New reports have emerged on the use of chemical weapons by Islamic State terrorists on the battlefield.
Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, has collected evidence of mustard gas use by the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) terror group.
The German daily Bild reported Monday that BND intelligence agents collected blood samples from Kurds who were injured in clashes with ISIS.
It quoted BND chief Gerhard Schindler as saying that the agency has “information that ISIS used mustard gas in northern Iraq.”
Schindler told the newspaper that the mustard gas either came from old Iraqi stockpiles produced under Saddam Hussein’s rule or was manufactured by ISIS after it seized the University of Mosul.
A senior German intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, confirmed the comments attributed to Schindler. He declined to confirm that the BND had collected the blood samples or to discuss the agency’s methods.
Mustard gas, or sulfur mustard, is a chemical compound used as a weapon. It was used in World War I by the German army against British, French and Canadian soldiers. When deployed in warfare, it has a yellowish-to brown-color. Sometimes it smells like culinary mustard, horseradish or garlic.
‘An Abhorrent Act’
US Defense Department spokeswoman Cmdr. Elissa Smith said that “while we will not comment on intelligence or operational matters, let us be clear: Any use by any party … of a chemical as a weapon of any kind is an abhorrent act.”
“Given the alleged behavior of ISIL and other such groups in the region, any such flagrant disregard for international standards and norms is reprehensible,” Smith stated.
Activists monitoring the civil war in Syria said last month that ISIS had attacked the northern Syrian town of Marea with poisonous gas, although it was not clear if chemical weapons were used.
Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organization, said that four patients exhibiting symptoms of exposure to chemical agents were treated at a hospital it runs in northern Syria on August 21. The parents and their two daughters reportedly arrived at a hospital run by the group one hour after the attack, suffering from respiratory difficulties, inflamed skin, red eyes, and conjunctivitis, and their conditions worsened later.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and Turkey-based activist Abu al-Hassan Marea said it was not confirmed whether that attack was with chemical agents.
This is not the first allegation leveled against ISIS that it used chemical weapons.
Iraqi Kurdish authorities said in March that they had evidence that ISIS used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against their Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq in January. Laboratory analysis, they said, showed “the samples contained levels of chlorine that suggested the substance was used in weaponized form.”
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
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