The Iraqi military has recaptured a huge former chemical weapons facility from the ISIL terror group northwest of the capital Baghdad.
Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad al-Doraky made the announcement on Monday at the annual conference of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
“The Iraqi army, during the past period, has recovered the Muthanna site and the roads leading to it,” he told delegates.
The ISIL militants, who took control of the area during an offensive in June, could not penetrate the facility’s fortified bunkers, he added, saying that government forces flushed out the terrorists from the compound. Two sealed bunkers in the facility hold stockpiles of old chemicals, rockets, and equipment. Al-Doraky said a facility established to eliminate the chemicals has been plundered and the area has been mined.
“Military engineers are now working on removing mines and explosive devices from around the site and the region,” he pointed out.
In a letter distributed at the UN on July 8, Iraq’s ambassador to the world body, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, said remnants of 2,500 chemical rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin are kept along with other chemical warfare agents in the facility.
He singled out the capture of bunkers 13 and 41 in the compound, 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of the capital. Based on a report by UN inspectors, bunker 13 contained 2,500 122-mm sarin-filled chemical rockets along with about 180 tons of sodium cyanide, which is “a very toxic chemical and a precursor for the warfare agent tabun.”
Bunker 41 also held 2,000 empty 155-mm artillery shells contaminated with the chemical warfare agent mustard, 605 one-ton mustard containers with residues, and heavily contaminated construction material. The ISIL terrorists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq, where they have committed heinous crimes.