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More al-Samoud Missiles Being Destroyed, says Iraq - 2003-03-06


Iraq continued its destruction of banned al-Samoud 2 missiles Thursday, one day before chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is to give another report to the Security Council on Iraq's compliance with U.N. demands that it disarm.

Iraqi officials say six al-Samoud 2 missiles were crushed by bulldozers Thursday, bringing to 34 the number of such weapons Iraq has destroyed. Baghdad says it has about 100 of the missiles, which weapons inspectors say exceed a U.N.-mandated limit of 150 kilometers.

Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix is scheduled to brief the Security Council Friday on Iraq's disarmament compliance. On Wednesday, Mr. Blix said that while Iraq has been more cooperative lately, he has not been able to conclusively determine whether Iraq has accounted for all of its banned chemical and biological weapons. Baghdad says those weapons were destroyed in 1991.

Since the inspection process resumed last November, Iraq has provided access to all sites requested by the weapons inspectors, and after repeated requests and pressure, has allowed the flights of U-2 reconnaissance planes, permitted Iraqi scientists to be interviewed in private and agreed to destroy its al-Samoud 2 missiles.

However, Washington accuses Baghdad of continuing to hide banned weapons of mass destruction.

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