The United States military and law enforcement scientists are investigating reports that the terrorist group ISIS are using chemical weapons against the Iraqi military, according to Secretary of State John Kerry. The ISIS fighters are allegedly using the deadly weapon of mass destruction (WMD) chlorine gas. “I am not in a position to confirm it, but I can tell you that we take these allegations very, very seriously,” Kerry told reporters during a press briefing on Friday.
Iraqi government officials have said ISIS used chlorine gas during fighting with Iraqi soldiers and Shia militia north of Baghdad.
Three Iraqi officials — a senior security official, a local official from the town of Duluiya and an official from the town of Balad – had told The Associated Press that the Islamic State group used bombs with chlorine-filled cylinders during clashes in late September in the two towns.
Dizzy, vomiting and struggling to breathe, 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 50 miles north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers is ISIS.
Those fears spiked when the Iraqi Defense Minister confirmed that 11 Iraqi police were admitted to a hospital last month with symptoms of dizziness, vomiting and trouble breathing – symptoms of chlorine gas poisoning.
The chlorine attack appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State on the battlefield. An Iraqi Defense Ministry official corroborated the events, and doctors said survivors’ symptoms were consistent with chlorine poisoning.
The presence of a large former Iraqi chemical weapons production plant in territory seized by the Islamic State has compounded those fears, although officials and chemical weapons experts say the 2,500 degraded rockets filled with nerve agents that remain there are unlikely to be fit for use. Weapons inspectors sealed them off with concrete in a bunker more than 20 years ago.
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