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Iraqi militants seize former chemical weapons factory

Published on Jun 20, 2014 11:03 AM
 
An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 11 by jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly showing ISIL militants. ISIL militants are said to have taken control of one of Saddam Hussein's former chemical weapons factories, used to produce mustard gas and other nerve agents in the 1980s. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Sunni radicals in Iraq, who have overrun a swathe of territory north of Baghdad in a lightning offensive, have taken control of one of Saddam Hussein's former chemical weapons factories, a US official said.

"We are aware the that the ISIL has occupied the Al Muthanna complex," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement on Thursday.

But she said she did not think the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants would be able to produce usable chemical weapons there, because any materials remaining are old and unwieldy.

The complex, located just 72km north-west of Baghdad, began producing mustard gas and other nerve agents, including Sarin, in the early 1980s soon after Hussein took power, according to a CIA factsheet.

 
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