IS recruiting professionals to make chemical weapons: Australian minister

Perth, June 6 (IANS) Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said the Islamic State (IS) terror group is recruiting “highly trained professionals” to make chemical weapons, media reported on Saturday.

Addressing the Australia Group in Perth overnight, Bishop ramped up her warnings about the IS, describing the group as one of the “gravest security threats we face today”, ABC reported.

“They seek to undermine and overthrow that order and as we have seen, are prepared to use any and all means, any and all forms of violence they can think of to advance their demented cause,” she said.

“That includes use of chemical weapons.”

Bishop said the use of chlorine by IS and the recruitment of “highly technically trained professionals”, including from the West, revealed serious efforts to develop chemical weapons.

“IS is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons,” she said.

Bishop was speaking at the 30th anniversary of the Australia Group which is an informal alliance of countries that seeks to prevent the export of materials that can be used in the development of chemical weapons.

Over 100 Australians are believed to be fighting alongside the IS group in Syria and Iraq and the government believes 150 others are supporting them at home.

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