Iraqi conflict

Iraqi forces treated for chemical exposure: US

Several Iraqi troops required medical treatment following a chemical weapons attack by the Islamic State group over the weekend, a US official said Wednesday.

A member of the Iraqi forces fires a rocket-propelled grenade towards Islamic State group fighters in the old city of Mosul on April 15, 2017
A member of the Iraqi forces fires a rocket-propelled grenade towards Islamic State group fighters in the old city of Mosul on April 15, 2017 (AFP)

Several Iraqi troops required medical treatment following a chemical weapons attack by the Islamic State group over the weekend, a US official said Wednesday.

Saturdays' attack saw IS launch some sort of low-level chemical agent at the Iraqis in western Mosul as they worked alongside US and Australian military advisors, Major General Joseph Martin said.

"The Iraqi security forces ... were in the vicinity of one of the strikes. They were taken back to the appropriate level of medical care to make sure that they were alright," said Martin, who is the commanding general for the US-led coalition's land component.

Martin said the agent was being tested, adding there was no confirmation that the Australians and Americans were exposed.

"Nobody's died ... and the good news is that nobody has been impacted significantly by this," the general said.

IS has periodically carried out attacks using chemical weapons, but both the toll and the impact on military operations has been minimal and the jihadists' bombs and bullets are far deadlier.

Martin said all forward-deployed troops have the "appropriate equipment" to deal with chemical threats, but he did not say if this was used in Saturday´s attack.

The chemical was delivered by "indirect fire," which means by a mortar or shell of some sort.

Iraqi forces are fighting to recapture west Mosul from IS after retaking the eastern side earlier this year, while soldiers and pro-government paramilitaries are also operating west of the city as part of the operation.

The jihadist group overran large areas north and west of Iraq in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost.