Weaponized Ebola? ISIS Militants Said To Contract Deadly Virus

Forget targeted US airstrikes, ISIS faces a new existential threat. Citing an unnamed source in a Mosul hospital, Iraq's official pro-government newspaper, al Sabaah, said Ebola arrived in Mosul from "terrorists" who came "from several countries" and Africa. Mashable further confirms, three outlets reported that Ebola showed up at a hospital in Mosul. For now, it's unclear if any disease experts or doctors in Mosul are even able to test for the Ebola virus; but it would mark the first time the virus had been detected in an area controlled by ISIS, a group that doesn't embrace science and modern medicine.

 

As Mashable reports,

Reports that Islamic State militants in Mosul have contracted Ebola swirled though Iraqi media sources on Wednesday. World Health Organization officials said they haven't confirmed the cases, but the organization has reached out to offer assistance.

 

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"We have no official notification from [the Iraqi government] that it is Ebola," Christy Feig, WHO's director of communications told Mashable.

 

Feig added that WHO is in the process of reaching out to government officials in Iraq to see if they need help investigating the cases, a task that could be a challenge, given the restrictions that would come with operating in ISIS-controlled territory.

 

It's unclear if any disease experts or doctors in Mosul are even able to test for the Ebola virus. A Kurdish official, who was convinced the cases are Ebola, told the Kurdish media outlet Xendan that the militants' symptoms were similar to those of the Ebola virus.

 

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Citing an unnamed source in a Mosul hospital, Iraq's official pro-government newspaper, al Sabaah, said the disease arrived in Mosul from "terrorists" who came "from several countries" and Africa.

 

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If the cases in Mosul turn out to be Ebola — a scenario that, at this point, seems highly unlikely — it would mark the first time the virus had been detected in an area controlled by ISIS, a group that doesn't embrace science and modern medicine.

 

Over the past few weeks, militants affiliated with ISIS have executed more than a dozen doctors in Mosul, according to Benjamin T. Decker, an intelligence analyst with the Levantine Group, a Middle East-based geopolitical risk and research consultancy.

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The question now is - will Nobel Peace Prize winning President Obama send his humanitarian non-boots-on-the-ground military advisors to help?

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However, as The International Business Times reports, officials are denying the reports...

Iraq's Ministry of Health also denied that anyone in Mosul had contracted the Ebola virus, which broke out in March in West Africa.

 

Spokesman Ahmed Rudaini told news site Al-Maalomah that Mosul doesn't even have the technological capability to diagnose Ebola cases -- only Baghdad does. Therefore, he said, the reports that Ebola has infected anyone in Mosul are "incorrect" and "unfounded."

But, perhaps most concerning,

In the event ISIS does have Ebola, the militants could use it as a biological terror technique, Forbes reported in October. Members could contract the virus on purpose and then go to foreign countries to infect others.

 

“The individual exposed to the Ebola virus would be the carrier,” national security professor Al Shimkus told Forbes. “In the context of terrorist activity, it doesn’t take much sophistication to go to that next step to use a human being as a carrier.”

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