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Iraqi Officials Say Islamic State Fighters Used Chemical Weapons In Mosul

An Iraqi soldier wears a gas mask on April 16 in Mosul.
An Iraqi soldier wears a gas mask on April 16 in Mosul.

Iraqi authorities have accused Islamic State (IS) militants of using "toxic chemical material" in the battle for Mosul, but they say it has had little effect and that the campaign to liberate Iraq’s second-largest city is continuing.

"The [IS] terrorist gangs tried to block the advance of our forces by using shells filled with toxic chemical material, but the effect was limited," Iraq's Joint Operations Command said on April 16.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told the Associated Press that six soldiers suffered breathing problems and were treated at a field clinic.

Federal Police officers participating in the drive against west Mosul told Reuters that government forces were hit by IS shells containing chemical weapons in the Urouba and Bab Jadid districts.

It is not yet known the exact type of chemical used, officials said.

Iraqi officials have said IS periodically uses chemical weapons but that the effect on military operations has been minimal.

IS fighters captured Mosul in 2014 as they gained wide swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in battles against government troops.

However, U.S.-led coalition forces have made major gains against the extremist group, having liberated eastern Mosul. Iraqi forces are now engaged in a battle to take crowded west Mosul from about 2,000 IS fighters.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP

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