Iraqis demand response to Daesh chemical attack

Published March 11th, 2016 - 07:00 GMT
Iraqi girls hold makeshift white flags as they flee with their families a military operation by Iraqi security personnel aimed at retaking areas from Daesh, in the desert west of the city of Samarra on March 3, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
Iraqi girls hold makeshift white flags as they flee with their families a military operation by Iraqi security personnel aimed at retaking areas from Daesh, in the desert west of the city of Samarra on March 3, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

Hundreds of Iraqi people have held a demonstration against the recent chemical attack by Daesh near the northern oil city of Kirkuk, demanding Baghdad’s airstrikes against militant positions in response.

The protesters blocked Iraq’s main highway between the cities of Baghdad and Kirkuk on Thursday to denounce the chemical assault.

On Tuesday, Daesh militants fired mortar shells and Katyusha rockets filled with “poisonous substances” into the village of Taza, located some 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Kirkuk. The raid was carried out from the nearby militant-held Bashir area.

A banner carried by one of the demonstrators read that 30,000 people in Taza are under daily shelling.

“We demand Iraqi air force strikes on Bashir,” chanted some of those attending Thursday’s event.

Taza mayor Hussein Abbas said the town was struck by some 45 rockets over a period of three hours.

According to several local officials, chlorine was used in the Daesh raid. However, samples are still being analyzed to determine the exact substance used in the Daesh attack.

“The gas was a light silver color and sometimes left some liquid where it landed,” a senior security official said on condition of anonymity.

Burhan Abdallah, who heads the Kirkuk health directorate, also said 200 people had been treated since the raid.

“Only 17 are still in care. One of them is a child in serious condition. They suffer from respiratory problems, burns and rashes,” Abdallah added.

Daesh has reportedly been trying to produce chemical weapons and is believed to have formed a special unit for chemical weapons research.

Daesh launched an offensive in Iraq in June 2014 and took control of swathes of the Iraqi territory.

Iraqi army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.


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