A team of Iraqi government investigators have found signs of the use of chemical gas in a small Turkman town in Kirkuk by Islamic State (ISIS) in recent days.
Following two weeks of shelling the town of Taza south of Kirkuk the Iraqi Interior and Defense ministries sent a team to the area to investigate.
Mustard gas is what the team is sure was used.
“We have become sure that the terrorists have used mustard gas against the people of this area,” Lieutenant Kadhim Salman told Rudaw. “But thankfully we have started treating the wounded and clean the area.”
Accounts of the number of victims vary. A local woman in Taza told Rudaw last week that 370 people were wounded. Other sources believe the number is over 600.
“The number of wounded has reached 600 with various wounds. Sadly the number keeps going up. One person has died and three others have been rushed to Baghdad. We ask international NGOs and KRG to come solve this problem in Bashir.”
Locals say that ISIS militants are launching their mortar shell attacks from the town of Bashir that the Iraqi army and Shiite militia have failed to recapture in two years.
American and German teams have also arrived in Taza to investigate the latest attacks and claims of the use of chemical gas by ISIS militants.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi recently pledged the liberation of Bashir, particularly after the recent attacks on the Shiite Turkman town of Taza.
The local people and some members of the Shiite militia appear to have lost faith in the government promises.
“Since Bashir was taken by ISIS the Iraqi government and Shiite militia have promised us many times. One time they say after Tikrit and another they say after Anbar and Mosul. This has made us not to trust their promises anymore,”