WMD back in Iraq? Pentagon says U.S. planes destroyed ISIL’s chemical weapons facility

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The Pentagon said U.S. warplanes eliminated a “significant chemical threat” to Iraqi civilians by bombing a complex of buildings near Mosul that Islamic State militants had converted from pharmaceutical manufacturing to chemical weapons production.

U.S.strikeAir Force Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, head of the U.S. Air Force Central Command in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters on September 13 that the target was an IS headquarters facility also used to produce lethal chemicals, possibly including chlorine and mustard gas.

A United Nations investigation recently confirmed that IS has used mustard gas in Syria.

Harrigian described the air strikes on September 12 as a large, well-planned operation that destroyed more than 50 targets at the site with a variety of U.S. warplanes, including Air Force B-52 bombers and Marine Corps F-18D attack planes. A total of 12 U.S. planes were used.

Harrigian said the mission was part of a broader effort to cut off the Islamic State’s main sources of revenue, kill their leaders, and create “organizational dysfunction” in ways that will eliminate the group as a military threat in Iraq and Syria.