by remote control, resulting in the collapse of the entire stadium,” the IraqiNews.com quoted a security source as saying in its report on July 20.

The Associated Press, quoting Iraqi security and military officials said, ‘The Turkey-funded stadium, near the militant-held city of Ramadi, had never been used for sports. In recent months, it was used as a military base for Iraqi security forces and allied militia group.’

There may have been fighters with the country’s Popular Mobilization Forces inside the 30,000-capacity stadium when it was destroyed Sunday, military and security officials in Al Anbar told AP, but they were unable to provide a specific estimate and officials with the PMF were not aware of casualties.

The $100mn-Al Anbar stadium project was among Iraqi Ministry of Youth and Sports landmark venture as an important piece of the sports infrastructure revival in the war-torn country.

The construction of the 31,000-capacity stadium was being executed by Turkey-based contractors Gurtas Insaat with Hill International as the project manager. It had nearly all concrete works done and part of roof construction in place when works had to be halted in 2014 as ISIS expanded into the Anbar area.

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