IS using chemical weapons – reports

  • 15/08/2015

Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State jihadists in northern Iraq have reported being attacked with chemical weapons in recent days, the German defence ministry says.

The allegations, deemed "plausible" by a US official, follow claims in March by the autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq which said it had evidence that the jihadist group used chlorine in a car bomb attack on January 23.

"We have indications that there was an attack with chemical weapons" against Kurdish peshmerga fighters that left many suffering from "respiratory irritation", a German defence ministry spokesman said on Friday (local time).

A senior official from the peshmerga told Agence France-Presse the attack happened this week and wounded several dozen fighters.

"Last Tuesday afternoon, peshmerga forces in the Makhmur area 50 kilometres west of the city of Arbil were attacked with Katyusha rockets filled with chlorine," the peshmerga official said on condition of anonymity.

The defence ministry in Germany, which is providing arms and weapons training to the Kurdish forces, said that "American and Iraqi specialists from Baghdad are on their way to find out what happened".

Germany has been supporting peshmerga fighters since September to back their push against IS jihadists, and currently has about 90 personnel on the ground.