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Iraqi officials: Islamic State using chemical weapons

chemical weapons


by Joseph Earnest  October 24, 2014   


Newscast Media BAGHDADIraqi officers say that "Islamic State" fighters have used low-grade chemical weapons while fighting north of Baghdad. US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a warning about the severity of these allegations.

"Islamic State" (IS) militants have begun using low-grade chemical weapons, several Iraqi officials said on Friday. The anonymous officials told the AP that IS had dropped bombs filled with chlorine gas while fighting near the towns of Duluiya and Balad, around 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

"The IS fighters seized some quantities of chlorine after seizing control of some water purification plants," said one senior official.

Similar reports have come out of the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobani, where fighting between Kurdish soldiers and the jihadists has been raging for weeks.

The Iraqi officers claimed that the symptoms of 40 troops and Shiite militiamen consist with chlorine gas poisoning, such as wheezing and coughing. The affected fighters had been treated in hospital and recovered, they said.

The Washington Post reported that a smaller number, namely 11 Iraqi police officers, had been the victims of the attack.

Chlorine gas is not as toxic as sarin, which killed hundreds of people on the edge of Damascus in the summer of 2013, generating an international outcry that prompted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to agree to destroy his chemical arsenal, though he had previously denied having one.

Though chlorine gas is not deadly on its own, it can be mixed with other toxic agents to create a more potent chemical weapon.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at a press conference in South Korea, said he could not substantiate these media reports, but that "these allegations are extremely serious and we are seeking additional information in order to be able to determine whether or not we can confirm it."

Kerry added that the use of chemical weapons is not only forbidden by international law, it is an "abhorrent act" saying: "these recent allegations underscore the importance of the work we are currently engaged in." Add Comments>>

 Source: Deutsche Welle












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