The United States has announced sanctions on two Islamic State (IS) chemical weapons experts, in the first such effort to specifically target the terrorist group's chemical weapons leadership.
The new sanctions, which would bar access to any property or interests under the U.S. jurisdiction, target Attallah Salman 'Abd Kafi al-Jaburi and Marwan Ibrahim Hussayn Tah al-Azawi, two ISIS leaders involved in the development of chemical weapons, according to a State and Treasury Department's statement on Monday.
Al-Jaburi was a senior ISIS leader, who oversaw some of the terror group's improvised explosive device factories while also being involved in the development of chemical weapons in Iraq, according to the statement.
A member of the al-Qaeda since 2003, al-Jaburi received chemical weapons training in Syria before returning to Iraq in 2015, the statement said.
It added that al-Azawi is involved in the ISIS' development of chemical weapons for use in the ongoing combat against the Iraqi security forces.
"Today's actions mark the first designations targetting individuals involved in the ISIS' chemical weapons development. Defeating the ISIS is a top priority of this administration, and today's action highlights why this group must be defeated," the statement quoted Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control's director, John E. Smith, as saying.
CNN reported that according to military officials, there have been more than 15 chemical weapons attacks since April 14 in or around West Mosul, a stronghold of the ISIS in Iraq.
Military officials have downplayed the effectiveness of ISIS' chemical weapons, saying they have less battlefield effect than conventional explosives.