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Iraq could deploy chemical, biological arms in min *LINK*

Posted By: wtnf
Date: 7, September 03, at 7:54 a.m.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

LONDON, Sept 24 (AFP) - Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes, a long-awaited dossier by the British government on the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein alleged Tuesday.

It also said Baghdad was one or two years away from building a nuclear weapon and has constructed test equipment for a missile capable of striking British military bases in Cyprus.

Baghdad has tried to acquire "significant quantities" of uranium from Africa despite having no civil program that could need it, the report said. Uranium would be a key ingredient for manufacturing nuclear weapons.

Iraq has "tried covertly to acquire technology and materials which could be used in the production of nuclear weapons," it said, adding specialists have been recalled to work on a nuclear program.

The dossier alleged Iraq has retained up to 20 al-Hussein missiles, with a range of 650 kilometers (400 miles), capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads.

It said Iraq has also developed mobile laboratories for military use "corroborating earlier reports about the mobile production of biological warfare agents."

"Intelligence also shows that Iraq is preparing to conceal evidence of these weapons, including incriminating documents, from renewed inspections."

In a foreword to the report Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was compiled using evidence from the government's Joint Intelligence Committee.

On Saddam, he said: "I am in no doubt that the threat is serious and current, that he has made progress on weapons of mass destruction and that he has to be stopped."


Nampa-AFP WEB story ENDS (NAMPA 240831)

Original Article

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