1 April 2003
Chemical weapons factory: now you see it, now you don't
Monday, March 24, 1.33am
Reports surface that US forces find first cache of Saddam's chemical and biological weapons, seizing a suspected chemical factory in An Najaf. This would be a significant PR coup for Messrs Bush and Blair who justified their launch of war on the grounds that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
Fox News and the Jerusalem Post, which had a reporter travelling with US troops, both quote unidentified Pentagon officials who said the facility was seized by US forces. About 30 Iraqi troops and their commanding general surrendered as American forces took the installation, apparently used to produce chemical weapons, according to the Jerusalem Post. It was not immediately clear what chemicals were being produced at the facility.
Officials caution it is too premature to conclude that forbidden weapons had been discovered but US central command says it is examining several sites of interest.
Monday, March 24, 2.42am
General Richard Myers, chairman of joint chiefs of staff, claims US commamdos found documents along with millions of rounds of ammunition on Saturday, saying the discovery "might save thousands of lives if we can find out exactly what they have".
We're not sure
Monday, March 24, 2.44pm
General Tommy Franks, head of the coalition forces, claims he "wasn't entirely sure" that it was a chemical factory after all. Fox News forced to back away from the story. Iraq denies it has chemical or biological weapons.
Note that this chemical factory is not to be confused with the MTF recently said to be discovered (for the second time around) in the Ansar al-Islam pocket in northern Iraq.
Posted by Alan at 8:31:00 pm