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Iraqi ‘Chemical’ Scientist Admits to Assisting ISIS

Iraqi ‘Chemical’ Scientist Admits to Assisting ISIS

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019 - 06:45
Destroyed buildings from clashes are seen in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Washington - Mohammad Ali Salih
Iraqi scientist Suleiman al-Afari has admitted to manufacturing sulfur mustard under the rule of ISIS in the city of Mosul.

The militants seized Mosul in 2014. Afari, then a 49-year-old geologist with Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals, hoped his new bosses would simply let him keep his job, said The Washington Post.

But ISIS offered him to make chemical weapons.

“Afari knew little about the subject, but he accepted the assignment. And so began his 15-month stint supervising the manufacture of lethal toxins for the world’s deadliest terrorist group,” said the report.

“Do I regret it? I don’t know if I’d use that word,” said Afari, who was captured by US and Kurdish fighters in 2016 and is now a prisoner in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region.

“They had become the government and we now worked for them,” he said. “We wanted to work so we could get paid,” he told the newspaper.

Afari was in charge of acquisitions in the ministry’s metallurgical division, a unit that held special appeal for the terrorists.

In the interview with The Washington Post, he described how ISIS officials visited his office a few weeks into the occupation and presented him with a new assignment and a procurement list of specialized metal equipment that he was to find and assemble. Included on the list were stainless-steel tanks, pipes, valves and tubes, all designed to withstand corrosive chemicals and high temperatures.

Afari is among the few known participants in the terrorist organization’s chemical weapons program to be captured alive, said the newspaper.

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