— BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq on Saturday denied torching oil wells,
saying instead that it had set oil-filled trenches ablaze in an
effort to prevent U.S. and British warplanes from finding their
"The leadership in Iraq and the government organizations are keen
to preserve this wealth, developing and expanding its capability and
not burning it," Iraqi state television said in a statement
attributed to an "authorized source."
"What was set on fire was oil moved to trenches prepared to place
hurdles that would affect the accuracy of pilots in hitting
Britain's defense chief said on Friday that Iraq had set seven
oil wells alight -- and not 30 as earlier reported -- and that U.S.
and British forces were securing key components of the country's
southern oil fields.
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