Islamic State tested poisonous chemicals on prisoners in a bid to produce easily-obtainable chemical weapons for local use and potential terrorist attacks in the West, records recovered from Mosul by Iraqi soldiers and obtained by The Times show.
Arabic-language notes detailing experiments with thallium sulfate and “a nicotine-based compound” were reportedly discovered hidden inside the University of Mosul by an Iraqi special forces unit during the current operation to recapture the city, which has been under the control of the radical Islamist group since 2014.
The UK newspaper reports that British and US forces verified the papers as those belonging to Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL).
In one experiment, a man weighing 100kg was gradually poisoned with thallium sulfate, which was dissolved in his food and water. Over a period of 10 days the victim suffered nausea, fever and finally swelling of his internal organs, before an agonizing death.
A colorless and tasteless substance, less than a teaspoonful of which is required to kill, thallium sulfate is a well-known toxin, featured in an Agatha Christie murder mystery.
But what the Islamic State scientists described as an “ideal lethal poison” also occurs frequently in nature, and is commercially available as a pesticide in countries such as the US.
The other compound in the notes, found in nicotine, could be extracted from cigarettes and vaping liquids, but was equally deadly to its test subjects.