London: The US officials have warned that the Islamic State (IS) is manufacturing and using chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria.
Speaking about how America has identified at least four instances where chemical weapons have been used by the IS, an official told BBC: “They’re using mustard. We know they are. We’ve seen them use it on at least four separate occasions on both sides of the border — both Iraq and Syria. We assess that they have an active chemical weapons little research cell that they’re working on to try and get better at it.”
The exposure to sulphur mustard causes mustard-laced dust blisters on the skin but is not fatal. But, because there is no treatment for it, the agent must be completely removed from the body.
The source also revealed that the chemicals are being used in their powder form. The powder is being packed into explosives like mortar rounds and being used.
Interestingly, ordinary Wi-Fi can easily identify weapons, bombs and explosive chemicals in bags just anywhere, be it a crowded stadium, or museums, theme parks, schools and other public spaces, a new study reveals.
The researchers’ suspicious detection object is easy to set up, reduces security screening costs and avoids invading privacy such as when screeners open and inspect bags, backpacks and luggage. Traditional screening generally requires high staffing levels and costlier specialized equipment.
“This could have a great impact in protecting the public from dangerous objects. There’s a growing need for that now”, said study author, Yingying Chen.
The study reveals that Wi-Fi, or wireless, signals in most public places can penetrate bags to get the dimensions of dangerous metal objects and detect them, including weapons, aluminium cans, laptops and batteries for bombs. Wi-Fi can also be used to estimate the volume of liquids such as water, acid, alcohol and other chemicals for explosives.
This low-cost system requires a Wi-Fi device with two to three antennas and can be integrated into existing Wi-Fi networks. The system analyzes what happens when wireless signals penetrate and bounce off objects and materials.
Experiments were done with 15 types of objects and six types of bags demonstrating detection accuracy rates of 99 percent for dangerous objects, 98 percent for metal and 95 percent for liquid. For typical backpacks, the accuracy rate exceeds 95 percent and drops to about 90 percent when objects inside bags are wrapped.
“In large public areas, it’s hard to set up expensive screening infrastructure like what’s in airports. Manpower is always needed to check bags and we wanted to develop a complementary method to try to reduce manpower,” concluded Chen.