Iraq’s already burdened electricity sector took another hit Thursday as assailants attacked a plant in southern Baghdad, shutting it down.
The casualty count hasn’t been released, but workers were sent to the hospital after an armed group laid siege to the al-Doura power plant, setting one unit on fire and damaging a second, an Iraq Electricity Ministry source told the Voices of Iraq news agency.
“Unknown gunmen attacked last night,” the source said, “depriving thousands of people in and around al-Doura of electricity.”
“The attackers also set ablaze a fire engine while trying to put out the fire,” he added. “Works of the plant rehabilitation needs security to prevail in this hot spot area. The area cannot be controlled easily despite the huge security forces’ reinforcements arriving there.”
There’s a minor problem with this story. According to a source we have on the scene who works at that plant, a person we have heard from before and have every reason to trust, the attack never happened. The plant is still in full operation. No fire truck was set ablaze. There was small arms fire in the area that night, but other than that, nothing. Nada.
It. Did. Not. Happen.
No attack, no damage to any generator, no burned firetruck. Care for some pictures?
Here are the videos I took this morning that prove no attack took place last week. Unit 3 is running at 60 megawatts output, Unit 4 at 55 MW, unit 5 is down for bearing repairs, and unit 6 is coming up.
I did speak with our head of security this morning. He said the night that was mentioned in the article, there was some activity in the area. But no attack on the plant or the expat compound took place. One theory about this false report is the person in the Ministry of Electricity may have had prior knowledge about an attack, and called his contact in the media prematurely. Another theory is someone exaggerated the activity around us that night. The latter, in my opinion, is the best theory. People around here get excited when they hear S.A.F. at night.
And here are the visuals. You’ll see units 3,4,5 & 6, the fire truck that was supposedly burned, and the interior of the plant. It’s all operating normally. It’s a boring video, but that’s the point. At the time it was filmed, there had been no attack.
That’s the power plant that was supposedly shut down by an attack.
Interestingly, two days after the UPI report hit the wires, there was an attack on the plant. Here’s what my source at Al Doura says.
We had some activity this afternoon, fairly heavy in fact. But we are still alive & kickin’, safe and sound.
But even after the heavy attack, which seems to have been reported by UPI before it ever occurred, the power plant is still up and operating.
So what happened, UPI?
Update: Confederate Yankee checked with his MNF-I sources on this.
The attack on the substation definitely happened, as did the attack on the fire truck. I just saw photos of the burned out building and fire engine.
But, it is a small facility, and the article exaggerates the impact of the attack. Did people lose power as a result? Probably- those serviced in that immediate neighborhood. But, power is intermittent throughout Doura, so to insinuate that the loss of this station is the cause of a city-wide loss of electricity isn’t exactly accurate either. It sounds like another example of one smaller event happening, but then being made into more than it actually was.
The main Doura power plant is still operating per normal output.
The UPI’s story is just vague enough on the definition of “power plant” that they may claim that the attack happened as they describe. But a plain reading of the story — it’s how both our source and I read it, and it’s how the language reads — is that the main power plant was the target, not a small substation. And the main power plant wasn’t attacked at all. At best, the UPI story exaggerates both the target and the extent of the attack’s effectiveness.
As Confederate Yankee says, details, details.
Update: As several readers have noted, the story is no longer available at the link above. UPI appears to have buried it.