Employees of the Research Institute for Protective Technologies, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection (WIS) inspect a dummy sample which is contaminated with a substance similar to the chemical weapon Sarin..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel will not refrain from taking action against Islamic State if the terror organization achieves an operational capability with chemical weapons, a senior military official told Channel 10 Wednesday evening.
"If we see Islamic State approach an experimental or operational capability with chemical weapons, Israel will not stand by and watch," the senior official said, adding "we will take appropriate action in order to thwart such activities."
The official's comments came a day after Channel 10 revealed that the defense establishment in Israel believes that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, an Islamist organization that identifies with ISIS in the southern Golan in Syria, has acquired some of Syrian President Basher Assad's chemical weapons stockpile.
The senior official also noted that if any terrorist organization in proximity to the Jewish state were to acquire a non-conventional weapon, whether it be Hezbollah, ISIS or Hamas, it would be perceived as crossing a "red line."
The official did not elaborate on how Israel would respond in such a scenario.
The Yarmouk Martryrs Brigade is currently situated in the abandoned UN outposts in the southern Golan Heights and is presently occupied with its struggle against Syrian opposition forces. As of now, defense authorities assert that it does not appear that the militants are planning to launch a chemical attack on Israel. However, security experts have not eliminated the option that they could change their tactic.
The threat of unconventional weapons, such as mustard or chlorine gas, is particularly fear-inducing as it could be disseminated to affect a large portion of the civilian population. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs, which can lead to internal burning and drowning through a reactionary release of fluid in the lungs. Similarly, mustard gas can be proliferated through the air and cause, among other complications, respiratory infections and ultimately death.
There have been multiple reports of ISIS using chemical weapons in battle.
Last August, the Wall Street Journal
reported that ISIS used chemical weapons for the first time during an insurgency in Iraq.
Assad has likewise come under fire repeatedly for his use of chemical weapons. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said: "the Syrians used military grade chemical weapons and as of late have been using materials, chlorine, against civilians, including in these very days, after the supposed ceasefire, dropping barrels of chlorine on civilians."
Furthermore, a fact-finding mission of the global chemical weapons watchdog (OPCW) concluded in 2014 that the use of chlorine gas has been "systematic" in the Syrian civil war, even after the country surrendered its stockpile of toxic weapons.Reuters contributed to this report.