Officials: Islamic State used 'poisonous substances' in village shelling

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KIRKUK, Iraq, March 9 (Reuters) - More than 40 people suffered partial choking and skin irritation in northern Iraq when Islamic State fired mortar shells and Katyusha rockets filled with "poisonous substances" into their village late on Tuesday, local officials said.

None of the victims died but five of them remain in hospital, said health officials in Taza, a mainly Shi'ite Turkmen village 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the oil city of Kirkuk, in a region under Kurdish control.

SEE ALSO: Life under ISIS: Girls as young as 8 are being repeatedly raped by fighters and beaten when they resist

"There were poisonous substances in these shells. We don't know what," Kirkuk province governor Najmuddin Kareem told reporters on a visit to the village on Wednesday.

A total of 24 shells and rockets were fired into Taza from the nearby Bashir area, said Wasta Rasul, a commander of the Kurdish peshmerga forces in the region.

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Officials: Islamic State used 'poisonous substances' in village shelling
TOPSHOT - Iraqi girls hold makeshift white flags as they flee with their families a military operation by Iraqi security personnel aimed at retaking areas from Islamic State group jihadists, in the desert west of the city of Samarra on March 3, 2016. Counter-terrorism forces, soldiers, police and allied paramilitaries are taking part in an operation launched on March 1, which is backed by artillery and both Iraqi and US-led coalition aircraft, aimed at retaking areas north of Baghdad, according to the Joint Operations Command. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi soldiers patrol the site of an army position where an attack was carried out by the Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Abu Ghraib area west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on February 29, 2016. The jihadists attacked the position early in the morning and held it until government reinforcements arrived and took it back later in the day, the officials said. The Abu Ghraib violence killed at least eight people, including both members of the security forces and allied paramilitaries, and wounded at least 22, while IS members were also killed, officials said. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi soldiers patrol a suburb close to the area of Jweibah, east of the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province on February 4, 2016. Iraqi forces declared victory in December in the battle for Ramadi after wresting back control of the city's central government complex from the Islamic State (IS) group. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A member of Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service sits in a vehicle after being wounded in fighting the Islamic State group's jihadists in the al-Sajariyah area, east of the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, 120 kilometers west of Baghdad, on February 3, 2016. Iraqi forces declared victory in December in the Ramadi battle after wresting back control of the city's central government complex from the Islamic State group. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga stands guard near the Mosul Dam on the Tigris River, around 50 kilometres north of the city of Mosul, on February 1, 2016. The United States is monitoring Iraq's largest dam for signs of further deterioration that could point to an impending catastrophic collapse, US army officers said on January 28, 2016. The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group seized the Mosul Dam briefly in 2014, leading to a lapse in maintenance that weakened an already flawed structure, and Baghdad is seeking a company to make repairs. / AFP / SAFIN HAMED (Photo credit should read SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi pro-government forces fire a rocket during clashes with Islamic State (IS) group fighters, on the eastern outskirts of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province on January 31, 2016. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi Sunni fighter from the Popular Mobilisation units, walks as he monitors the frontline near the town of Al-Fatha north of the Salaheddin province during an operation to protect the nearby Ajeel and Alas oil fields. The oil fields in the area are strategic as Islamic State (IS) fighters are eying them as potential revenue sources. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Iraqi forces secure an area in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, on January 10, 2016, after retaking the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Iraqi forces pushed out of central Ramadi on January 1, 2016 to extend their grip on the city, sweeping neighbourhoods for pockets of jihadists to flush out and trapped civilians to evacuate. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service flashes the 'V' for victory sign as smoke from a controlled explosion billows in the background on December 29, 2015 on the outskirts of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, about 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. Iraq declared the city of Ramadi liberated from the Islamic State group Monday and raised the national flag over its government complex after clinching a landmark victory against the jihadists. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi Shiite fighter from the Popular Mobilisation units looks on in the town of Saqlawiya on the outskirts of Fallujah, 50kms west of Baghdad, on July 26, 2015. Iraqi government forces gained control over Al-Anbar University from Islamic State (IS) Group, near Ramadi, a key position to reclaim the provincial capital, according to officials. AFP PHOTO/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the allied Iraqi forces consisting of the Iraqi army and fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units, load heavy artillery on the front line during battles with Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on the road leading to Saqlawiya, north of Fallujah, in Iraq's Anbar province on August 4, 2015. Anbar, Iraq's largest province, has been rocked by violence since the beginning of 2014, months before the IS jihadist group launched a massive nationwide offensive that saw it conquer swathes of the country. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi pro-government fighters from the mianly-Shiite Popular Mobilisation units inspect an office in a government building which was used as a base by the radical Islamic State (IS) group in the town of Saqlawiya on the outskirts of Fallujah, 50kms west of Baghdad, on July 26, 2015. Iraqi government forces gained control over Al-Anbar University from jihadists, near Ramadi, a key position to reclaim the provincial capital, according to officials. AFP PHOTO/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - JULY 23: Iraqi military train at the Counter Terrorism Service training location, as observed by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Carter is on a weeklong tour of the Middle East focused on reassuring allies about Iran and assessing progress in the coalition campaign against the Islamic State group militants in Syria and Iraq. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster - Pool/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units hold a the emblem of the Islamic State (IS) group as they gather outside the provincial council building in Tikrit, on April 1, 2015, a day after the prime minister declared victory in the weeks-long battle to retake the city from IS jihadists. Iraqi forces battled the last jihadists the northern city on April 1, 2015 to seal a victory the government described as a milestone in efforts to rid the country of the Islamic State group. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units gather next to a mural depicting the emblem of the Islamic State (IS) group outside one of the presidential palaces in Tikrit, on April 1, 2015, a day after the prime minister declared victory in the weeks-long battle to retake the city from the IS group. Iraqi forces battled the last jihadists the northern city on April 1, 2015 to seal a victory the government described as a milestone in efforts to rid the country of the Islamic State group. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces fire a locally made rocket from a position on the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015, during a military operation to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Shiite fighter from the Popular Mobilisation units celebrates outside the provincial council building in Tikrit, on April 1, 2015, a day after the prime minister declared victory in the weeks-long battle to retake the city from the Islamic State (IS) group. Iraqi forces battled the last jihadists the northern city on April 1, 2015 to seal a victory the government described as a milestone in efforts to rid the country of the Islamic State group. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Shiite fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units pose in front of a mural depicting the emblem of the Islamic State (IS) group outside one of the presidential palaces in Tikrit, on April 1, 2015, a day after the prime minister declared victory in the weeks-long battle to retake the city from the IS group. Iraqi forces battled the last jihadists the northern city on April 1, 2015 to seal a victory the government described as a milestone in efforts to rid the country of the Islamic State group. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi policemen stand next to Islamic State (IS) group ammunition in the Al-Alam town, northeast of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, on March 17, 2015 after recapturing the town from IS fighters earlier in the month. Loyalists had already failed three times to retake the nearby city of Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, which was captured by IS last summer. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi Sunni woman holds an Iraqi flag upon returning back to the Al-Alam town, northeast of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, on March 17, 2015 after the town was recaptured by Sunni and Shiite fighters from the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group, an Iranian-backed Shiite militia, from Islamic State (IS) fighters earlier in the month. Loyalists had already failed three times to retake the nearby city of Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, which was captured by IS last summer. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units carry the coffin of their comrade Mostafa Hassan Shakir, a student from the University of Kufa who died in fighting against Islamic State (IS) fighters in the northern city of Tikrit, during his funeral on March 17, 2015 in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf. Shakir is the first student from the university of Kufa to die in the offensive to retake Tirkit, the capital of Salaheddin province, from IS group which began on March 2, 2015. Iraqi forces have tried and failed three times before to retake the city, which was the hometown of executed dictator Saddam Hussein. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
TIKRIT, IRAQ - MARCH 11: An elderly women hugs a soldier after the clashes in their neighborhood between Iraqi army forces, supported by Shiite militias, and Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) finished and they safely reach their homes, in Tikrit, Iraq on March 11, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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The attack came as CNN reported that U.S. aircraft had begun targeting Islamic State's chemical weapons sites near Mosul in Iraq, in an initial round of air strikes aimed at diminishing the militant group's ability to use mustard agent.

An Islamic State detainee provided vital information that allowed the U.S. military to conduct the strikes, CNN said.

The ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim group seized large swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014.

"Daesh wants to scare off the population," said Kareem, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

"They want to show they have chemical weapons just like the previous regime," he said, referring to the chemical bombing of the Kurdish village of Halabja by Saddam Hussein's forces in 1988, which left thousands of people dead.

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