Iraq vows retaliation for IS chemical attack

Iraq vows retaliation for IS chemical attack
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has promised to launch a fresh offensive against the Islamic State group after a chemical attack left a three-year-old girl dead.
2 min read
12 March, 2016
Four people were left seriously ill after the chemical attack [Getty]
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi vowed to retaliate against the Islamic State group after it launched a chemical attack on a town near Kirkuk.

The suspected mustard gas attack that left a three-year-old girl dead "will not go unpunished", he said.

Large numbers of rockets were fired by the militant group from a nearby village, leaving dozens hospitalised on Wednesday.

Abadi assured medical support would be provided after hundreds were affected by the attack.

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

A funeral held for the three-year-old victim, Fatima Samir, was attended by hundreds on Friday.

"She died of respiratory complications and kidney failure caused by the mustard agent used by [IS] in Taza," said Masrour Aswad, of the Iraqi Commission for Human Rights.

Mourners called upon the government to protect citizens from further attacks.

The Iraqi air force responded to the demands overnight when an airstrike was pounded an IS-held village, Bashir.

Abadi vowed to recapture the village, according to pro-government militia commander Abu Ridha al-Najjar.

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

Abu Ridha al-Najjar, a leader in the Turkmen branch of the Popular Mobilisation Forces which is made up mostly of Shia militias, said the attack had sown fear among civilians in northern Iraq.

"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 on Thursday announced that the US-led coalition against IS had carried out airstrikes against the 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.