Confirmed: ISIS Seized Saddam's Sarin Facility
Militants took over chemical weapons stash, which is likely degraded, on June 11
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2014 7:30 AM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2014 7:55 AM CDT
This image made from video Saturday, July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.   (AP Photo/Militant video)

(Newser) – Saddam Hussein’s former chemical-weapons stronghold outside Baghdad is in the hands of ISIS militants, Iraq said in a letter to the UN yesterday, confirming previous reports. The letter stated that on June 11, "armed terrorist groups" commandeered Saddam's Muthanna facility, which includes two bunkers believed to hold some 2,500 sarin-filled rockets, 2,000 artillery shells contaminated with mustard gas, and 180 tons of sodium cyanide. The good news? The weapons are decades old, were bombed in the first Gulf War, and a UN report previously dismissed the sarin weapons as "poor quality" and likely to be "degraded after years of storage under the conditions existing there," reports the AP.

While the US has expressed "concern" about the hostile takeover of Muthanna, Reuters notes that last month a Defense Department spokesman echoed the UN sentiments. "Should they even be able to access the materials, frankly, it would likely be more of a threat to them than anyone else," he said. The Iraqi ambassador stated in his letter to the UN that Iraq would resume its mission of chemical-weapons destruction after it wrests the facility back from the Sunni Muslim insurgents.
 

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