The Washington PostThe Washington Post

ISIS planned chemical attacks in Europe, new details on weapons program reveal

By Joby Warrick

11 Jul 2022 · 11 min read

Editor's Note

A WaPo investigative story reveals how ISIS managed to hire a chemical weapons expert who enabled the terrorist organisation to make and use chemical weapons.

In the summer of 2014, as his followers were ravaging the cities of northern Iraq, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi convened a secret meeting with a weapons expert whose unusual skills the terrorist chief was anxious to acquire.

His guest was a small man, barely above 5 feet tall, and he had only recently been freed from a years-long stint in U.S. and Iraqi prisons. But before that, Salih al-Sabawi had been an Iraqi official of some renown: a Russian-trained engineer who had once helped President Saddam Hussein build his extensive arsenal of chemical weapons.

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