ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The extremist group ISIS has used chemical weapons in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the spokesperson of the US-led global coalition against ISIS confirmed to Rudaw on Friday.
Colonel John Dorrian referred to the chemical attack unprompted as he was commenting on the progress of the Iraqi forces, helped by the coalition, in western Mosul where the operation seems to have slowed down as the advancing Iraqi forces make their way into the densely-populated and narrow streets of the Old City.
“The Iraqi Security Forces know that it is important to finish ISIS in the west side of Mosul, because they have created tremendous human suffering in the urban areas they have controlled. They have used human shields, they have used chemical weapons,” Dorrian told Rudaw TV.
Officers in Iraq's Federal Police said that ISIS shelled government forces with chemical weapons agents in the Urouba and Bab Jadid districts on April 15, according to Reuters, adding that the attack caused only minor wounds.
Brigadier General Yahya Rasool was reported by The Associated Press the same day as saying that six soldiers had suffered breathing problems from the attack, and that an investigation would be launched.
In early March, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations Mohamed Ali Alhakim told reporters that there was “no evidence” that ISIS had used chemical weapons in Mosul.
Alhakim's comments came after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on March 3 that at least 12 people had been admitted to the hospital with symptoms indicating they were exposed to toxins from chemical weapons.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also denied last month's reports about the chemical attack in the northern city of Mosul. He called the reports “wrong."
“According to our information and our follow up, if ISIS were capable of using chemical weapons, they would have used it,” Abadi said in Sulaimani in March following the ICRC report. “But according to our information, they do not have that capability to use it. And what happened actually is a mixture of smoke and gas, and not a chemical weapon. It has a very limited impact.”