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3. IS chemist killed in air strike

The US military says an Islamic State chemical weapons expert has been killed by a US air strike in Iraq.

The US Central Command said in a statement on Friday that Abu Malik was killed in a January 24th US-led coalition air strike near Mosul, northern Iraq.

It says his death could temporally impair the Islamic State group's ability to produce and use chemical weapons.

US military officials say Malik had worked at the Muthana chemical weapons production plant during the former Iraqi government of executed president Saddam Hussein. They say the chemical engineer joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2005, which later become Islamic State.

Malik is thought to have brought his chemical arms expertise to the militant group.

The US government has not confirmed whether Islamic State fighters have used chemical weapons. But it feels concerned over the possibility of the Islamic State obtaining such weapons of mass destruction.

It cites the large amount of chemical arms held by the collapsed Saddam Hussein government of Iraq, and the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The US-led coalition air forces have pounded Iraq and Syria almost every day. They say the air strikes have killed several thousand Islamic State fighters, including a second-ranked leader.
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