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Context of 'Late Summer 1980: Kurds Killed in Chemical, Bioweapons Tests'

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April 10, 1980: Iraq Detains Kurds

Saddam Hussein’s Interior Ministry issues directive No. 2884, which orders the detainment of some 5,000 people—mostly Kurds of Iranian background—between the ages of 18 and 28. These people will never be seen again (see Late Summer 1980). [Independent, 12/13/2002]

Entity Tags: Iraqi Ministry of the Interior

Timeline Tags: US-Iraq 1980s

Roughly 5,000 Iraqis, mostly northern Kurds, are detained by Saddam Hussein’s army, never to be seen again. According to numerous Kurds later interviewed by The Independent of London, the detainees were killed in gas and chemical weapons experiments. A Kurdish refugee in Lebanon will recall: “It is now clear, that during the war with Iran many of the young detainees were taken to secret laboratories in different locations in Iraq and were exposed to intense doses of chemical and biological substances in a myriad of conditions and situations. With every military setback at the front causing panic in Baghdad, these experiments had to be speeded up—which meant more detainees were needed to be sent to the laboratories, which had to test VX nerve gas, mustard gas, sarin, tabun, aflatoxin, gas gangrene, and anthrax.” The refugee will also claim that Western intelligence was fully aware of what had happened to the 5,000 detainees. [Independent, 12/13/2002]

Timeline Tags: US-Iraq 1980s

Iraq reportedly uses chemical weapons against northern Iraqi Kurds. [Jentleson, 1994, pp. 38]

Timeline Tags: US-Iraq 1980s


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