Interested in Language
In the following sentence, I don't understand why "where" is used before "barbecuing" instead of "were", and what does "get at the copper" mean, because from the dictionary, "get at" means to "manage to reach/touch" something... but the sentence sounds like to burn the cables to obtain the copper.
"... where Iraqis where barbecuing the street cables to get at the copper"
I am not a teacher.
You could have provided the entire sentence, but from what there is I'd say that the second 'where' should be 'were', as you thought.
'…get at the copper' means both 'obtain' and 'reach'. You need to reach it before you can obtain it. The word 'get' carries all of these meanings, and more.