Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that the Islamic State militants have used chlorine as a weapon and warned that the group is recruiting highly trained technicians in a serious bid to develop chemical weapons, in Perth in a speech to an international forum of nations that works to fight the spread of such weapons.
“Apart from some crude and small scale endeavours, the conventional wisdom has been that the terrorist intention to acquire and weaponise chemical agents has been largely aspirational,” said Bishop, citing the ISIS as “one of the gravest security threats we face today.”
“The use of chlorine by Daesh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State), and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the West, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development,” she further added.
Referring to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, Bishop reportedly said, “The fact that atrocities such as this continue to occur shows that we must remain vigilant to the threat of chemical and biological weapons.”
Iraq’s Kurdistan government in March claimed that it had evidence that the ISIS used chlorine gas against its soldiers in January, according to media reports.
Chlorine, a chocking agent, has been banned under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits all use of toxic agents on the battlefield.