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UN Weapons Inspectors Expand Unannounced Visits in Iraq - 2002-12-11


The 70 U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq are expanding their unannounced visits to suspected weapons sites, based in part on the report Iraq delivered to the United Nations on Saturday.

Using information provided by Iraq's 12,000 page weapons declaration, inspectors in Baghdad visited a factory Wednesday involved in missile technology.

According to a weapons inspector in Baghdad, it marked the first time a new site was inspected based on information provided by the declaration.

Following Tuesday's largest number of inspections, totaling as many as 13, inspectors again fanned out across Iraq Wednesday in their hunt for weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq's al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex seems to be of particular interest to the inspectors who visited it for the fourth consecutive day Wednesday. The complex was once used to develop technology capable of producing nuclear bombs.

Another inspection team is continuing its investigation of a remote uranium mining site along Iraq's border with Syria. The site produced about 100 tons of uranium during the 1980s.

Inspectors have said they may want to visit as many as 700 potential weapons sites, and that list is expected to grow as U.N. experts continue to examine Iraq's weapons declaration.

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