NATO holds first Train-the-Trainer explosives detection course for Iraq

In response to the increasing prevalence of improvised explosive devices in Iraq, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced on Wednesday that it held a Train-the-Trainer course for Iraqi explosive responders.

The Iraq Body Count website calculates that more than 41,600 civilians were killed by explosives between March 20, 2003 and March 14, 2013. The Head of Military Engineering at the Iraqi Ministry of Defence General Hadi Salman said nearly all the improvised explosive devices in Iraq are home-made.

To adequately fight this increasing threat, experts from the Iraqi Explosive Ordnance Disposal of the Ministry of Defence took a Train-the-Trainer course called "Countering the Threat of Home-made Explosives" and organized by NATO. It taught explosive responders how to identify some of the materials used in the creation of home-made explosives to help detect a threat before it becomes deadly.

"Any improvement in knowledge will help us to save lives, especially in respect of the home-made explosives that are widely used by terrorists in my country," Military Engineering Officer Major Balasim Mohammad Moshih Aljanaby said. "Learning how to identify precursors that are used in manufacturing home-made explosives will help us during our survey at the scene of the incident and also to control the handling of these materials."

The course was held at the NATO-accredited EOD Centre of Excellence in Slovakia and is the first program with Iraq to qualify for funding under the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.