MOSUL - Seven people, among them five
children, have been hospitalized over the
past two days near Iraq's Mosul with
injuries from chemical weapons, the Red
Cross said on Friday.
The Islamic State jihadist group, which
holds the majority of west Mosul, has
periodically used rudimentary chemical
weapons in the course of its more than
two-year war with Iraqi forces.
"During the past two days, the hospital
has admitted five children and two women
showing clinical symptoms consistent with an
exposure to a blistering chemical agent,"
Robert Mardini, the Red Cross Middle East
director, said in a statement, referring to
a facility near Mosul.
"The use of chemical weapons is
absolutely prohibited under international
humanitarian law. We are deeply alarmed by
what our colleagues have seen, and we
strongly condemn any use of chemical
weapons, by any party, anywhere," Mardini
The statement did not specify whether the
seven were injured in one or more attacks,
how the chemical weapons were delivered, or
who was responsible.
Several Iraqi military officers said they
did not have information about recent
chemical weapons attacks in the Mosul area.
IS overran large areas north and west of
Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by
US-led air strikes and other support have
since regained much of the ground they lost
to the jihadists.
IS has periodically used chemical weapons
in the course of the conflict, but while
this has garnered widespread attention, the
jihadists' bullets and bombs are far
Iraqi forces launched an operation to
retake west Mosul, the largest population
centre still held by the jihadists, on