Libyans fear chemical attack by Gaddafi after weapons found

The recent deadly attack by Libyan government forces on the port of the besieged western city of Mistrarah, Libya, raised concerns that embroiled dictator Muammar Gaddafi may engage in chemical warfare.

Mistarah, a conduit for military and humanitarian supplies for insurgents, is seen as a large target by Gaddafi and his supporters. The attack generated fears that Gaddafi could use suspected stockpiles of chemical weapons against the port city, reports.

Used as a military base during occupation, Mistarah's local university has been a confirmed storage place for cyanide.

A rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical, cyanide exposure can occur by breathing air, drinking water, eating food or touching contaminated soil. Symptoms include convulsions, slow heart rates, loss of consciousness and respiratory failure leading to death, according to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.

“Even 100 milligrams would be enough to kill 20,000 people if he put it in the water supply,” a local professor of chemistry who asked not be named said, according to Sent by city leaders, the professor found the supply of cyanide to be untouched and removed it for safekeeping.

Regardless of the discovery, concerns about chemical warfare remain among the people of Libya.  

“If he has them he will use them,” Khaled Abu Folgha, a director of a local hospital, said, according to