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March 23, 2003
 
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Reports of Chemical Weapons Near Iraq's Kut -U.S.

Reuters


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AS SAYLIYA CAMP, Qatar (Reuters) - The United States said on Sunday there had been reports of some Iraqi forces with chemical weapons near the town of Kut, about 105 miles southeast of Baghdad.

U.S. Lt. Gen. John Abizaid told a news briefing at Central Command headquarters in Qatar that he expected invading U.S.-led forces to find weapons of mass destruction when they occupy Baghdad, but it would "take some time" to root them out.

The U.S.-British invasion of Iraq was prompted by Iraq's refusal to give up alleged weapons of mass destruction.

"We should not expect to immediately come across it," Abizaid said. "Although there are reports that some units in the vicinity of Al Kut may have some type of chemical weapons and, of course, we're taking the necessary precautions to deal with that."

It was not immediately clear where the reports came from.

"I have no doubt we'll find weapons of mass destruction, but you shouldn't think it's going to happen tomorrow."

Analysts believe Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has chosen not to use chemical or biological weapons for fear of massive reprisals, or perhaps because he is waiting until Baghdad and other key strategic points come under attack.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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