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Iraq shuts down as heat wave smothers Middle East

Scorching temperatures are normal in the Middle East this time of year, but an unprecedented heat wave prompted Iraqi authorities to declare a mandatory four-day holiday beginning Thursday.

REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

It's a 15-minute walk through a lush palm grove from Baghdad's al-Takia refugee camp to the nearest well, but as temperatures hovered around 52 degrees Celsius (126 F) on Thursday, Zakiyah Abdullah, who is eight months pregnant, said it felt like an eternity.

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