Hundreds of Iraqi policemen fell sick from poisoning Sunday at a base in southern Iraq after the evening meal breaking their daily Ramadan fast, and officials said they were investigating whether the poisoning was intentional.
An official with the Environment Ministry said 11 policemen had died. However, the governor of Wasit province — where the poisoning took place — denied any deaths, though he said some of the victims were in critical condition. There was no immediate explanation for the contradictory reports.
Some of the policemen began bleeding from the ears and nose after the meal, said Jassim al-Atwan, an inspector for the Environment Ministry, who was serving as a liaison in the investigation between the Health Ministry and the base, located in the town of Numaniyah.
“Hundreds of soldiers were poisoned after taking food and water in the iftar,” Wasit Gov. Hamad al-Latif told the Associated Press, referring to the meal that breaks the sunrise-to-sunset fast during the Islamic holy month. “Investigations are under way to determine the cause.”
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