Twelve people, including women and children, are being treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons agents in Mosul, where Islamic State is fighting off an offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, the United Nations said on Saturday.
The U.N.’s World Health Organization has activated with partners and local health authorities “an emergency response plan to safely treat men, women and children who may be exposed to the highly toxic chemical,” the agency said in a statement. It said all 12 patients had been received since March 1 for treatment which they are undergoing in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, east of Mosul. Four of them are showing “severe signs associated with exposure to a blister agent”.
The patients were exposed to the chemical agents in the eastern side of Mosul. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday that five children and two women were receiving treatment for exposure to chemical agents. The ICRC statement did not say which side used the chemical agents that caused blisters, redness in the eyes, irritation, vomiting and coughing.—Reuters