Iraqi girl dies after ISIS chemical attack

Three-year-old Iraqi girl dies after being wounded in an ISIS chemical attack near Kirkuk.

Ben Ariel, Canada,

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A three-year-old Iraqi girl wounded in a chemical attack by the Islamic State (ISIS) group died in hospital Friday, medical sources and officials said, according to AFP.

"She died of respiratory complications and kidney failure... caused by the mustard agent used by Daesh (ISIS) in Taza," said Masrour Aswad, of the Iraqi Commission for Human Rights, using the Arabic name for ISIS.

Fatima Samir was among the dozens of people hospitalized after a chemical attack carried out Wednesday on Taza, a town just south of the city of Kirkuk.

Burhan Abdallah, the head of Kirkuk health directorate, said four people in serious condition were transferred to Baghdad.

Aswad said the rockets fired on Taza from the nearby ISIS-held town of Bashir contained mustard agent. Other security officials said chlorine may have been used.

Intelligence officials have collected samples that are still being analyzed, reported AFP.

ISIS has used both chemical agents in the past, a tactic which has caused few casualties and whose impact so far has been more psychological than military.

The CIA confirmed last month that ISIS fighters have used chemical weapons and have the capability to make small quantities of chlorine and mustard gas.

In September, American intelligence officials said they “knew” ISIS was using chemical attacks in both countries, adding the jihadists used such weaponry “on at least four separate occasions on both sides of the border.”

The question has been asked how ISIS managed to get its hands on chemical weapons in the first place. One possible answer is that in June 2014, ISIS seized a weapons complex thought to have held hundreds of tons of lethal sarin and mustard gasses: the al-Muthanna complex, located 60 miles north of Baghdad, which was a central base of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program. 

There has also been some speculation that ISIS got its hands on chemical stockpiles that belonged to former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Abu Ridha al-Najjar, a leader in the Turkmen branch of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary umbrella group that includes Iraq's mostly Shiite militias, said on Friday the attack had sown fear.

"International NGOs should come to the region to see the effects of such shelling and its consequences on the civilian population, including after the attack," he said.

The attack came a day after the Pentagon announced that the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS had carried out air strikes on the jihadist group's chemical weapons sites.

It said the targets were identified following the capture in Iraq last month of a man presented as the group's top chemical expert.

The coalition's spokesman, Colonel Steve Warren, said Friday that the use of chemical weapons by ISIS was a concern but he also downplayed its importance.

"It's not a high threat... we're not losing too much sleep over it," he told reporters in a video call.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)