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Nerve Agent That Sickened Former Spy Strikes Again

Two people hospitalized in critical condition in England after exposure to same toxin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2018 5:30 PM CDT
British police officers guards a cordon outside the Amesbury Baptist Centre church in Amesbury, England, Wednesday, July 4, 2018.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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(Newser) – For the second time in four months, two people lie critically ill in England's Salisbury District Hospital after being exposed to a military-grade nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, British police confirmed late Wednesday. The country's chief counterterrorism police officer says tests at Britain's defense laboratory had confirmed what many residents feared—a man and woman in their 40s had been poisoned with the same toxin that almost killed a former Russian spy and his daughter, the AP reports. "We can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal," says Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of London's Metropolitan Police.

Local police declared the case a "major incident" Wednesday, four days after the man and woman were found collapsed at a residential building in Amesbury, eight miles from Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned. Basu said it was not clear whether there was a link between the two cases, and whether the nerve agent came from the same batch that left the Skripals fighting for their lives. "The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of enquiry for us," he says, amid speculation that the victims could have been sickened by residue from the poison used on the Skripals. Basu says it was unclear whether the two were targeted, but there was "nothing in their background to suggest that at all." Click for the full story.

(Read more England stories.)

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