Iraq has put its Tikrit offensive on pause, asking for more airstrikes as Kurdish officials claim two new chemical attacks by ISIL.
Dramatic footage has emerged showing the apparent after effects of a chlorine attack.
The images date back to December but officials said they hadn’t released them until now for fear of creating panic.
Along with lab results released on Saturday, the Kurdish authorities say it proves ISIL has used chemical weapons. General Aziz Wesi said of one of the attacks that he had to send his troops to hospital, the medics called for the rest of the troops after lab examinations showed high levels of chloride in their bodies. Though, he adds, it wasn’t a lethal dose.
In Tikrit, military officials said there was no fighting on Monday and called for more airstrikes to help them regain control of Saddam Hussein’s home city from ISIL militants. The offensive is being seen as a litmus test on the road to retaking the northern city of Mosul.
In Kirkuk gains have been made by Kurdish fighters in Wahda, Saada and Khalid villages. Aided by coalition airstrikes they are driving ISIL away from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.