Australian soldiers caught up in chemical attack in Iraq

A displaced Iraqi man who fled his home waits outside in Mosul, Iraq.
MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS

A displaced Iraqi man who fled his home waits outside in Mosul, Iraq.

Australian advisers have been caught up in a chemical weapons attack in the besieged Iraqi city of Mosul.

CBS reported overnight an Iraqi unit, which had Australian and United States advisers attached to it, was hit with mustard gas on Sunday, leaving 25 Iraqi soldiers requiring treatment.

None of the Australians or Americans were injured in the attack, although Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told the Associated Press that six Iraqi soldiers required treatment for breathing problems.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed on Wednesday morning no Australians had been injured in the incident, and praised their quick response to the attack.

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"Australian forces did provide assistance following the attack," he said.

The ABC has reported that the Pentagon is aware of the incident, which it described as being a "low grade" chemical attack.

It's understood Islamic State was behind the attack, and CBS has reported the chemical has been identified as mustard gas.

Mustard gas was used to deadly effect in World War I and 2.

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According to CBS, two sources said masks and other equipment were distributed to forces in the wake of the attacks. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

Further comment has been sought from the Defence Department and the office of Defence Minister Marise Payne.

 - Brisbane Times

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