ISIS has rapidly become the number one enemy of every major world power following last week’s tragic massacre in Paris, which left 129 people dead and hundreds more wounded. Now, the reviled terrorist organization has been identified by top officials as seeking to develop chemical weaponry by drafting scientists from throughout ISIS’ zone of control in the Middle East.
According to U.S. officials, ISIS does not yet have the capacity to produce the kind of chemical weaponry that would allow them to carry out a devastating attack on a large scale. However, ISIS has already shown a propensity towards using mustard gas in the Middle East and security professionals across the globe worry that they will soon develop more catastrophic methods of attack.
“Terrorism hit France not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria … but for what it is,” said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls during a recent address. “We know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons,” he added. Security measures remain heightened throughout France as law enforcement officers attempt to hunt down any and all ISIS operatives involved in the massacre.
ISIS controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria without much resistance, which gives them plenty of room to grow. “They now have complete freedom to select locations for their labs and production sites and have a wide range of experts, both civilians and military, to aid them,” a senior Iraqi intelligence official told The Associated Press.
ISIS has reportedly set up a branch specifically tasked with pursuing chemical weapons, according to a senior Iraqi military intelligence officer and two officials from another Iraqi intelligence agency. However details about the branch and its pursuits were not revealed.
Iraq’s military has stepped up its efforts to protect its soldiers against chemical weaponry, distributing gas masks and accepting protective suits from Russia, which has stated its commitment to eradicating the terrorist group. Still, American officials remain confident that ISIS is more likely to hurt itself with the faulty manufacturing of chemical weapons than any innocent targets.