World Bulletin / News Desk
The Pentagon expects more chemical attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq as an operation on Mosul nears, a Defense official said Monday.
The warning from the Pentagon comes nearly one week after reports that a chemical shell landed in a base in Qayara, where several hundred U.S. forces are training Iraqi units ahead of the Mosul offensive.
A substance in the ammunition tested positive for a “mustard agent” or sulfur mustard, which can cause severe skin burns or lung damage, according to the Pentagon.
“I think we can fully expect, as this road toward Mosul progresses, ISIL is likely to try to use it again,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.
Iraq’s second largest city has been under ISIL control since 2014 and Iraqi forces, alongside the U.S.-led coalition, are trying to push the militant group out of the city.
“They are dead set on it. They would love to use chemical weapons against us and against the Iraqis as they move forward and we are making every effort to make sure we are ready for it,” Davis added.
According to the spokesman, American forces on the ground have masks and other full-body gear in case of a chemical attack.
The U.S. also delivered 50,000 gas masks to Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces to counter any potential chemical attack.
The shell from the Sept. 20 rocket launch didn’t kill any troops but it was the first time U.S. forces were exposed to a chemical attack in Iraq.
Davis said the mustard agent was an “oily substance” rather than in gas form which would be a far more lethal.
He said ISIL is making it in its laboratories in Iraq and Syria and has used it in numerous attacks in the past two years.
“That is not something we view as militarily significant but obviously it is further evidence that ISIL knows no boundaries when it comes to their conduct on the battlefield,” Davis added.Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Eylül 2016, 10:06