At least 25 Iraqis were wounded during New Year celebrations in Baghdad.
A health ministry spokesman Dr. Seif al-Badr told Asharq Al-Awsat that this number only covers the capital.
“We will release a statement later that covers injuries throughout Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region,” he added.
He revealed that 90 percent of injuries were caused by fireworks. The remaining were caused by live ammunition. The majority of the victims are youths, teenagers and children.
The injuries ranged in severity, with some suffering serious burns, eye injuries and finger amputations.
Badr criticized the measures taken by the Iraqi authorities as “not serious” enough in putting an end to injuries caused by fireworks and gunshots that are fired at every occasion.
He stressed the need for a “serious” coordination operation between security agencies, border crossings and the trade ministry to ban the import of dangerous firework into the country.
Asharq Al-Awsat toured Baghdad as youths gathered at various shopping centers to ring in the New Year.
MP Shorouq al-Aabayji told Asharq Al-Awsat that these gatherings are spontaneous and “they reflect the Iraqis’ zest for life, which in turn reflects their vitality.”
MP Ahmed al-Jabouri meanwhile described the New Year celebrations in Mosul as an “embodiment of the people’s desire to live in peace and their aspiration for a better life away from disputes caused by the political class and foreign agendas.”
“The people celebrated without fear and they look forward to a new year without ISIS,” he stressed.
Anbar governor Mohammed al-Halbousi said that the celebrations in the region “have their own flavor.”
“The residents of al-Ramadi were able to celebrate after years of displacement and the signs of destruction still surrounds them,” he explained.
“They delivered a message to the world that we love life and do not harbor terrorism as anti-propaganda would like to portray,” he continued.
Baghdad resident Karim al-Sary’s vehicle broke down amid the celebrations in the capital. A number of youths soon jumped in to offer their assistance.
“This is the first time in years that I go out with my family to celebrate,” he said.