The United Kingdom’s national security minister warned the Islamic State wants to use chemical weapons against the country, and it is quite possible the infamous terrorist group has the ability to do it.
ISIS wants to engage in “mass casualty attacks,” explained Ben Wallace in a Sunday Times interview. He added that the group’s goal is to “terrorize” and kill as many people as possible, and it’s quite possible the group will use chemical weapons to do so.
“They have no moral objection to using chemical weapons against populations and if they could, they would in this country,” said Wallace. “The casualty figures which could be involved would be everybody’s worst fear.”
A terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction is often considered the worst-case scenario for security officials. Such attacks are generally rare, but ISIS is already suspected of manufacturing and using chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS prioritized the stockpiling of chemical weapons during its rise in 2014 and 2015, creating a senior position within its ranks to oversee the process. The Pentagon confirmed in September that the terrorist group targeted U.S. troops in Iraq with gas weapons.
U.S. and Operation Inherent Resolve forces are well aware of the threat posed by an ISIS chemical attack. U.S. forces bombed two ISIS chemical weapons factories in March in order to prevent its spread across the so-called caliphate. They used intelligence gathered from Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, the captured former head of ISIS’s chemical weapons program, in order to discover the locations of the factories.
Despite Afari’s capture, the ISIS chemical weapons threat is still very real. While the terrorist group has yet to engage in a chemical attack in the West, Wallace noted that British intelligence confirmed ISIS had an “aspiration” to use chemical weapons against European targets.
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