An Australian demining expert has been killed in northern Iraq while trying to defuse a bomb planted by IS. He was working for a non-profit group called Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD). FSD is based in Geneva.
The local media reported that the bomb was planted by IS when they were thwarted from Kirkuk, near Daquq, north of the country. According to FSD statement, the explosion took place at around 10:00 am local time. The Australian demining expert was the supervisor of 30 national deminers and had died in an ongoing operation, reported ABC.
“It was a bomb of 7 kilograms. If a bomb of 7 kilograms explodes in your vicinity, there is not much chance of surviving the blow,” said Hansjoerg Eberle, Director General of the Geneva-based foundation.
Alex Van Roy, FSD program manager, said that the Australian was killed in an instant. He also revealed that the victim’s family asked that his name should not be revealed, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. FSD also assured that it is working with the Australian embassy in Iraq so they can send the man’s body back home.
Meanwhile, FSD in its statement said, “A full investigation into the cause of the accident has been opened, in cooperation with the national demining authorities and police forces.”
Hansjoerg Eberle has talked about the risk involved in such operations and also emphasised the important role played by the foundation in the rehabilitation of the villagers.
Hansjoerg Eberle observed, “We take this kind of risk, clearing unexploded bombs, mines, improvised explosive devices left behind by the Islamic State. We go in and be the first to clear the ground and allow the villagers to rebuild their lives and to rebuild their villages.”
He added that the incident was a complete shock to them as the Australian demining expert was “a very senior, very experienced, very safe operator”.
As per the BBC report, IS has left a large number of explosive devices or “booby-traps” in the region and the region is now controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga forces.