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MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. The use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq’s Mosul has already become of a systematic character, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday.
"We voice serious concerns as reports come from the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization on the cases when the Islamic State used toxic agents in the Iraqi city of Mosul," the diplomat said.
Twelve people have been taken to hospitals, mostly women and children, with the signs of exposure to chemical weapons agents.
Zakharova welcomed the plans of Iraq’s government to seek assistance of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in conducting an investigation into the use of this type of weapons of mass destruction in Mosul. "This is especially important taking into consideration that the chemical laboratory of Mosul’s university has been in the hands of the IS group for a long time."
"We view another series of crimes by the IS as proof that the use of chemical weapons, including against civilians, has already become of a systematic character," she said, adding that there is no doubt that militants of the IS and Jabhat al-Nusra groups possess not only chlorine but also mustard gas, a chemical warfare agent.
"For more than two years, we have been speaking at various international platforms, first of all the UN, about the growing danger of chemical terrorism and urgent need of adequate response of the international community," she said. "However, Western colleagues hush up the problem and ignore our calls.".