U.S. eyes suspected Iraqi weapons factory

By WND Staff

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The United States suspects Iraq is producing chemical, biological and perhaps nuclear weapons in a facility near the Syrian border, reports Geostrategy, the global intelligence news agency.

The U.S. intelligence community is monitoring the Al Qaim plant in northeast Iraq.

According to Pentagon officials, the facility was once used to enrich uranium and was part of an Iraqi plan to develop an implosion-type nuclear weapon.

The plant was destroyed during the Gulf war but was quickly rebuilt. The Iraqi regime was able to recover uranium from the site, but intelligence sources say they can’t be certain whether or not uranium extraction is still going on there.

However, it is believed the plant is now being used to produce weapons of mass destruction.

“Right now, we know it’s declared active as a chemical production facility,” said John Yurechko, an intelligence analyst at the Pentagon.

Al Qaim would be high on the list of U.N. weapons inspectors. However, it’s believed Iraq would sanitize the facility by the time inspectors enter the country.

It’s also not the only facility the U.S. is keeping tabs on. Iraq is also believed to be expanding a missile-production plant bombed by the U.S. in 1998.

The facility contains a new test stand for what appear to be medium-range missiles. Yurechko said the warheads could be armed with chemical or biological weapons concealed over the past decade.

“Assuming it has a high viability, one anthrax-filled Scud launched at Riyad, Saudi Arabia, could, depending on the time of day and the weather conditions, result in more than 100,000 casualties,” said Yurechko.

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