German Intelligence Confirms ISIL Used Mustard Gas in Iraq
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND has reportedly collected evidence of mustard gas use by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group.
German daily Bild reported on Monday that BND intelligence agents collected blood samples from Kurds who were injured in clashes with ISIL, according to The Asociated Press on Tuesday.
Bild quoted the BND chief, Gerhard Schindler, as saying that the agency has “information that ISIL used mustard gas in northern Iraq”.
Schindler told the paper that the mustard gas either came from old Iraqi stockpiles produced under Saddam Hussein’s rule or was manufactured by ISIL after it seized the University of Mosul.
A senior German intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, confirmed the comments attributed to Schindler. He declined to confirm that the BND collected blood samples or discuss the agency’s methods.
“While we will not comment on intelligence or operational matters, let us be clear: any use by any party ... of a chemical as a weapon of any kind is an abhorrent act," US defense department spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith said.
“Given the alleged behavior of ISIL and other such groups in the region, any such flagrant disregard for international standards and norms is reprehensible.”
Activists said in August that ISIL attacked the northern Syrian town of Marea with poisonous gas although it was not clear if chemical weapons were used.
Doctors Without Borders said four patients exhibiting symptoms of exposure to chemical agents were treated at a hospital run by international medical organisations in northern Syria on 21 August. It said the parents and their two daughters arrived at a hospital run by the group one hour after the attack suffering from respiratory difficulties, inflamed skin, red eyes, and conjunctivitis and their conditions worsened later.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Turkey-based activist Abu al-Hassan Marea said it was not independently confirmed if the attack was with chemical agents.