ISIS Launches Chemical Weapons Attack Against US, Iraqi Troops
A member of the Iraqi forces wears a gas mask as he stands by rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers in the old city of Mosul on April 16, 2017, during an offensive to recapture the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images.
The Islamic State launched a chemical weapons attack against Iraqi, U.S. and Australian troops Sunday.
No U.S. or Australian troops suffered injuries from the mustard agent, but 25 Iraqis in the unit required treatment, CBS News reports.
“Australian medics at a secure base outside Mosul provided first aid to the Iraqi soldiers affected by the gas attack,” a spokesman for Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The failed gas attack highlights Daesh’s desperation as Iraqi ground forces continue operations to liberate Mosul,” the spokesman added.
The Pentagon referred to the attack as “low grade.”
To help defend against future attacks, two Army officers stated that gas masks have been passed around, as the attack Sunday marked the second chemical weapons attack in a matter of days. The last one occurred Saturday when ISIS launched an attack with a gas agent in western Mosul. ISIS apparently had fired a rocket full of chlorine.
Progress has slowed considerably in Mosul because much of the fighting is now door-to-door.
As U.S. coalition spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian told The BBC, “the fight’s been very, very slow and very, very hard… its gut-busting.”
Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped in Mosul, ISIS’ de facto capital in Iraq.
“Civilians in Mosul face incredible, terrifying risks,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande said.
“They are being shot at, there are artillery barrages, families are running out of supplies, medicines are scarce and water is cut-off,” she added.
Since the fight began on Oct. 17, 2016, more than 327,000 civilians have left the city.
While Iraqi forces have retaken most of Mosul back, ISIS fighters still have firm control over the northwestern qurater of the city.
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