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Ferry tragedy in Mosul spurns arrests, civil unrest, and period of mourning

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Developments in the Northern Region were dominated by the ferry tragedy in Mosul. Further to initial discussion, on the morning of 21 March, an overcrowded ferry capsized and sank in the vicinity of Umm al-Rabiayn Tourist Island, located on the Tigris River in northern Mosul City. The ferry, which was intended to transport 50 individuals at standard capacity, was transporting approximately 250 tourists including women and children celebrating Nowruz. At least 95 individuals died, 55 were rescued, and dozens of individuals remain unaccounted for. Significant refinements are possible as recovery efforts continue.

An investigation was launched into these events, with arrest warrants issued for nine ferry employees. The following morning, Iraqi President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi conducted visits to Mosul, declaring three days of national mourning. ISF imposed heightened security measures across the city in support of the visit. The KRG also announced cancelling the remainder of the Nowruz holiday in observance of the three-day mourning period.

Expected civil unrest surrounding this incident quickly took shape. On the morning of 22 March, hundreds of individuals assembled near the site of the sinking in northeastern Mosul City. Protesters condemned the incident and the circumstances surrounding it. Later that morning, the Nineveh Governor and President Barham Salih arrived at the location but were blocked by dozens of aggravated individuals. Protesters demanded the resignation of the governor and the prosecution of those responsible for the deadly accident as they pelted his vehicle with stones. The motorcade vacated the area under pressure, with several windows damaged. No casualties were reported, but light injuries were possible.

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