ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Italy will send eight military helicopters and 130 soldiers to combat Islamic State (IS) and protect the Italian company currently repairing the Mosul Dam, said a senior Italian official on Wednesday.
Italian Defense Minister, Roberta Pinotti, released a statement that Italy will send military helicopters in the coming days: four NH90s and four A129 Mangusta models.
According to the ministry’s statement, the helicopters will be stationed in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Regional.
On Tuesday, Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources signed an agreement with the Italian Trevi Company to “carry out the project of rehabilitating and maintaining the Mosul Dam,” according to an official Iraqi Federal Government announcement.
US officials have repeatedly warned Baghdad that the dam, about 40km (25 miles) from Mosul, can collapse if not immeditaley maintained.
“A catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam would result in flooding along the Tigris river all the way to Baghdad,” read the statement from the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Previously, Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, stated in December 2015 that Italy would deploy 450 troops to defend the dam, a decision linked to Trevi’s interest in the project.
Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Benjamin Kweskin and Ava Homa