Malaysia airport declared safe from toxic nerve agent

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 26 (IANS) Malaysian police on Sunday declared as safe the Kuala Lumpur international airport, where VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Police chief Abdul Samah Mat said that a joint team of police, firefighters, and atomic energy experts analysed Terminal 2, where Kim Jong-nam was attacked, but did not find traces of VX nerve agent, considered as a weapn of mass destruction, Efe news reported.

“Based on our screenings, we have come to three conclusions that there are no hazardous materials detected, the airport is free from any form of contamination, and the airport is declared a safe zone,” Samah Mat told the media.

He added that people who were exposed to the nerve agent have also been examined and no remains of the chemical weapon have been found.

Authorities on February 23 raided an apartment rented by four North Korean suspects, who fled after the crime, and sent items from the flat to be scanned for dangerous substances. The results are still pending.

VX, used in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, is an oily, colourless liquid, and is considered one of the most toxic nerve agents in the world.

Few countries have access to this chemical — including the US, China and North Korea — which has prompted authorities to investigate whether it was brought from overseas.

Kim Jong-nam, the older half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, died on February 13 after being approached at Kuala Lumpur airport by two women who allegedly sprayed his face with VX. He died minutes later on his way to hospital.

–IANS

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