Report: Islamic State Used Chlorine Gas on Iraqi Police

This undated image posted on a militant website Jan. 4, 2014, shows Shakir Waheib, a senior member of the Islamic State, left, next to a burning police vehicle in Iraq's Anbar Province.
This undated image posted on a militant website Jan. 4, 2014, shows Shakir Waheib, a senior member of the Islamic State, left, next to a burning police vehicle in Iraq's Anbar Province.

The Islamic State group used chlorine gas against Iraqi police officers in what appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the militants, according to a Washington Post report.

The attack on 11 Iraqi police occurred Sept. 15, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, according to an Iraqi defense ministry official cited by the Post. 

The Iraqi police had been guarding a town under heavy assault for days when they saw IS fighters retreat from their position, according to the report. They heard a boom, then saw yellow smoke drift toward them.

The four doctors who later treated them said there was no question that they were attacked with chlorine gas, the Post reported. The police officers were rushed to a hospital in Balad, where they vomited and struggled to stand, according to the report.  

Iraq officials said two other crude chlorine gas attacks have occurred, though few details exist, the Post reported.

The reports have raised fears that Islamic State is developing its abilities to deploy chemical weapons as it wages war in Iraq, according to the story. The militants have a former Iraqi chemical weapons factory within their captured territory, though officials said that the 2,500 weapons there are likely unfit for use and were sealed in a bunker more than 20 years ago.

Chlorine gas was widely used during World War I and was responsible for killing thousands of soldiers. It is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which nearly all nations have either acceded to or ratified.

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