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Iraqi Forces Take Chemical Weapons Site
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March 2017

Iraqi pharmaceutics student Abdesatar al-Hamdany, 21, carries his books in front of the destroyed buildings of Mosul University on January 22, a week after Iraqi government forces retook the campus from the Islamic State fighters. (Photo credit: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi forces retook the University of Mosul, where the Islamic State group reportedly produced chemical weapons. The terrorist organization produced sulfur mustard agent at the university, which also served as the group’s Mosul headquarters, a Pentagon official said Feb 7. The intended use of so-called mustard gas by the group was “primarily as [a skin] irritant and something to scare people,” not as a lethal weapon, according to U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Since 2014, the group has used chemical weapons, including chlorine and sulfur mustard agents, at least 52 times in Iraq and Syria, the IHS Conflict Monitor said in November 2016. Many of those attacks were in and around Mosul. In August 2016, a joint investigative panel of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that the Islamic State group used sulfur mustard in an August 2015 attack in the northern Syrian town of Marea. The Syrian regime used chlorine gas in multiple attacks in 2014 and 2015. (See ACT, November 2016.)

Posted: March 1, 2017