Iraqi girl, 3, dies after being wounded in chemical attack carried out by ISIS

Samir Wais (right) carrying the coffin of his three-year-old daughter, Fatima, who was killed after a chemical attack by ISIS in Taza, on March 11.
Samir Wais (right) carrying the coffin of his three-year-old daughter, Fatima, who was killed after a chemical attack by ISIS in Taza, on March 11. PHOTO: AFP

KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) - A three-year-old Iraqi girl wounded in a chemical attack by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) died in hospital on Friday (March 11), medical sources and officials said.

"She died of respiratory complications and kidney failure... caused by the mustard agent used by Daesh (ISIS) in Taza," said Mr Masrour Aswad, of the Iraqi Commission for Human Rights.

Fatima Samir was among the dozens of people hospitalised after a chemical attack carried out Wednesday on Taza, a town just south of the city of Kirkuk.

Mr Burhan Abdallah, the head of Kirkuk health directorate, said four people in serious condition were transferred to Baghdad.

Mr Aswad said the rockets fired on Taza from the nearby ISIS-held town of Bashir contained mustard agent. Other security officials said chlorine may have been used.

Intelligence officials have collected samples that are still being analysed.

ISIS has used both chemical agents in the past, a tactic which has caused few casualties and whose impact so far has been more psychological than military.

Mr Abu Ridha al-Najjar, a leader in the Turkmen branch of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary umbrella group that includes Iraq's mostly Shi'ite militias, said the attack had sown fear.

"International NGOs should come to the region to see the effects of such shelling and its consequences on the civilian population, including after the attack," he said.

The Pentagon announced on Thursday that the US-led coalition against ISIS had carried out air strikes on the extremist group's chemical weapons sites.

It said the targets were identified following the capture in Iraq last month of a man presented as the group's top chemical expert.

The coalition's spokesman, Colonel Steve Warren, said Friday that the use of chemical weapons by ISIS was a concern but he also downplayed its importance.

"It's not a high threat... we're not losing too much sleep over it," he told reporters in a video call.