ISIS using chemical weapons in Syria, reports New York Times. (Another story that seems ripped from the pages of “The Third Target.”)

Actual NYT headline from August 24, 2015.

Actual NYT headline from August 24, 2015.

(Central Israel) — “The Islamic State may have used chemical agents in an attack against civilians and rival insurgents in northern Syria late last week, according to local rebels and an international aid group,” the New York Times reported this week.

Such chilling news seems ripped from the pages of my most recent political thriller, The Third Target. The novel, which released in January and went on to become a national best-seller, focuses on a New York Times reporter who follows rumors of ISIS capturing and preparing to use a cache of chemical weapons in Syria. The sequel, The First Hostage, releases on December 29th, and picks up six seconds after The Third Target ends, continuing to follow the reporter’s hunt for the leaders of the Islamic State amidst a series of apocalyptic attacks.

Tragically, however, the story I quote above is a not a work of fiction. It’s not a quote from one of my novels. Rather, it is all too real. Here are more details.

“The assault on Friday in the city of Marea involved more than 50 shells and was centered on civilian areas,” the Times story noted, citing a report by the Syrian American Medical Society, a humanitarian group. “After the attack, the group’s field hospital received more than 50 patients, 23 of whom, including some children, showed symptoms of chemical exposure, including coughing, vomiting, wheezing and severe itching. Some also had blisters associated with mustard gas, the society said in a statement. The report was corroborated by local rebel forces, who claimed that shells had been fired from Isnibil, a village east of Marea that is controlled by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.”

This report comes on the heels of other recent reports that ISIS also appears to be using chemical weapons in Iraq. On August 17th, I reported the following:

U.S. intelligence officials believe that jihadists operating under the direction of the Islamic State have not only captured chemical weapons — most likely in Syria — but have actually used such weapons of mass destruction on the battlefield. They are also investigating the possibility that ISIS is mass producing such weapons and asking where will ISIS strike next?….Consider the following headlines from the past few days:

The notion of the Islamic State having chemical weapons is a chilling one and a potential game-changer. The Kurds appear to have been the first ISIS target. But if ISIS has more such weapons stockpiles, against whom will they use them against next? The U.S.? Israel? One of our European allies? An Arab state like Jordan or Egypt?

As more information comes out, I’ll continue to keep you informed.

In the meantime, please keep praying for U.S., Western and Middle Eastern leaders to get serious about crushing and truly defeating ISIS, not just pinprick attacks that are not truly neutralizing this serious and growing threat.



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