Twelve citizens were injured in what has been reported to be the first chemical weapons attack on Mosul in the battle between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State.
Thousands of citizens fled the city after Iraqi forces pushed north around the time of the attack. A doctor from the International Red Cross (ICRC) in nearby Irbil, confirmed the incident according to BBC.
Both the doctor and the director of the ICRC have suggested that, while the chemical substance used is still unknown, every indication points to an apparent chemical weapons attack.
The injuries were caused by two separate mortar strikes in east Mosul. While it is not yet confirmed who is to blame for the attack, the mortars were fired from west Mosul, which is currently occupied and held by ISIS.
According to a report by the IHS Conflict Monitor, ISIS is suspected of engaging in 52 attacks since 2014 that involved similar chemical warfare.
Chemical weapons are just one more barbaric weapon in ISIS’s arsenal, which is known for their brutal and inhumane method of execution, including death by fire, lashing, drowning, and beheading. Using such brutal tactics against innocent people has been a driving force in their vilification by the rest of the world.
ISIS is not the only group in the region that has been accused of chemical warfare. The Syrian government was also behind repeated chlorine attacks and other attacks that caused deaths and injuries within the civilian population.
According to a report back in August of last year by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, ISIS and ISIS-linked groups were responsible for roughly 33,000 deaths between 2002 and 2015.
International law forbids the use of chemical weapons, as they have a devastating effect on innocent civilian populations within the vicinity of attacks. Victims of the attack reported a foul smell similar to that of a chemical, and they expressed symptoms that signaled exposure to chemicals. Symptoms included eye redness, blisters, irritation, vomiting, and coughing.
Photo Credit: Alaa Al-Marjani/REUTERS
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