The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has launched two chemical attacks near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killing a 3-year-old girl, wounding some 600 people and causing hundreds more to flee, Iraqi officials said Saturday.
“What the Daesh terrorist gangs did in the city of Taza will not go unpunished,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, using an alternative name for ISIS during a meeting with village elders in the small town of Taza on Saturday. “The perpetrators will pay dearly.”
Security and hospital officials say the latest attack took place early Saturday in Taza, which was also struck by a barrage of rockets carrying chemicals three days earlier.
Sameer Wais, whose daughter Fatima was killed in the attack, is a member of a Shiite militia fighting ISIS in Kirkuk province. He said he was on duty at the frontline when the attack occurred early in the morning, quickly ran home and said he could still smell the chemicals in the rocket.
“We took her to the clinic and they said that she needed to go to a hospital in Kirkuk. And that’s what we did, we brought her here to the hospital in Kirkuk,” he said.
Wais said his daughter appeared to be doing better the next day so they took her home. “But by midnight she started to get worse. Her face puffed up and her eyes bulged. Then she turned black and pieces of her skin started to come off,” he said.
By the next morning, Fatima had died, Wais said.
The hundreds of wounded are suffering from infected burns, suffocation and dehydration, said Helmi Hamdi, a nurse at the Taza hospital. He said eight people were transferred to Baghdad for treatment.
“There is fear and panic among the women and children,” said Adel Hussein, a local official in Taza. “They’re calling for the central government to save them.” Hussein said a German and an American forensics team arrived in the area to test for the presence of chemical agents.
U.S. and Iraqi officials said U.S. special forces captured the head of the ISIS unit trying to develop chemical weapons in a raid last month in northern Iraq. (Courtesy CBS News)