posted on Mar, 10 2003 @ 02:33 PM
WASHINGTON, March 9 ó United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq recently discovered a new variety of rocket seemingly configured to strew bomblets
filled with chemical or biological agents over large areas, United States officials say.
The reconfigured rocket warheads appear to be cobbled together from Iraq's stockpiles of imported or home-built weapons, some which Iraq had used
with both conventional and chemical warheads. Iraq contends that it has destroyed all its old chemical warheads, a claim that the inspectors have not
An American official who described the weapon said it was discovered in the last few months, since the United Nations inspectors returned to Iraq in
November. At first, he said, Iraq told the inspectors that it was designed as a conventional cluster bomb, which would scatter explosive submunitions
over its target, and not as a chemical weapon. A few days later, he said, the Iraqis conceded that some might have been configured as chemical
The distinctive appearance of the rockets' cluster munitions, heavy metal balls with holes in them, suggested their use as a way to disperse chemical
or biological weapons, said the official. "If you take the kinds of fuses we know they have, and you screw them in there, when these things come out
from the main frame and they explode inward, chemical agents come out," he said.
"These can be used for biological weapons, too," he said.
NY Times Link - www.nytimes.com...