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Islamic State using powdered mustard gas, detainee says

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   March 9, 2016 at 12:07 PM
| License Photo

IRBIL , Iraq, March 9 (UPI) -- A captured Islamic State operative has spilled details of the terrorist group's plans to use weaponized mustard gas in Iraq and Syria, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

The detainee, described by U.S. defense officials as a chemical weapons specialist, a former Iraqi government employee during the Saddam Hussein regime and a "significant" Islamic State operative, was captured a month ago by a U.S. Special Operations force established last year to fight IS. He is housed at a detention facility in Irbil, Iraq, and has provided information indicating IS can put sulfur mustard, or mustard gas, into powdered form and insert it into artillery shells.

Mustard gas is controlled as a battlefield weapon under several protocols of combat, and causes skin blisters and respiratory problems. An official said the use of mustard gas by IS was not adequately concentrated to kill a victim, but could cause injuries or scars.

The U.S. Defense Department said it notified the International Committee of the Red Cross, which monitors detainee treatment, when the unidentified IS fighter was captured. He is one of two IS captives held in Iraq by the United States, which said it would turn him over to Iraqi and Kurdish authorities after its interviews are complete.

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