Minister Sees Threat of Daesh Chemical Attack in Britain
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) militants have aspirations to launch mass-casualty chemical attacks on targets in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, the British security minister said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.
Ben Wallace also said British authorities feared that as the militant group was driven out of strongholds in the Middle East such as the Iraqi city of Mosul, Britons fighting for the group would return home and pose a growing domestic threat, Reuters reported.
"The ambition of ISIS or Daesh is definitely mass-casualty attacks," Wallace told the Sunday Times newspaper.
"They have no moral objection to using chemical weapons against populations and if they could, they would in this country. The casualty figures that could be involved would be everybody's worst fear."
The report said no specific chemical plot had been identified but security services had been carrying out exercises to prepare for the possibility.
Daesh used sulfur mustard gas in an attack on the Syrian town of Marea in August 2015, according to global watchdog the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Wallace pointed to the dismantlement of a Daesh cell in Morocco in February as evidence of the group's ambition to carry out chemical attacks elsewhere.
"Moroccan authorities dismantled a cell involving chemical weapons. They recovered toxic chemical and biological substances and a large stock of fertilizer. The substances found could have been used to produce home-made explosives and could have been transformed into a deadly toxin," he said.
About 800 Britons are thought to have traveled to Syria, many to join Daesh, since the outbreak of the foreign-backed war in that country. Around 100 have been killed.
"The big concern is if Mosul collapses and all the other bases of ISIS collapse. We know there are a significant number of fighting for ISIS in Syria. They will probably want to come home," said Wallace.