TAZA, IRAQ – The use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups may be rare, but the consequences are terrifying.
Coincidences are funny things, aren’t they?
Just the other day I was giving a talk to an Indian podcast called The Honest Critique which included a Q&A session. One of the questions was on bio-terrorism. I responded in all honesty that I am not a specialist in that area but felt it was one area of terrorism that is hard to master for several reasons:
- the materials are not easy to acquire;
- preparing them for use in an attack can easily backfire on the terrorists;
- the public reaction to such a method would be counterproductive to the terrorists‘ goals.
You can put chemical terrorism in the same bucket for all the same reasons. As a result, we have thankfully not seen a lot of attacks of this nature so far.
But that is not to say there have been none.
On this day in 2016
Islamic State (ISIS) carried out a mustard gas attack on the town of Taza in the northeastern part of Iraq. A three-year old girl died from breathing and kidney complications as a result and there were estimates as high as 600 others affected by the substance.
There is fear and panic among the women and children. They’re calling for the central government to save them.Local official
The extremist group is believed to have set up a special unit for chemical weapons research made up of Iraqi scientists who worked on weapons programs under Saddam Hussein, as well as foreign experts. There was some confusion as to whether the substance was mustard gas or chlorine.
Whatever it was the incident demonstrated how low ISIS stooped during its reign of terror. The day we finally see the end of these monsters, the better.
Read More Today in Terrorism
On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.
On May 30, 2009 two pamphlet-bombs exploded outside an Ecuadorian TV station and ministry: no victims or significant damage ensued.
On May 29, 2016 35 civilians were wounded in an ISIS attack using rockets containing chlorine gas in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.