U.S. troops find chemicals in Iraq facility
BAGHDAD -- U.S. troops raided a suspected insurgent chemical weapons factory in northern Iraq, finding about 1,500 gallons of dangerous substances, the U.S. military said Saturday.
Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a military spokesman, said 11 chemicals were found in the hideout in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, "which are dangerous by themselves, and mixed together they would become even more dangerous."
"Our feeling at this point is that had this stuff been mixed and used, it could have been very easily used against Iraqi and coalition forces," Boylan said.
The military cautioned in a statement, however, that ongoing testing at the facility was "insufficient to determine what the insurgents had been producing" and that further tests were required.
U.S. troops, acting on a tip from detainees under interrogation, raided the building Tuesday, the statement said. The military did not say if anyone was detained in the raid and said it was investigating which insurgent group was operating the facility.
The military has found many suspected chemical sites in the past, none of which ended up containing chemical or biological weapons. Testing of such sites can take several days.
Boylan said the materials did not appear to be linked to Saddam Hussein's ousted regime.
The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003 to destroy Saddam's purported unconventional weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found.
U.S. arms investigators have said there was evidence that Iraqi resistance groups had tried to manufacture chemical weapons. The information was disclosed in the final report of Charles A. Duelfer's Iraq Survey Group, the account of its fruitless 18-month hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.