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US: Shell that hit Iraqi base contained sulfur-mustard agent

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. general says a rocket that landed on a military base in northern Iraq contained chemical agents that cause human skin to blister.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford was asked at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday about the disclosure a day earlier that the Islamic State may have attacked the base with chemical weapons. U.S. officials said Wednesday that an oily substance found on a fragment of the rocket initially tested positive for mustard agent, but that a second test was negative. They said further laboratory testing was scheduled.

Dunford said unequivocally that the weapon contained a "sulfur-mustard blister agent" and that no one was injured. He said the Islamic State has a rudimentary capability to deliver chemical weapons. Nonetheless, he called the attack a "concerning development."