Pentagon Confirms ISIS Used Mustard Gas Against U.S. Troops in Iraq

Pentagon Confirms That ISIS Used Mustard Gas Against U.S. Troops

The Pentagon announced Thursday that ISIL did in fact use mustard gas, a chemical weapon, against troops of the United States. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We assess it to be a sulfur-mustard blister agent.” Dunford did not elaborate on the test results, but the gas was released via a missile that landed at a military base in northern Iraq where U.S. military advisers are helping Iraqi forces prepare for an upcoming offensive.

The Pentagon reported that on Tuesday, Sept. 20, the shell that hit the air force base had a “tar-like black oily substance” on the shell, which landed within the base hundreds of yards from U.S. forces. An initial test for the agent was positive for the mustard gas, but the military waited for further tests which positively identified the poisonous agent.

According to the Pentagon, no one was injured in the shelling and that two to four soldiers who were near the shell received full decontamination treatment. “Unless you are right next to [the shell], exposure is unlikely,” the official said. U.S. troops at the base are equipped with chemical weapons exposure suits.

Tuesday’s missile attack is believed to be the first chemical attack on U.S. forces in Iraq since they returned to the country in 2014. The Pentagon reports that there are almost 5,000 U.S. troops currently on the ground in Iraq and “hundreds” of those forces are located at that military base. The use of mustard gas was outlawed with the Geneva Protocol in 1925. The protocol banned the use of poisonous gas and biological weapons in war. Although the Geneva Protocol said not to use in warfare, countries, even the United States, stockpiled their supplies.

According to Live, mustard gas or sulfur gas is a “vesicant, or blister-agent,” causing redness and itching of the skin that results in yellow, pus-filled blisters. Because mustard gas strips away the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and respiratory tract, victims may also experience irritation of the eyes, temporary blindness, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath and sinus pain. The digestive tract is also affected, resulting in abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever and vomiting.” Many survive the use of mustard gas but the effects can be lifelong with blindness being one of the obstacles survivors face.

According to the BBC, there have been 20 documented cases of chemical weapons used against Kurdish fighters in Iraq –- with a quarter of those involving mustard gas.

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