Wednesday, March 09, 2016

ISIS Detainee Tells U.S. of Militants’ Plan to Use Mustard Gas

By HELENE COOPER and ERIC SCHMITT, NYT
MARCH 9, 2016

WASHINGTON — An Islamic State detainee currently in American custody at a temporary detention facility in Erbil, Iraq, is a specialist in chemical weapons whom American military officials are questioning about the militant Sunni group’s plans to use the banned substances in Iraq and Syria, defense officials said.

The detainee was identified by officials as Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, a chemical and biological weapons expert who once worked for Saddam Hussein’s Military Industrialization Authority.

Mr. al-Afari, described by the military as a “significant” Islamic State operative who was captured a month ago by commandos in an elite American Special Operations force, has, under interrogation, provided his captors with details about how the group had weaponized mustard gas into powdered form and loaded it into artillery shells, the officials said.

One official said that the gas was not concentrated enough to kill anyone, but that it could maim people.

As is protocol, Defense Department officials notified the International Committee of the Red Cross, which monitors the treatment of detainees, that they were holding an Islamic State fighter. The Red Cross acknowledged in a statement on Tuesday that it had visited the detainee but gave no other information.

(More here.)

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