The Pentagon would not confirm Wednesday whether U.S. forces were exposed to a chemical agent in an attack by the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq, over the weekend.
The chemical attack — which targeted an Iraqi military unit in West Mosul that had U.S. and Australian advisers — affected Iraqi security forces who were in the vicinity of the strikes.
“I’m not going to get into the exact number of Iraqi security forces that were involved, but what I will tell you is that they were all treated and they were all taken to the appropriate level of care to make sure that they were all right,” said Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, commander of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component.
The Pentagon, however, has “not confirmed exposure at this time,” for the U.S. forces present.
“Nobody’s been impacted significantly by this,” said Martin, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from Iraq.CBS News reported Tuesday that 25 Iraqis needed treatment after an Iraqi unit with U.S. and Australian advisers was hit by an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) chemical agent.
The Pentagon is still testing the chemical used, but Martin noted that “the chemicals that [ISIS has] used in the past are all low-grade chemicals because of their lack of production capability.”
Martin declined to say whether U.S. advisers were with Iraqi forces at the time of the attack or whether they wore equipment needed to protect against chemical weapons.
“We’re forward with the Iraqis, we share the same risk they do,” Martin said. “With that risk, there’s danger, but our soldiers are prepared with the appropriate equipment.”
The operation to retake Iraq’s second-largest city is now in its sixth month, but Martin said he has no concern about the progress.
“It’s going to continue to be a tough fight,” he added.