Car bomb kills two soldiers in western Iraq

Daesh seized vast swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria in 2014, declaring a caliphate across both countries. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 December 2019

Car bomb kills two soldiers in western Iraq

  • The car exploded as soldiers were inspecting it on a road leading to Anbar’s Qaim district
  • Iraq reopened its Qaim border-crossing with Syria in September after eight years of closure

BAGHDAD: A parked car exploded in Iraq’s western province of Anbar early on Monday, killing two soldiers and wounding an officer close to an area that was once Daesh’s last stronghold in the country, the military said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Daesh militants have carried out a string of attacks there since they lost control of their Iraqi territory in 2017 and reverted to hit-and-run insurgency tactics.

The car exploded as soldiers were inspecting it on a road leading to Anbar’s Qaim district, 300 km (185 miles) west of Baghdad and close to the border with Syria.

“The search for the terrorist elements which committed this criminal action is ongoing,” the military said in a statement.

Iraq reopened its Qaim border-crossing with Syria in September after eight years of closure. Qaim borders the Syrian town of Albukamal, which was also a Daesh stronghold.

Daesh seized vast swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria in 2014, declaring a caliphate across both countries. Iraq declared victory over the group in 2017 and the militants lost their last territory in Syria earlier this year.


World Bank approves $34 million to back Lebanon’s coronavirus vaccination drive

Updated 21 January 2021

World Bank approves $34 million to back Lebanon’s coronavirus vaccination drive

  • Lebanon has seen daily infection rates soar to the highest levels in the region

WASHINGTON: The World Bank on Thursday said it had approved a re-allocation of $34 million in funds to support Lebanon’s vaccination efforts as it races to contain the coronavirus pandemic, marking the first such outlay of funds by the Bank.
Lebanon has seen daily infection rates soar to the highest levels in the region, with over 6,000 cases reported on Friday, adding to economic and political pressures caused by a financial collapse and a huge port blast in August.
Thursday’s re-allocation of funds from Lebanon’s existing Health Resilience Project, is the first World Bank-financed operation to fund the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
It will provide vaccines for over 2 million individuals, with doses set to arrive in Lebanon by early February, and earmarked for priority groups such as high-risk health workers, those over 65, epidemiological and surveillance staff, and people aged 55 to 64 with co-morbidities.
“Fair, broad, and fast access to COVID-19 vaccines is critical to protecting lives and supporting economic recovery,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement.
The World Bank said the decision to free the funds followed efforts by Lebanese authorities to conduct a vaccine readiness assessment, establish a national vaccine committee, and prepare a draft National Vaccine Deployment Plan (NVDP) in line with World Health Organization recommendations.
The Bank is working closely with over 100 countries to pave the way for them to receive low-interest loans and funding to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines as part of a new $12 billion initiative approved in October.