IS militants have used, can make chemical weapons: CIA
WASHINGTON: The Islamic State militant group has used chemical weapons and can make small quantities of chlorine and mustard gas, CIA Director John Brennan has said, warning of the possibility that the dreaded outfit could seek to export the weapons for financial gain.
“We have a number of instances where ISIL (ISIS) has used chemical munitions on the battlefield,” PTI reported quoting Brenna CBS News in an interview, the excerpts of which was released on Thursday.
“There are reports that ISIS has access to chemical precursors and ammunitions that they can use,” Brennan said in response to a question.
According to the CBS news, CIA believes that ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has the ability to manufacture small quantity of chlorine and mustard gas.
Brennan warned of the possibility that the Islamic State group could seek to export the weapons to the West for financial gain.
“I think there is always a potential for that (exporting those chemicals). That is why it is so important to cut off the various transportation routes, the smuggling routes that that have used,” he said in response to a question.
Brennan said the US intelligence is actively involved in part of the effort to destroy ISIS and get as much insight into what they have on the ground inside Syria and Iraq.
Early this week, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that ISIS has used chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria.
“Chemical weapons continue to pose a threat in Syria and Iraq. Damascus has used chemicals against the opposition on multiple occasions since Syria joined the chemical weapons convention,” he had said.
“ISIL has also used toxic chemicals in Iraq and Syria, including the blister agent sulphur mustard. The first time an extremist group has produced and used a chemical warfare agent in an attack since Aum Shinrikyo used sarin in Japan in 1995,” Clapper had said.
Mustard gas is a class chemical warfare agent with the ability to form large blisters on the exposed skin and in the lungs.
Chlorine gas is a toxic gas and pulmonary irritant with intermediate water solubility that causes acute damage to the receptors in the epithelium of the respiratory tract.