Isis chemical weapons specialist 'who served Saddam Hussein' killed in Iraq air strike, claims US

US Central Command says Abu Malik was killed on 24 January

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The Independent Online

US authorities have claimed a chemical weapons expert working with Isis has been killed in a coalition air strike.

Abu Malik’s training provided Isis, also known as the Islamic State, with the “expertise to pursue a chemical weapons capability,” a statement said yesterday.

Malik, who reportedly served under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s Muthana chemical weapons plant before joining al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in 2005, was killed near Mosul during an air raid on 24 January.

The statement continued: "His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL's ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people".

There has been no evidence that the group had accumulated significant chemical weapons.

In 2014 Iraqi police officers suffered from dizziness and vomiting – believed to be signs of exposure to chlorine gas – after a clash with jihadist fighters north of Baghdad.

Although not nearly as dangerous as nerve gas, chlorine is classed as a “choking agent” and if inhaled in large quantities can burn the lungs.

Malik, also Salih Jasim Mohammed Falah al-Sabawi, had been involved in chemical weapons preparation in 2005 for attacks in Mosul in conjunction with AQI. He was also described in the statement as a “mid-level” operator.

Isis holds large swathes of the war-torn Syrian countryside as well as part of Iraq. Military forces – with the assistance of the coalition – hope to take Mosul back from the extremists this spring.

Meanwhile, although the Syrian government has been destroying its chemical weapons, it remains unclear how many of the alleged stockpiles are accounted for.

The US-led coalition has carried out more than 2,000 air raids on Isis positions across the two countries since 8 August.