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Sarin Gas

Sarin As A Weapon

Iraq produced sarin between 1984 and 1985, when weapons inspectors were ordered to leave the country. Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Iraq had admitted to once having at least 790 tons of the nerve agent. In 1987 and 1988, the United Nations confirmed that Iraq used a combination of organo-phosphorous nerve agents against Kurds in northern Iraq. It is estimated that 5,000 people were killed and 65,000 others were wounded in these attacks. There was also extreme environmental damage.

On March 20, 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult released the nerve agent sarin in a Tokyo subway. This incident killed 11 and injured more than 5,500 people. Members of the cult left soft drink containers and lunch boxes filled with the toxin on the floor of subway trains. They punctured the containers with umbrellas just as they exited the cars. The attack was timed for rush hour, so as to affect as many people as possible. Because the sarin was of low quality and the affected cars were quickly sealed once the sarin was detected, the magnitude of the attack was suppressed.

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