Iraqi government officials are divided over who might be behind the new wave of killings .Photo: Iraq's Ministry of Health
BAGHDAD, Iraq—A spokesperson for Iraq’s Ministry of Health says that the capital Baghdad is experiencing a rising number of assassinations against doctors and health workers in recent days by members of gang groups or in acts of “terrorism”.
“Attacks on doctors have almost become a daily thing,” Saif Badir, Health Ministry’s spokesperson told Rudaw.
Badir said that the issue of the killings has been raised at a meeting of the prime minister with members of his cabinet.
Government officials are divided over who might be behind the new wave of killings.
Some believe gang members and criminals are behind the attacks for ransom or financial gain whereas others think it is a new wave of terrorism in the capital targeting health workers.
For his part, Badir believes recent negative coverage of the health ministry in the media is to blame for the attacks and hostile sentiments towards doctors.
Iraq’s health ministry has been embroiled in a few cases of corruption where the minister has been accused of nepotism and employment of her relatives.
Badir believes that the bad impression made in the media of the health ministry might have justified some of the attacks against doctors.
The Iraqi health ministry announced the death of doctor Salim Abd al-Hamza in his clinic in Maamil area of Baghdad last month as well as the death of dentist Shadha Falih al-Samari from a knife attack inside her home.
The health ministry said that the recent wave of violent attacks has prompted many doctors to leave the country and resulting a serious brain drain.