Al Qaeda cell found producing poison gas in Iraq

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Al Qaeda cell found producing poison gas in Iraq

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Five Al Qaeda members caught making poison gas for attacks in Iraq as well as Europe and North America has been arrested, according to Iraq’s Defence Ministry.

The cell had allegedly set up two facilities in Baghdad to make sarin and mustard gas. They had been schooled in how to produce it by another Al Qaeda group, according to government spokesman Mohammed al-Askari.

Iraq’s Defence Ministry said that those detained were about to launch attacks domestically. They also had a network in place to send the toxins to neighbouring countries and then on to Europe and North America. The arrest of the cell members was a result of co-operation between Iraqi and foreign intelligence services, al-Askari added.

UN officials said last month that sarin nerve gas might have been used in the fight to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in neighbouring Syria.

In May Iraq suffered its worst death toll from bombings since 2008 with more than 600 people killed, according to government officials. The UN said more than 1,000 had died during the month. Violence has erupted afresh 18 months after the last US troops left the country.