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Energy

U.S. destroys ISIS production plant

by Glenn Hess, special to C&EN
September 19, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 37

A dozen U.S. warplanes have destroyed a suspected chemical weapons production facility in the ISIS-held stronghold of Mosul, Iraq, the Pentagon said last week. The complex had been a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. It was taken over by ISIS, likely to produce “chlorine or mustard gas—we don’t know for sure at this point,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the commander of U.S. Air Forces for U.S. Central Command. “This represents just another example of Daesh’s blatant disregard for international law and norms,” he remarked at a briefing, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. The Pentagon provided video of the strike, showing a series of large buildings disintegrating under multiple explosions. Last month, the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons jointly reported that both the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS have used chemical weapons in the five-year-long conflict in Syria. Their year-long inquiry concluded in August that Syria’s air force had used chlorine gas at least twice since 2014. It also blamed ISIS for a mustard gas attack in Aleppo last year.

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