Germany: ISIS Used Mustard Gas in Iraq

Intel chief says chemical agent could have been Saddam's
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2015 9:02 AM CDT
This 1988 file photo shows victims of a chemical gas attack by Saddam Hussein on Kurds in the town of Halabja, Iraq.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND has collected evidence of mustard gas use by the Islamic State. German daily Bild reported yesterday 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 paper 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, confirmed the comments attributed to Schindler. He declined to confirm that the BND collected blood samples or discuss the agency's methods.

Says a Pentagon rep: "Any use by any party ... of a chemical as a weapon of any kind is an abhorrent act. Given the alleged behavior of [ISIS] and other such groups in the region, any such flagrant disregard for international standards and norms is reprehensible." Activists said last month that ISIS attacked the Syrian town of Marea with poisonous gas, although it wasn't clear if chemical weapons were used. Doctors Without Borders said that four patients exhibiting symptoms of exposure to chemical agents were treated at a hospital run by the group in northern Syria on Aug. 21. It said a couple and their two daughters arrived one hour after the attack, suffering from respiratory difficulties, inflamed skin, red eyes, and conjunctivitis and that their conditions worsened later. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Turkey-based activist Abu al-Hassan Marea said chemical agents hadn't been independently confirmed. (Read more ISIS stories.)

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