Monday, October 09, 2006

Iraqi Policemen Poisoned

(Numaniya, Iraq) According to police sources, hundreds of Iraqi policemen were poisoned during their Ramadan meal yesterday. Fatalities have been reported but numbers vary. Whatever the cause, it sure seemed to act quickly. Some men collapsed after standing upon completion of the meal.

From Reuters:
At least seven policemen died and hundreds of others fell ill after suffering food poisoning on Sunday evening in the town of Numaniya, south of Baghdad, police sources at the base said on Monday.

It was not clear if the poisoning at an Iraqi military base was deliberate but police sources said they arrested four cooks on Monday suspected of tampering with the food.

But the spokesman for the commander of the Iraqi armed forces said no one had died.

"Three hundred and fifty to 400 people were poisoned, they were given medical treatment instantly and four were taken to a nearby hospital and everyone has returned to normal," spokesman Brigadier Qasim al-Musawi told a news conference. reports that "policemen began bleeding from the ears and nose after the meal." The policemen are attached to the 4th Division, National Police, nicknamed the "Karrar" division, after a title of Imam Ali, the 4th Muslim caliph.

The food and water have been sampled for testing. Almost all the victims are Shi'ite Muslims from southern Iraq. They blame a Sunni contractor providing food for the base. Wasit Province Governor Hamad al-Latif stated that the food and water are provided by an unnamed Australian contractor working through Iraqi subcontractors.

The investigation continues.

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