WASHINGTON, October 24 (RIA Novosti) – The United States takes the reports about chlorine attacks against Iraqi police officers by the Islamic State (IS) extremists very seriously, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.
"I'm not in a position to confirm it, but we take these allegations very, very seriously. In particularly, the most recent allegations about the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon," Kerry said at a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.
Kerry explained that chlorine by itself is not on a chemical weapons list and therefore has not been removed from Syria by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission.
"When mixed in certain ways and used in certain ways it [chlorine] can become a chemical weapon that is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Agreement. We are seeking additional information in order to be able to determine whether or not we can confirm it," said Kerry.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the September 15 chlorine attack against 11 Iraqi police officers appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the IS.
In September, Iraqi media said that the IS militants fired the city of Dulu’iyya with shells that contained toxic substances, presumably chlorine.
The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.