A senior U.S. general operating in Mosul said Wednesday that a chemical attack launched against coalition forces by the Islamic State three days ago had "no impact" on American or Iraqi troops.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq, said the military is still awaiting test results to determine what chemical agent ISIS used in the attack on Sunday. The terrorist group has previously used chlorine and sulfur mustard agents in both Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool told the Associated Press on Sunday that six Iraqis experienced breathing problems as a result of the attack on a unit that includes American and Australian advisers.
Martin refused to confirm the number of Iraqi security forces that were effected, but said all who were involved in the attack received medical treatment. He also declined to comment whether U.S. or Australian military advisers were embedded in the Iraqi unit at the time of the attack.
"We share the same risks as Iraqi forces," Martin told reporters in a video stream from Baghdad. "We are forward with the Iraqis."
The U.S. military has assessed that the chemical agent was delivered by indirect fire. Martin said all forward U.S. forces in Western Mosul are fitted with the "appropriate equipment" and have been trained to assist their Iraqi counterparts if ISIS deploys chemical weapons again.
U.S.-led coalition forces launched operations to retake Mosul from ISIS militants in October. Iraqi forces retook Eastern Mosul in January, but jihadists are fighting viciously to keep hold of the city's west.
Martin said ISIS would continue to escalate its brutality against civilians in Mosul amid ongoing losses. He estimated that militants have indiscriminately fired over 7,000 mortars and rockets against the population living in Mosul and has used improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, to "kill, maim, and injure innocent civilians."
"The longer this fight goes on in West Mosul, the civilians will suffer at the hands of a brutal enemy," Martin said. "ISIS must be defeated quickly."