U.S. believes Islamic State likely used mustard agent in Iraq attack: WSJ

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The United States believes Islamic State militants likely used mustard agent in an attack on Kurdish forces in Iraq earlier this week, the first indication the militant group has obtained a banned chemical weapon, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

"We have credible information that the agent used in the attack was mustard," a senior U.S. official told the Journal.

Islamic State could have obtained the mustard agent in Syria, whose government admitted to having large quantities of the blistering agent in 2013, when it agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal, the newspaper reported.

"That makes the most sense," the Journal quoted a senior U.S. official as saying about the possibility that Islamic State obtained the mustard agent in Syria.

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U.S. believes Islamic State likely used mustard agent in Iraq attack: WSJ
An Iraqi woman grieves at the scene of a bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing dozens of people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Civilians and security forces gather at the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing at least 58 people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Civilians gather at the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing dozens of people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Iraqi men look at the damage following a bomb explosion that targeted a vegetable market in Baghdad's northern Shiite district of Sadr City on August 13, 2015. The truck bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 38 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi men mourn outside a mosque in the holy city of Najaf on August 13, 2015 during the funeral of Shiite victims of this morning's truck bombing in Baghdad's northern suburb of Sadr City. The attack claimed by the Islamic State group killed more than 50 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
People evacuate the body of a victim killed from a bombing in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing at least 58 people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Civilians gather at the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing dozens of people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Iraqi men mourn outside a mosque in the holy city of Najaf on August 13, 2015 during the funeral of Shiite victims of this morning's truck bombing in Baghdad's northern suburb of Sadr City. The attack claimed by the Islamic State group killed more than 50 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
People evacuate the body of a victim killed from a bombing in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing dozens of people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
An Iraqi boy looks at the damage following a bomb explosion that targeted a vegetable market in Baghdad's northern Shiite district of Sadr City on August 13, 2015. The truck bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 38 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Civilians gather at the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing dozens of people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Victims are treated at Imam Ali hospital after a bombing in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing dozens of people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Iraqi men mourn outside a mosque in the holy city of Najaf on August 13, 2015 during the funeral of Shiite victims of this morning's truck bombing in Baghdad's northern suburb of Sadr City. The attack claimed by the Islamic State group killed more than 50 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi woman walks past debris as men look at the damage following a bomb explosion that targeted a market in Baghdad's northern Shiite district of Sadr City on August 13, 2015. The truck bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 38 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi man with blood-stained clothes walks past the wreckage of a truck following a bomb explosion that targeted a vegetable market in Baghdad's northern Shiite district of Sadr City on August 13, 2015. The truck bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 38 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Civilians gather at the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours on Thursday, killing dozens of people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Iraqi men unload a coffin outside a mosque in the holy city of Najaf on August 13, 2015 during the funeral of Shiite victims of this morning's truck bombing in Baghdad's northern suburb of Sadr City. The attack claimed by the Islamic State group killed more than 50 people in the Shiite-majority area of the capital, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the city in months. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Islamic State could also have obtained the mustard agent in Iraq, the Journal reported.

The newspaper did not specify where or when the attack occurred, or whether it caused casualties.

The White House's National Security Council said it was aware of the reports and was seeking more information.

"We continue to take these and all allegations of chemical weapons use very seriously," spokesman Ali Baskey said in a statement.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said in the past they believed Islamic State has used chlorine gas in attacks in Iraq, the Journal reported. Chlorine is not a banned chemical agent.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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