American military sources are accusing the Islamic State of setting fire to a sulphur plant near Mosul on Thursday, affecting troops and civilians alike. Reports from Iraq indicate as many as one thousand people have been treated in local hospitals after complaining of difficulty breathing and eye irritation, but there have been no deaths from the chemical. The fumes are centered on the city of Al-Mishraq, south of Mosul. The US military has taken samples from the area for analysis and will determine what steps, if any, are necessary as a result of the pollution. The fire was said to have been brought under control by Saturday, but smoke remained visible and fumes remained in the air. Iraqi soldiers were reportedly wearing gas masks and American servicemen and women stationed at a nearby air base are wearing protective masks. As soon as word of the assault on Mosul became known, fear became widespread that ISIS would resort to using chemicals against the local population and troops fighting to retake it for the Iraqi government.
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