There is a growing belief within the US government that the Islamic State militant group is making and using crude chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria, a US official has said.  The US has identified at least four occasions on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border where IS has used mustard agents, the official said.

The official said the chemical was being used in powder form. A team of reporters on the Turkey-Syria border has seen evidence backing these claims. The US believes the group has a cell dedicated to building these weapons. “They’re using mustard,” the individual said of IS. “We know they are.” The mustard agent was probably being used in powder form and packed into traditional explosives like mortar rounds, the official said.

“We’ve seen them use it on at least four separate occasions on both sides of the border – both Iraq and Syria.”

When these weapons explode the mustard-laced dust blisters those who are exposed to it. The official said the intelligence community believes there are three possible explanations for how IS acquired the deadly chemical agent. The most plausible in the eyes of intelligence community, according to the official, is that they are manufacturing it.  (BBC)

Analysts claim IS intel ‘cooked’
Senior officials at US Central Command altered intelligence reports on the war against ISIS in order to back the government claims the fighting was going well, a complaint by 52 defense analysts to the Pentagon’s inspector general allegedly says.

Two senior analysts at CENTCOM filed a formal complaint in July, alleging their reports were altered in order to portray Islamist terror groups in Syria and Iraq as far weaker than they actually were. Fifty more analysts have endorsed the complaint, the Daily Beast reported Thursday, citing eleven government officials familiar with the investigation. (Russia)