Iraqi team to probe alleged IS chemical attacks on Kurds – diplomats
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – A team of Iraqi government experts will go to Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region this week to investigate allegations that Islamic State (IS) insurgents have used chemical weapons against Kurdish forces, diplomats said on Monday.
Chemical agents were not known to have been used in fighting in Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003. If the allegations are confirmed, it would mean that Islamist militants have gained a new weapon in a conflict that has destabilised the region.
Three chemical attacks against Kurdish Peshmerga forces, all in mortar rounds, have been reported by Kurdistan Regional Government officials in northern Iraq this year.
Kurdish officials cited laboratory tests as having shown positive for the chemical agent chlorine.
Diplomats said national Iraqi government officials had launched an inquiry to collect their own samples and determine the accuracy of claims of mustard gas use in the course of Islamic State’s capture of large swathes of territory in the north of the country since mid-2014.