Chemical weaponsISIS attacks Iraqi town with chemical weapons

Published 14 March 2016

Iraqi officials has said that ISIS has launched two chemical attacks near the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, killing a three-year-old girl and wounding up to 600 people. The chemical attacks took place early Saturday in the town of Taza, security and hospital officials said place early on Saturday in the small town of Taza. The town was struck by several rockets carrying the chemicals.

Flag of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq // Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Iraqi officials has said that ISIS has launched two chemical attacks near the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, killing a three-year-old girl and wounding up to 600 people.

The chemical attacks took place early Saturday in the town of Taza, security and hospital officials said place early on Saturday in the small town of Taza. The town was struck by several rockets carrying the chemicals.

“There is fear and panic among the women and children,” said Adel Hussein, a local official in Taza. “They’re calling for the central government to save them.”

CBS News reports thata German and an American forensics team had arrived in the area to test for the presence of chemical agents.

The wounded are suffering from infected burns, suffocation and dehydration, said Helmi Hamdi, a nurse at the Taza hospital.

Last month U.S. Special Forces captured the head of the ISIS chemical weapons unit, which is trying to develop chemical weapons with the help of scientists who worked in Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons complex, but which also employs foreign scientists (“U.S. captures head of ISIS chem weapons unit; targets ISIS chem weapons infrastructure,” HSNW, 10 March 2016).

The chemicals ISIS has used so far include chlorine and a low-grade sulphur mustard, which is not a potent weapon.

“It’s a legitimate threat. It’s not a high threat. We’re not, frankly, losing too much sleep over it,” U.S. army Col Steve Warren said on Friday.

Two months ago, the U.S.-led coalition has been targeting ISIS’s chemical weapons infrastructure – labs, testing grounds, equipment, personnel — with manned and unmanned airstrikes, and Special Forces’ raids.

U.S. intelligence estimates that ISIS has created limited amounts of mustard gas. The gas was used by ISIS in an attack on a town in Syria in August 2015. There have been other reports of the group using chemical agents on battlefields in Syria and Iraq – especially against Kurdish forces.

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