Al-Qaeda-linked militants have closed all gates of a dam they control in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in Anbar Province.
Iraqi Water Resources Minister Muhanad al-Saadi said in a statement on Monday that militants have “completely closed the gates of the Fallujah dam since yesterday (Sunday) morning.”
The move has blocked major source of water for the country’s central and southern areas.
Militants from the so-celled Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized the dam several weeks ago. They had cut the flow of water but reopened it when water accumulated and caused the area to flood.
Violence hiked in Anbar in December 2013, when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in the town of Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as “headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda.” The bloodshed later spread to the nearby city of Fallujah.
Meanwhile on Monday, at least 15 people were killed and several others injured in attacks across Iraq.
Two people were killed and seven others injured in shelling and shoulder-fired rocket attacks in Fallujah, while five militants were killed in clashes in Ramadi.
Bomb attacks in three areas near the capital, Baghdad, claimed the lives of five people. In the city of Tikrit militants attacked a checkpoint and killed a policeman while gunmen shot dead a member of Kurdish security forces and a civilian in the city of Kirkuk.
Last month, UN ambassador to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said some 400,000 people have been displaced so far this year due to the growing violence in Anbar.