United Nations warns trapped Mosul civilians could face worst catastrophe of Iraq conflict

The Pentagon would not confirm Wednesday whether USA forces were exposed to a chemical agent in an attack by the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq, over the weekend. It also said the militants were increasingly using suicide motorbikes attacks.

Coalition forces are still conducting tests on the mortar rounds laced with the chemical agent fired at Iraqi forces, to determine what specific agent was used in the attack, Gen. Martin said during a teleconference from Baghdad. It is the last significant urban area the group holds.

Asked if he was saying no USA or Australian forces had been exposed to chemicals, Martin said: "We have not confirmed exposure at this time".

"Australian medics at a secure base outside Mosul provided first aid to the Iraqi soldiers affected by the gas attack", a spokesman for Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Gen. Martin declined to comment whether American and Australian military advisers who were attached to the Iraqi unit had been injured during the attack.

"They are being shot at, there are artillery barrages, families are running out of supplies, medicines are scarce and water is cut-off". Iraqi government forces have taken back most of it in a US-backed offensive launched in October, including the half that lies east of the Tigris River.

The United Nations said last month that 12 people, including women and children, had been treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons agents in Mosul.

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