Iraqi fisherman nets shark 200 km from sea

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NASSIRIYA, Iraq, Oct 30 (Reuters) A two-metre shark has been caught in a river in southern Iraq more than 200 km from the sea.

Karim Hasan Thamir said he was fishing with his sons last week when they spotted a large fish thrashing about in his net.

''I recognised the fish as a shark because I have seen one on a television programme,'' he told Reuters.

The shark was pulled from the mouth of an irrigation canal that joins the Euphrates River. The Euphrates joins the Tigris River further east to form the Shatt al-Arab waterway which flows south past Basra into the Gulf.

Dr Mohamed Ajah, assistant dean of the college of science at Thi Qar University in Nassiriya, said barriers in river estuaries usually prevented sharks swimming upstream.

''In this case, I think this animal was there for a long time but no one had managed to see it,'' he said.

Locals blamed the US military for the shark's presence.

Tahseen Ali, a teacher, said there was a ''75 per cent chance'' Americans had put the shark in the water.

''This is very frightening for us. Our children always swim in the river and I believe that there are more sharks. I believe that America is behind this matter,'' said fisherman Hatim Karim.

REUTERS SG RN1509

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