Conflict & Justice

Iraq discovers al Qaeda chemical weapons plot


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki listen during the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on August 30, 2012.



Iraqi officials say they that have uncovered an al Qaeda plot to release chemical weapons on people.

Iraq investigators were originally trying to determine whether any nerve gas had been used by either side in the Syrian civil war, Reuters reported.

The defense ministry found that in fact five al Qaeda militants were attempting to use chemical weapons, as well as smuggle the chemicals into Europe and North America, a defense ministry spokesman told reporters.

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Speaking on Iraqi television, the spokesman said that five men have been arrested for operating three workshops that manufactured chemical weapons such as sarin and mustard gas. Toy airplanes were also found at the factories.

All confessed to the plot and said that they had been receiving orders from another al Qaeda offshoot. 

The news comes as defense officials from many countries are concerned about the possibility of chemical weapons in Syria. Rebel fighters and government forces have each accused each other of using nerve gas during the two-years-old and still running civil war. Another concern to Iraqi officials is that al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters opposed to Assad, as well as pro-Assad troops, have been camping in Iraq, Al Jazeera reported