18:11 GMT12 August 2020
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    Daesh is reported to have used thallium sulfate and a nicotine-based compound to poison its prisoners in a bid to obtain readily available toxic chemicals as part of a larger weapons program, an expert on chemical and biological weapons at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of Bar Ilan University, Dr. Dany Shoham, told Radio Sputnik.

    "It was indeed part of a larger program. For a long period of time [Daesh] was trying to [create] mustard gas. They have also tried to produce a nerve agent, apparently unsuccessfully for the time being. And of course, [Daesh] has produced and used chlorine on many occasions as a chemical warfare agent. So this is indeed part of a larger chemical weapons program," he said.

    Media reports indicate that Iraqi special forces obtained documents detailing Daesh's experiments with thallium and nicotine during the large-scale operation aimed at liberating Mosul. The second largest city in Iraq spent nearly three years under the group's control. The papers believed to be authentic were recovered from the University of Mosul.

    "Those two families of compounds (nicotine, thallium and their derivatives) are highly poisonous. They are actually extremely toxic and could cause death in very minute amounts. The difference is that thallium would cause death very slowly. It's a gradual process, but unfortunately a one-way ticket. Since nicotine is an alkaloid, it acts faster. They are both deadly substances," the expert said. "The simplest way to bring about intoxication by those substances would be via contaminating food, drinks or drinking water."

    Dr. Shoham added that terrorists would not require "a high level of sophistication" to use these substances in a potential attack.

    The expert further said that Daesh has most likely shared the information on its tests with its operatives in the Middle East and beyond.

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    Tags:
    poison, thallium, nicotine, toxic chemicals, chemical weapons, Daesh
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