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Fears ISIS may use chemical weapons in battle for Mosul

US officials said in a previously undisclosed statement that it had confirmed the presence of a sulfur mustard agent on ISIS munitions

Published: Updated:

Allied forces fighting ISIS in Mosul say they expect the extremist group to use crude chemical weapons as it tries to defend Mosul from an assault to drive them out.

One official told Reuters that US forces have gathered ISIS shell fragments to test for chemical weapons because the group has been known to use mustard gas in the past.

US officials said in a previously undisclosed statement that it had confirmed the presence of a sulfur mustard agent on ISIS munitions on Oct. 5.

Meanwhile, Senior Iraqi General Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati told reporters at a military base on Tuesday that up to 6,000 ISIS fighters are currently inside the city. He did not say how many of them are foreigners.

Sources say humanitarian agencies are bracing between 100,000 and 400,000 people fleeing the fighting in Mosul and making their way toward Syria, Iraq’s Kurdish-administrated region or the border with Turkey.

Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent organization, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the “humanitarian aspect” of the Mosul operation had not been well thought out by the coalition forces.