Military fears ISIS may attack troops with chemical agents

Lance Cpl. Alexis H. Vavages, left, and Cpl. Rachee K. Roberts use an M256A1 chemical agent detector kit to screen for simulated chemicals Aug. 28 during a training event as part of Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The kit uses colors to indicate different chemicals it detects, such as hydrogen cyanide, cyanogen chloride gas, mustard gas, and nerve agents G and V series. Vavages is from Casa Grande, Arizona, and is a supply clerk with Marine Tactical Air Command 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Roberts is from Savanna, Georgia, and is an administration specialist with MTAC-18. (Lance Cpl. Tyler Giguere, USMC)

The U.S. military is taking the threat of ISIS having access to chemical weapons seriously and has ordered all troops stationed in Iraq to reacquaint themselves with their chemical weapons suits.

The order comes after new evidence shows that the Islamic State has obtained chemical weapons and used them on multiple occasions.

According to Fox News, a defense official they spoke with called the order a “precautionary measure.”

The Pentagon would not publicly confirm the order during a briefing on Thursday, but reporters were reassured that the military is prepared to handle a chemical attack by ISIS.

“The commanders in the field are making sure their troops are adequately prepared for the threats they may face,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said when asked about the new preparations.

Recently, defense officials confirmed that a “mustard agent” was used by ISIS against Kurdish Peshmerga forces in a mortar attack on Aug. 11 in the northern Iraqi city of Makhmur.

In a Pentagon video-teleconference with reporters late last month, Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Killea, chief of staff, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said, “We were able to take the fragments from some of those mortar rounds and do a field test, a presumptive field test on those fragments and they showed the presence of HD, or what is known as sulfur mustard. That is a class one chemical agent.”

In the past few days, there has been more evidence that ISIS has been using chemical weapons in their attacks in Syria and Iraq.

On Monday, a rocket suspected of carrying chemical weapons was fired by ISIS at Kurdish Peshmerga forces guarding the Mosul Dam.

The attack produced “yellow smoke,” according to the report. There were no significant injuries reported.

According to the Guardian, ISIS used chemical weapons in an attack on the Syrian city of Marea on August 21. The attack left as many as 25 people infected by a substance that has since been confirmed as mustard gas.

The gas was loaded into artillery shells and fired from about 5 miles away, from an area controlled by Islamic State. According to the report, 59 shells were fired on the small village near the Turkish border town of Killis.

The report included photos of people that were infected, showing the damage that the gas caused on civilians.


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