Armed men who attacked Baghdad hospital arrested: police

Armed men who attacked Baghdad hospital arrested: police
A group of related men who allegedly attacked a hospital in Baghdad have been arrested, police confirmed on Saturday.
2 min read
17 July, 2021
The group were arrested by police on Saturday [Getty]

Baghdad police said Saturday they had arrested a group of related men who allegedly attacked a hospital, as a security source told AFP the armed assault was carried out in retaliation after four Covid patients died when their oxygen was cut.

Security forces "arrested an armed group which attacked al-Kindi hospital", one of the main ones in the Iraqi capital, a police statement said.

About ten people were involved in the attack and were all arrested, the security source said.

They belonged to the family of one of the four patients who died earlier when a power cut turned off ventilators, according to this source.

The situation in hospitals across the country has often been catastrophic during the pandemic.

There have been two deadly fires in less than three months in Covid-19 units, with one killing more than 80 people in Baghdad in April and the most recent killing at least 60 on Monday in southern Al Nasiriyah.

On Saturday, several hospital administrators in the outhern Iraqi province abandoned their posts after arrest warrants were issued for senior staff following the deadly hospital fire in the city of Nasiriyah.

Saad al-Majid, health director of the southern governorate of Dhi Qar, told AFP that management teams of five hospitals had quit as "they're unwilling to assume responsibility" over any possible repeat of the tragedy.

Local journalist Adnan Toame said the resignations among senior hospital staff at a time of public outrage were "embarrassing".

"They are shirking their responsibilities when they should instead be redoubling efforts to face up to this crisis," he said.

"This is a clear sign of the collapse of the health system in the governorate," chimed in Nasiriyah activist and journalist Adnan Dhafar.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 17,700 lives in Iraq, Covid units have been hastily built to care for patients. The country, however, remains subject to incessant power cuts.

Iraq - whose oil-dependent economy is still recovering from decades of war and international sanctions - has recorded more than 1.4 million coronavirus cases.

Much of its health infrastructure is dilapidated, and investment in public services has been hamstrung by endemic corruption.