Coalition planes destroy ISIS chemical factory

Pentagon says US-led warplanes destroyed ISIS factory used to produce chemical weapons, confirming longstanding suspicions.


US F-35 Lightning II. Illustrative.
US F-35 Lightning II. Illustrative.
US Air Force

US-led coalition warplanes destroyed a factory in Iraq used by the Islamic State group to make chemical weapons, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The production center - a converted pharmaceutical plant complex - likely made chlorine or mustard gas, said Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, who heads US Air Forces Central Command.

"This represents just another example of Daesh's blatant disregard for international law and norms," he told Pentagon reporters in a video call, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The strike occurred Monday near Mosul and was conducted by fighter jets, ground-attack aircraft, and even a B-52 heavy bomber, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon provided video of the strike, showing a series of large, flat-roofed buildings disintegrating under multiple explosions.

Observers have repeatedly alleged ISIS has used chemical weapons, and the Pentagon has confirmed the jihadists have deployed chlorine and sulfur mustard devices.

Iraqi security forces, backed by coalition air power, are in the final weeks of "shaping" operations ahead of an assault to recapture Mosul, which ISIS seized in 2014 and which remains the jihadists' last main stronghold in Iraq.