The Islamic State, or ISIS, could be considering using Ebola as a biological weapon, said a report from the Spanish government.
Spain’s State Secretary for Security, Francisco Martinez, said officials will be keeping a watchful eye on jihadist message boards and online chat rooms, according to a RT report.
Speaking to the Spanish Parliament, he said there were recent talks in a “jihadist chat room” that included a topic of conversation about “the use of Ebola as a poisonous weapon against the United States.”
He used these examples as proof that the Internet is “an extension of the battlefield” for ISIS (also known as IS or ISIL), and it uses the medium for “threatening enemies through propaganda, preparing operations, exchanging information, ideological training, recruiting new members and acquiring finance.”
Martinez also noted there were tweets that talked about using chemical weapons. He added that the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam was involved as well.
In early October, Andrew Weber, the assistant secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, said Ebola could be used as a biological weapon in the future.
“There is a risk that they could obtain access to blood and tissue samples, and infect a few people, or infect themselves and then get on an airplane,” he said, according to US News and World Report.
“There’s a risk, and we need to make sure that’s not exploited in the current circumstances, but it’s not a grave risk,” he added.
But he stressed Ebola isn’t something that can be easily exploited by terrorist organizations such as ISIS.
“It’s not like other diseases like the spore-forming bacteria anthrax that’s hardy in the environment and can be released in a way that many, many people can be exposed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the virus isn’t airborne.
“Ebola poses no substantial risk to the U.S. general population,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website after several people were infected, including two Dallas-area nurses. “CDC recognizes that Ebola causes a lot of public worry and concern, but CDC’s mission is to protect the health of all Americans, including those who may become ill while overseas. Ebola patients can be transported and managed safely when appropriate precautions are used.”