Rome, June 20 (IANS/AKI) Italian soldiers in Iraq have helped rebuild an access road to Mosul’s biggest olive grove located close to the war-ravaged northern city’s strategic dam, the army announced on Tuesday.
The road was rebuilt at the request of local Iraqi authorities as part of a project to re-develop the area around Mosul’s 3.6 kilometre-long dam – Iraq’s biggest – which Italian firm Trevi won a contract to repair in 2016.
To rebuild the road, Italian soldiers from the ‘Praesidium’ Task Force shifted large mounds of earth used as fortifications to defend key military positions during IS’s invasion of Mosul.
The dam fell into disrepair during the Islamic State jihadist group’s seizure of Mosul in 2014 and the surrounding area was badly damaged by the protracted battle to retake Iraq’s second city from IS, which ended last year.
Before rebuilding the access road to the olive grove, the Italian soldiers cleared the area of mines and other unexploded devices, also at the request of local authorities, the army said.
‘Praesidium’ is responsible for protecting Mosul’s dam in coordination with local security forces, including Iraq’s counter-terrorism service, the national security service and the Iraqi police.
The task force also guarantees the security of military and civilian personnel attached to rhe United States Army Corps of Engineers as well as that of Trevi employees.