ISIS aims to launch mass-casualty chemical attacks in the United Kingdom
Islamic State militants are keen to launch “mass-casualty attacks” on targets in the UK, as well as overseas, UK Security Minister Ben Wallace said, adding that the terrorists have “no moral objection to using chemical weapons.”
Some 800 Britons are thought to have travelled to Syria since the outbreak of the civil war, many to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), according to Reuters, citing official figures, which also show around 100 as being killed. A further 150 were prevented from travelling to Syria in 2015, and the figure for 2016 will be “very similar,” Wallace said.
The report said that, while no specific plot to unleash chemical weapons had been identified, security services had, nonetheless, been carrying out exercises to prepare for the possibility.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has previously confirmed reports that IS had been using chemical weapons against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq throughout 2015. It also confirmed that mustard gas had been deployed in neighboring Syria in 2015, saying “with the utmost confidence that at least two people were exposed to sulfur mustard [on August 21]” in the town of Marea, north of Aleppo. “It is very likely that the effects of sulfur mustard resulted in the death of a baby,” it added.
The sulfur mustard gas that was used in terrorist attacks in Syria and Iraq might have been manufactured by Islamic State on its own, Ahmet Uzumcu, head of OPCW, said in November.
The OPCW experts analyzed samples of mustard gas employed in the August 2015 attack and found that there’s grounds to believe “this substance may have been produced by ISIS itself,” Uzumcu told AFP. The officials said the terrorist-made substance was of “poor quality, but still harmful,” noting that it was an “extremely worrying” development.