Recently, several media outlets reported that the Islamic State used chemical weapons in both Syria and Iraq. The use of chemical weapons by ISIS was first reported by Kurdish Peshmerga forces from Iraq in July.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that the United States confirmed the use of mustard gas by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. A laboratory in the U.S. conducted tests on scraps of clothing from ISIS victims and found traces of sulfur mustard, a forbidden chemical weapon that causes burns in the skin, eyes and respiratory organs.
Chemical weapons are banned by most countries under international treaties. Special equipment is needed to protect oneself from attacks with chemical agents, which is not available to most groups fighting in Syria and Iraq, and certainly not to the civilian populations in those countries.
The last time the media reported that ISIS used chemical weapons was September 2 when the terrorist organization attacked the city of Marea in the Aleppo province in northern Syria. During that attack, the Islamic State fired shells loaded with sulfur mustard and chlorine at residential areas in the city. Earlier, in the middle of August, they attacked the city of Hasaka in northern Syria with similar weapons.
It remains unknown how ISIS obtained these chemical weapons, but most experts think they were seized from the Syrian army and possibly from depots in Iraq that were hidden by Saddam Hussein before the U.S. invasion of the country in 2003. However, one U.S. official told the New York Times “the types of ordnance linked to ISIS so far have not matched known chemical ordnance in the former Iraqi inventory.”
There have also been reports that ISIS ordered the University of Mosul to introduce a seminar program that focuses on training Islamic Jihadists in the development and use of chemical weapons.
On Monday, the English paper Daily Star reported that British intelligence services obtained information about this program and that they anticipate a mass casualty chemical attack on Great Britain by Islamic State in the near future.
A source in the British security services told the Daily Star they are monitoring online purchases of glass funnels, measuring cylinders and protective clothing by returning British ISIS members who possibly attended the program at the University in Mosul.
“They are very alert to this threat at GCHQ and a red light flashes in a booth every time somebody buys a distillation apparatus on eBay.
“Equipment sales being monitored also include fume hoods – stainless steel cabinets which remove the highly dangerous fumes produced in the manufacture of chemical weapons – and protective clothing.
“The threat is very real as IS has made a breakthrough in its chemical weapons capability and is exporting this knowledge to Britain,” the source told the Daily Star.
The British paper reported that miniature drones that can be purchased freely in Europe could be used to launch a chemical attack on targets in Great Britain. A British manufacturer has reportedly built an anti-drone system that can neutralize a swarm of the miniature drones…