Germany ‘cannot confirm’ that Kurds hit by chemical arms

However, the ministry did not rule out that a chemical attack could have taken place

Paul Crompton

Published: Updated:

A German foreign ministry spokesman told Al Arabiya News on Thursday it “could not confirm” that Kurdish forces in northern Iraq who are fighting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants were attacked with chemical weapons a few days ago.

However, the ministry did not rule out that a chemical attack could have taken place.

Earlier, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP that there had been a chemical attack around Makhmur, situated 35 kilometers southwest of Iraqi Kurdistan's capital Erbil, adding that some Kurdish Peshmerga fighters suffered respiratory problems while German military trainers were unhurt.

A Peshmerga spokesman confirmed the attack to Al Arabiya News, and said that such attacks from ISIS militants had become commonplace.

“ISIS has used chemical weapons against the Peshmerga for the past seven months,” Peshmerga spokesman Gen. Houl Kord told Al Arabiya News.

Late on Wednesday, Peshmerga officials told a Kurdish news site a group of U.S. and French experts had arrived in the area to examine wounded Peshmerga soldiers suspected of falling victim to the chemical attack. Samples from burn wounds have since been sent to a laboratory for analysis.

“Last night at least 45 mortar rounds were fired at our positions, which we believe were loaded with chemicals, since the wounds are different,” Peshmerga commander Muhammad Khoshawi told Rudaw.

Meanwhile, Khoshawi said that Peshmerga troops in the area had been instructed to wear gas masks until the samples could be verified.

The Kurdish department of foreign relations in Erbil could not be reached for comment by Al Arabiya News.

Previous claims

ISIS has previously been accused of using poison gas against Kurdish forces in Iraq.

In March, the autonomous Kurdish government in Erbil said it had evidence that the jihadist group used chlorine in a car bomb attack on January 23.

Last month, two research groups said ISIS had also targeted peshmerga in June. Other attacks were documented on June 28.

Despite there being no deaths, soldiers exposed to the gas experienced burning of the throat, eyes and nose, severe headaches, muscle pain, and vomiting.

(With AFP)

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