Washington is seeking more information on reports that militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) used chlorine gas against Iraqi police officers last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Oct. 24.
The top U.S. diplomat told reporters he could not confirm the reports, but said the United States took all such allegations “very seriously.”
The Washington Post reported Oct. 24 that 11 Iraqi police offices had been rushed to a hospital some 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Baghdad last month suffering from dizziness, vomiting and shortage of breath.
They were diagnosed as having been the victims of a poisoned gas attack allegedly unleashed by ISIL militants.
Iraqi forces said two other crude chlorine gas attacks have occurred since the summer, but the Post said the details were unclear. “No, I am not in a position to confirm [the report],” Kerry told reporters after meeting with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se.
“We are seeking additional information in order to be able to determine whether or not we can confirm it,” he added. “The use of any chemical weapons is an abhorrent act, it’s against international law, and these recent allegations underscore the importance of the work that we are currently engaged in.”