Child dies in Islamic State chemical-weapon attacks on Iraqi town

By Marilyn Malara  |  March 12, 2016 at 10:01 AM
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BAGHDAD, March 12 (UPI) -- A three-year-old girl died after the Islamic State fired chemical weapons containing an unidentified substance in and around the northern city of Kirkuk, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.

The latest attack took place in the town of Taza on Saturday morning, days after the initial chemical attack Tuesday. The girl died from exposure to the substance shortly after the attacks, officials said. She suffered from kidney and lung failure.

At least 400 people have been exposed to the substance, which the Wall Street Journal reports causes symptoms similar to that of exposure to chlorine or mustard gas.

Others infected have experienced respiratory problems and skin irritation. At least four victims were transferred to a Baghdad medical facility in critical condition. German and American research teams have arrived in the area to test the chemicals, according to The Guardian.

"There is fear and panic among the women and children," said Adel Hussein, a official in Taza told the British news outlet. "They're calling for the central government to save them."

This week, a United States. official reported a detained IS operative gave details about the group's chemical capabilities, saying they plan to use weaponized mustard gas in Iraq and Syria. The operative is reportedly a chemical weapons specialist and former Iraqi government employee during Saddam Hussein's regime. He was captured about a month ago.

Mustard gas is controlled as a battlefield weapon under several protocols of combat. The official said the group, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, does not have weapons with adequately concentrated mustard gas to kill, but to cause injuries and scars.

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