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NASA scientists alarmed by massive sulfur cloud over Iraq

ISIS fighters are suspected of setting fire to a sulfur mine, weaponizing the environment

by Seb Walker
Nov 3 2016, 8:38am

This segment originally aired Oct. 26, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

ISIS fighters are suspected of having started a fire at a large sulfur mine in Iraq, and NASA scientists are alarmed by its size.

The fire spewed huge clouds of toxic smoke into the air and released as much sulfur as the biggest volcanic eruptions this year. Two people have been reported killed and thousands have been treated after inhaling the fumes. Plumes like the one over Iraq can travel around the world on wind currents, NASA said.

ISIS is using new tactics to resist the Mosul offensive brought by Iraqi and Kurdish troops with a U.S.-led coalition. The terrorist group has taken some Iraqi civilians with it as it retreats, VICE News correspondent Seb Walker reported. ISIS has also used a network of tunnels and underground bunkers built in the towns and villages that surround Mosul to hide from aerial attacks.

The offensive continues to make steady progress. On Tuesday, Iraqi forces entered Mosul for the first time in more than two years.