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Photo, video show Iraqi complex before, after invasion

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posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 05:46 AM
Photo, video show Iraqi complex before, after invasion
Items bolster different theories on missing explosives

Friday, October 29, 2004 Posted: 5:18 AM EDT (0918 GMT)

A 101st Airborne Division soldier examines a barrel in a bunker in the Al Qaqaa facility on April 18, 2003.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two more bits of possible evidence surfaced Thursday in the mystery of the missing Iraqi explosives, but they appear to bolster two different scenarios as to what may have happened to the cache.

The Pentagon released a photo showing activity before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 outside a bunker at the weapons dump where nearly 380 tons of explosives reportedly disappeared.

While the photo might lend support to but does not prove the Pentagon's theory that the high-grade explosives were moved before the war, a videotape surfaced offering another scenario.

Nine days after the fall of Baghdad, on April 18, 2003, a news crew from Minneapolis station KSTP-TV, traveling with troops from the 101st Airborne Division, entered the bunkers at al-Qaqaa, south of Baghdad. At one of the bunkers, they broke a seal to get inside, where they found barrels filled with powdered explosives, according to reporter Dean Staley.

Based on a review of the KSTP videotape, former weapons inspector David Kay told CNN late Thursday that the seal is consistent with seals used by the International Atomic Energy Agency and that the explosives in the barrel were indeed the type of high-grade explosives missing from the complex.

"That's either HMX or RDX," Kay said, referring to the types of explosives. "I don't know of anything else in al-Qaqaa that was in that form."

But Michael Lysobey, a former U.N. weapons inspector, told CNN it was unclear from the videotape whether the barrels contained the high-grade explosives.

Because al-Qaqaa was a depot for explosives, the barrels and explosives caps on the videotape are "what we would expect to see."

The explosives -- considered powerful enough to demolish buildings or detonate nuclear warheads -- were reported missing from the Al Qaqaa depot in a letter this month from the interim Iraqi government to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

The Iraqi letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, dated October 10, blamed the theft and looting of government installations on a "lack of security" during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. (Explosives missing)

The disappearance of the explosives has been a campaign issue since the Iraqi letter was reported Monday by The New York Times.

Democratic nominee John Kerry says the report illustrates the Bush administration's mismanagement of the war, and President Bush accuses Kerry of a "complete disregard for the facts."KTSP out of Minn- St Paul reported it on CNN last night.


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