Chlorine is now the chemical weapon of choice for IS terrorists in Syria and Iraq and there is a growing chance of a chlorine bomb attack on British soil, a chemical warfare expert has warned.
Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who was in the Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment until 2011, told the Daily Mirror: “As more jihadists return to this country there is a growing chance of a chlorine bomb attack. That to me outs it through the threshhold where we should look into this seriously.”
Col de Bretton-Gordon is managing director of Avon Protection and has advised the UK government, Iraqi government and Free Syrian Army. He is urging ministers to control the sale of chlorine more tightly. There are tight controls on the sale of the gas in Iraq.
In Britain it is possible to buy 90 tonnes of the substance without a licence. The chlorine that can be used in bombs is often found in the cylinder on the back of household fridges, prompting calls for ministers to tighten controls on chlorine sales and waste disposal.
However, it is understood that authorities do monitor chlorine purchases and other materials that could be used in bomb making to uncover any stockpiling.
In March Colonel Bretton-Gordon warned a chlorine gas attack could happen “on a train or tube or even at a big football match.”
Up to 25 per cent of improvised explosive devices discovered in the city of Tikrit, which was retaken by Iraqi forces from IS this year, contained the chemical.