FILE - This image made from an AP video posted on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 shows a student wearing a gas mask and protective suit during a session on reacting to a chemical weapons attack, in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo via AP video, File)
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ISIS is aggressively pursuing development of chemical weapons, setting up a branch dedicated to research and experiments with the help of scientists from Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the region, according to Iraqi and U.S. intelligence officials.U.S. intelligence officials don't believe ISIS has the capability to develop sophisticated weapons like nerve gas that are most suited for an attack on a civilian target.But Iraqi officials expressed concern that the large safe haven the extremists control since overrunning parts of Iraq and Syria last year has left Iraqi authorities largely in the dark over the ISIS program.The official, like others from the Iraqi and U.S. intelligence agencies who have first-hand knowledge of the ISIS chemical weapons program, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive information.ISIS has set up a branch tasked with pursuing chemical weapons, according to a senior Iraqi military intelligence officer and two officials from another Iraqi intelligence agency.In a 2013 report on ISIS's weapons procurement efforts, a senior deputy of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wrote of "significant progress" toward producing chemical weapons, according to two senior officials who had access to the document after it was obtained by Iraqi intelligence.
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