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Report: 'IS' deploys chemicals

August 13, 2015

Germany's Defense Ministry says it has reports that Kurdish forces fighting "Islamic State" (IS) in Iraq were attacked with chemical weapons a few days ago. IS apparently used chlorine gas against the peshmerga fighters.

Iraq: Peshmerga in Erbil
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Kuhlmann

On Thursday, Germany's Defense Ministry cited a peshmerga troop report that IS had fired poison-gas grenades at Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. Ministry officials said there was some evidence that the IS fighters used chlorine gas on peshmerga troops in the town of Makhmur, in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish north.

German military trainers remained unhurt, the ministry said, though some Kurdish fighters had suffered respiratory problems. "American and Iraqi specialists from Baghdad are on their way to find out what happened," the spokesman said.

Eighty-eight German soldiers are currently deployed on a training mission in Irbil, Iraq's Kurdish capital, which lies about 60 kilometers (35 miles) from the site of the attack. They have been helping both Kurdish peshmerga and Yazidi fighters prepare for the long battle against IS with German-made weapons. Reports of chemical attacks by IS have increased in recent weeks.

IS had reportedly launched a suicide attack against the US consulate in Irbil in April, but by July the city appeared to be under control enough to allow the US defense minister to visit.

mkg/kms (AFP, dpa)