Two die in mass food poisoning outbreak at Mosul camp for displaced

A mass food poisoning outbreak at a camp for displaced people near the northern city of Mosul has killed at least two and sickened hundreds, Iraq's health minister said.

Adila Hamoud told the Associated Press that 752 people were taken ill after an evening meal at the Khazir U2 camp.

The food, provided by a non-governmental organisation, was meant for an iftar - a meal with which Muslims break their dawn-to-dusk fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Ms Hamoud said a woman and a girl died while at least 300 other people remain in critical condition.

She would not speculate whether the poisoning might have been intentional.

A formal investigation was launched into the incident by authorities, said Raad al-Dahlaki, who chairs the Iraqi Parliament's immigration and displacement committee.

Mr al-Dahlaki, who visited the camp overnight, said the meal contained rice, a beans sauce, meat, yoghurt and water. He put the number of victims at 850.

The camp houses thousands who have fled their homes in and around Mosul after a US-backed Iraqi offensive was launched to dislodge the Islamic State terror group from the city last October. According to the UN refugee agency, it houses 6,235 individuals.

Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, fell to IS in the summer of 2014 as the militants swept over much of the country's northern and western areas. Weeks later, the head of the Sunni extremist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the formation of a self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque.

Months after the start of the Iraqi offensive, IS militants now only control a handful of neighbourhoods in and around the Old City, located west of the Tigris River, which divides Mosul into its western and eastern sector.

AP

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