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Top Iraqi Kurdish official: ISIS deployed drones with mustard gas

ISIS has deployed drones strapped with explosives, long-range artillery shells filled with chlorine and mustard gas and highly effective snipers

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ISIS has deployed drones strapped with explosives, long-range artillery shells filled with chlorine and mustard gas and highly effective snipers, a top Iraqi Kurdish security official told Reuters in an interview on Sunday.

Masrour Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Security Council, said ISIS deployed these drones so far during the three-week operation to recapture Iraq’s second largest city Mosul.

Barzani said Iraqi forces are expected to face much fiercer resistance from ISIS in the next phase of the battle for Mosul, including booby traps that can blow up entire neighborhoods.

“The fight against ISIS is going to be a long fight,” he said. “Not only militarily but also economically, ideologically.”

Barzani said Iraqi forces have made quick progress clearing out ISIS fighters from eastern Mosul after Kurdish peshmerga units broke through its first lines of defense.

“As they are getting more desperate, expectations are that they might fight more fiercely as you close in,” he added.

The official said “there are many different IEDs (improvised explosive devices)” ISIS puts in various locations.

He added: “So in one house they are putting one IED and trying to hide it. And once it explodes then the entire neighborhood explodes.”

The Mosul campaign is the most critical land battle in Iraq since a US-led coalition toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

(With Reuters)