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Iraqi Kurds Say IS  Used Chlorine Gas
International

Iraqi Kurds Say IS Used Chlorine Gas

Iraqi Kurdish authorities said on Saturday they had evidence that Islamic State had used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against their peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq in January.

The Security Council of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region said in a statement to Reuters that the peshmerga had taken soil and clothing samples after an Islamic State car bombing attempt on Jan. 23.

It said laboratory analysis showed "the samples contained levels of chlorine that suggested the substance was used in weaponized form." The Kurdish allegation could not be independently confirmed.

Chlorine is a choking agent whose use as a chemical weapon dates back to World War One. It is banned under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits all use of toxic agents on the battlefield.

About a dozen peshmerga fighters experienced symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dizziness or weakness, the source said.

The statement said the analysis was carried out in a European Union-certified laboratory after the soil and samples were sent by the Kurdish Regional Government to a "partner nation" in the US-led coalition that is fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

The source described the samples as "leftovers from the suicide bomber", but declined to identify the laboratory.

The White House said in a statement it could not confirm the allegations but found them "deeply disturbing" and was monitoring the situation "very closely."

Iraq's Kurds were the victims of the deadliest chemical attack of modern times when Saddam Hussein's air force bombed the town of Halabja in 1988, gassing at least 5,000 people to death.

 

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