Does the Islamic State have chemical or biological weapon capabilities? New intelligence suggests that the terrorist state is actively attempting to produce both, and the terrorist state has used chemical weapons before.
In August, it was confirmed that Kurds fighting ISIS in northern Iraq were exposed to mustard gas. According to The Guardian, this was confirmed by German intelligence who collected blood samples from Kurds who were hurt in battle.
It was also reported that Marea, a town in northern Syria, was allegedly subjected to a chemical attack in August, too. However, this could not be independently confirmed.
New information suggests that ISIS is looking to ramp up its chemical and biological weapon capabilities. Chemical weapons can include nerve agents, ricin, lewisite, and mustard gas, but also more dangerous agents like phosgene, which is a colorless, suffocating gas responsible for 85,000 deaths in World War I. Biological weapons can include agents like anthrax, cholera, and the plague.
The Associated Press reports that Iraqi and U.S. intelligence officials have stated that ISIS has “[set] up a branch dedicated to research and experiments with the help of scientists from Iraq, Syria.” However, it is not a cause for alarm. The AP adds:
“U.S. intelligence officials say they don’t believe IS has the technological capability to produce nerve gas or biological agents, and that the militants were more likely to harm themselves trying to make them.
A European official privy to intelligence on the extremist group’s programs agreed, saying so far even IS production of mustard gas was in small quantities and of low quality.”