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Warheads found in Iraq not chemical weapons, military says

[ The story alleging chemical weapons found in Iraq was a false alarm. Let’s hope Fox News gives this correction a treatment as prominent as it gave the alarm itself. –BL ]

Jul 02, 2004 | AFP

BAGHDAD – Multinational forces in Iraq said on Friday that more than a dozen missile warheads said to contain mustard gas or sarin have tested negative for chemical agents.

Washington had announced the find by Polish troops on Thursday, which was later confirmed by Warsaw.

The head of Poland’s military intelligence service also said on Friday that “terrorist” groups were seeking to acquire the weapons.

But the 122mm warheads, found in late June, have been found not to contain the deadly chemicals, a statement from multinational forces here said.

“Those 16 rounds were all empty and tested negative for any type of chemicals,” it said.

Two other warheads found in mid-June were found to contain an insignificant amount of sarin gas. The armaments were left over from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the statement said.

“Due to the deteriorated state of the rounds and small quantity of remaining agent, these rounds were determined to have limited to no impact if used by insurgents against coalition forces.”

Washington justified leading the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 by claiming the country was harbouring weapons of mass destruction. However, none has yet been found.

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