ISIS Have Potential to 'Build Chemical Weapons', Australia FM says

ISIS Have Potential to 'Build Chemical Weapons', Australia FM says
Sat Jun 6, 2015 14:13:39

Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has voiced concerns over an alleged possibility of the “Islamic State” group to build chemical weapons. There have been several reports of ISIS using toxic chlorine gas in homemade bombs in Iraq and Syria.

“The use of chlorine by Daesh, and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the west, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development,” Bishop said late on Friday in Perth.

Australia FM

“Daesh is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons,” she said.

Chlorine gas is a strong oxidizer, which may react with flammable materials. The toxic gas, which was first used as a weapon during WWI by Germany, is on the banned list of chemicals under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Kurdish officials said its peshmerga fighters, busy reinforcing their positions on a highway between Mosul and the Syrian border, came under attack from an ISIS suicide bomber driving a truck filled with toxic chlorine gas late January.

Authorities say their forces destroyed the truck with a rocket before it had a chance to detonate near soldiers.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the chemical weapons watchdog, conducted a fact-finding mission in neighboring Syria last year, where ISIS has been fighting against the Bashar Assad government.

According to the OPCW probe, chlorine was used “systematically and repeatedly” in Syria in 2014.

The report stated that chlorine was used in attacks on the villages of Talmanes, Al Tamanah and Kafr Zeta, all located in northern Syria.

Last year, 11 Iraqi police officers were taken to hospital after an ISIS chemical weapons attack, with the Defense Ministry and doctors later confirming their diagnosis was poisoning by chlorine gas.

According to a Washington Post report, the “Islamic State” militants’ chlorine gas attack occurred on September 15, in the town of Duluiyah, located north of the capital.