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Iraq Releases List of Scientists Who Worked on Banned Weapons - 2002-12-29


Fire engines greeted U.N. weapons inspectors at their Baghdad headquarters before they continued their search for evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The experts are planning to expand their search to include Iraqi weapons scientists.

Iraqi officials said firefighters and police were called to the Canal Hotel in Baghdad following an electrical short circuit. The hotel is the headquarters of U.N. weapons inspectors who have been in Iraq for more than a month.

The Associated Press reported that Iraqi officials said there was no fire, but fire fighters were seen removing charred paper and bits of metal. Another news agency, AFP, reported that a U.N. official said a fire did, in fact, break out on the hotel's ground floor.

The incident started in a computer room and no injuries were reported.

The event occurred before inspectors began their rounds in search of evidence of banned weapons in Iraq. They reportedly toured three sites in and around Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials have handed over a list of more than 500 chemical, biological, and nuclear scientists who once worked on banned weapons programs in the country.

The United Nations had given Iraq until Tuesday to provide a complete list of scientists currently and formerly involved in Baghdad's chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The U.N. team is expanding the scope of their search, and began questioning Iraqi weapons scientists in an effort to shed light on the country's current weapons programs.

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