Italian researcher Siro Trevisanato says he believes the ancient Hittite empire was the first to use biological warfare.
Trevisanato says in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses the Hittites "were the first people to wage bioterrorism," using diseased sheep, ANSA reported Monday.
He said the Hittites of Asia Minor used tularemia, an animal-borne infection fatal to humans, to aid their expansion campaigns.
An example was demonstrated in 1325 B.C. when the Hittites sacked the Phoenician city of Symra on what is now the border of Lebanon and Syria.
"It is then that we first hear of the so-called Hittite Plague. It appears in several documents. It is no accident, in my view, that it coincides with the first documented appearance of tularemia," Trevisanato said.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
Explore further: Experts examine bones as Spain hunts for Cervantes' remains (Update)