12 US warplanes were involved in a massive bombing campaign on Monday which led to the destruction of a major pharmaceutical factory inside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Officials say the attack targeted 50 “points of interest” across the factory complex.
The Pentagon says the suspicion is that the factory was taken over by ISIS and converted “into a chemical weapons production facility” that was also being used as an ISIS base inside Mosul, the largest city in ISIS controlled territory.
Despite the huge scale of the attack, Centcom commander Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harriglan conceded that there wasn’t a lot known about the factory, saying it might’ve been producing “chlorine or mustard gas – we don’t know for sure at this point.”
ISIS has been increasingly eager to use chemical weapons, primarily mustard gas, in both Iraq and Syria. The weapons are relatively primitive weaponized chemicals, and while they’ve caused a lot of injuries and sewed a lot of fear among forces fighting ISIS, they’ve killed relatively few people.
Centcom was quick to note that the massive airstrikes in Mosul weren’t even the biggest US air campaign in Mosul, and that a few weeks ago an even larger campaign involved 17 warplanes destroyed a factory believed to be involved in the production of car bombs.
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