Daesh after developing chemical weapons: Sources
Iran Press TV
Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:41PM
The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, is seeking to develop chemical weapons, Iraqi and US intelligence officials say.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, several Iraqi intelligence officials told The Associated Press on Thursday that Daesh has set up a branch tasked with pursuing the development of chemical weapons.
"They now have complete freedom to select locations for their labs and production sites and have a wide range of experts, both civilians and military, to aid them," one of the officials said.
In a recent report, the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the use of sulfur mustard near Syria's northwestern city of Aleppo in August this year. Daesh is widely believed to be behind the attack.
According to an unidentified Iraqi general, the country's military distributed gas masks to troops deployed to the west and north of Baghdad Province over the summer.
An unnamed senior officer in Iraq's Salahuddin Province also said 25 percent of the troops deployed there were equipped with gas masks.
Meanwhile, Hakim al-Zamili, the head of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee, noted that the country's military received from Russia 1,000 protective suits against chemical attacks.
Citing intelligence reports, al-Zamili said Daesh has managed to attract chemical experts from abroad as well as Iraqi experts, adding that the militant group recently moved its research labs, experts and materials from Iraq to "secured locations" inside Syria.
"Daesh is working very seriously to reach production of chemical weapons, particularly nerve gas," he noted, warning, "That would threaten not just Iraq but the whole world."
In addition, Richard Zahner, retired US Lieutenant General, said US intelligence agencies have consistently underestimated Daesh, adding that the terrorist group could realistically reach a "limited" program for battlefield uses.
"Even a few competent scientists and engineers, given the right motivation and a few material resources, can produce hazardous industrial and weapons-specific chemicals in limited quantities," Zahner said.
Earlier on Thursday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that his country could face the risk of chemical or biological warfare in its fight against Daesh.
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said Moscow had learnt that Daesh and other Takfiri terrorist groups frequently use chemical warfare agents (CWAs) in Syria and Iraq, where they have swathes of land under control.
The Daesh militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, such as public decapitations and crucifixions, against all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians in areas they have overrun.
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