Speaking on last Tuesday’s attempted chemical weapons attack by ISIS against US troops on Qayara Air Base, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis confirmed that ISIS is “dead set” on using chemical weapons in the fight, and are likely to continuing doing so in the offensive against Mosul, their largest city.
Last week’s incident saw a single shell fired onto Qayara base, landed in an empty part of the base, and containing a mustard agent. Tests on the contents of the shell were inconclusive, but positive at least some of the times, which may reflect ISIS’ rather tenuous grasp on the technology.
Davis said ISIS is believed to have launched “at least a couple dozen” such attacks so far using crude, makeshift chemical munitions. He described ISIS’ agents as “not generally in a lethal concentration,” and weaker than the mustard agents used during World War 1.
According to Davis, the US has sent some 50,000 has masks to Iraq, with the vast majority going to Iraqi military forces. A large force is expected to be involved in the invasion of Mosul, including a lot of militias and auxiliaries who may not have such equipment.