Tags: Inspectors | Examine | Sites | Near | Baghdad

UN Inspectors Examine Sites Near Baghdad

Thursday, 28 November 2002 12:00 AM

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission split into two groups that searched sites in suburbs north of Baghdad.

The first site was a former factory that made vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease, located in the suburb of al-Dora. The second was a plant for mechanical industries run by the Ministry of Industry and Minerals, located near al-Taji, north of Baghdad.

The media were banned from entering the sites as the inspectors did their work, accompanied by a team from the Iraqi national monitoring department.

The inspectors' teams traveled to the sites in a convoy of five four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The vaccine factory has been under continuous monitoring for years and was previously inspected by international experts. The Iraqi authorities organized a visit for journalists to the site two months ago to refute U.S. and British claims that it was used to produce non-conventional weapons.

The journalists then reported that the marks and cameras placed by past inspection teams were still there and the plant's machines and equipment were completely destroyed.

Iraq had complained on several previous occasions about the closure of that factory, saying it led to the spread of foot-and-mouth disease among cattle in Iraq and neighboring countries.

The inspectors also searched the al-Nasr factory for mechanical industries and promised to brief journalists later in the day about the outcome of their inspection.

The international experts have so far made no comments, except for the head of the IAEA team, Jacques Bouter of France, who said on Wednesday night that the team "was able to carry out the searches in cooperation with the Iraqis and could see what it wanted to verify."

The director of UNMOVIC's team, Dimitri Brikos of Greece, said briefly that his team got the information it needed to identify the nature of the activities undertaken in the site it visited on Thursday. "The team could do what it wanted to do," he said.

The inspectors searched three sites on Wednesday, the first day of their mission, which resumed after a four-year break.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi military spokesman was quoted by the Iraqi National Agency as saying Wednesday night that U.S. and British warplanes that took off from Kuwait carried out 59 runs over Iraqi regions, including the Nahrawan area, near the capital Baghdad.

"The enemy planes flew over 30 areas in central and south Iraq, including Nahrawan in the outskirts of Baghdad. Ground defenses opened up at the intruding planes which had taken off from bases in Kuwait," the spokesman said.

Sirens echoed all over Baghdad on Thursday morning, only an hour after the inspectors started their mission.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission split into two groups that searched sites in suburbs north of Baghdad. The first site was a former factory that made vaccines for foot-and-mouth...
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2002-00-28
Thursday, 28 November 2002 12:00 AM
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