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Buried Containers Found Near Karbala

Buried Containers Found Near Karbala

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(AP) Eleven containers buried close to an artillery ammunition plant in southern Iraq were discovered by U.S. troops Monday and could be dual-use chemical and biological laboratories, U.S. Army Gen. Ben Freakly told CNN.

The 20-foot by 20-foot metal containers, which could be attached to semi-trucks or railway cars, were found by members of the 101st Airborne in Karbala. About 1,000 pounds of documentation was also found at the site, Freakly said. There was no evidence of weapons.

"They were close to an artillery ammunition plan, so this is consistent with the Iraqi denial, the former Iraqi leadership denial ... of any wrongdoing," Freakly said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, in speeches to Congress and the U.N. Security Council, said earlier this year that intelligence reports showed mobile laboratories capable of producing weapons of mass destruction were being driven around Iraq.

But chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said later that inspectors had found no evidence of such mobile labs.

There have been previous reports of chemical weapons that turned out to be false alarms, including a site about 60 miles south of Karbala where military officials initially believed they had discovered a nerve agent. Testing showed the substance was a high-grade pesticide.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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