US to investigate claims that Islamic State used chemical weapons

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United States Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US is to investigate reports that Islamic State militants attacked police officers in Iraq using chlorine gas.

“The use of any chemical weapons … is against international law and these recent allegations underscore the importance of the work we are currently engaged in,” Kerry said, although he added that he is “not in a position to confirm” the authenticity of the reports.

“But I can tell you that we take these allegations very, very seriously, in particular, the most recent allegations about the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon,” he said. “Chlorine by itself is not on the chemical weapons list, therefore it was not among those things removed under the agreement we reached with the Russians and the Syrian regime.”

“But when mixed in certain ways, and used in certain ways, it can become a chemical weapon that is prohibited under the chemical weapons agreement. And therefore, these allegations are extremely serious, and we are seeking additional information in order to be able to determine whether or not we can confirm it.”

Kerry added that even if the reports were verified, it would not change the US’ current strategy in its war on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“Obviously it can affect tactical decisions within that strategy, but our fundamental strategy remains absolutely clear,” he said.