U.S. weapons inspectors visited an animal vaccine factory and a munitions facility near Baghdad during day two of their search for banned weapons in Iraq.
At 8:30 a.m., two separate convoys of weapons inspectors headed in opposite directions. One group traveled south to an animal vaccine laboratory that was shut down by previous inspectors in the mid 1990's. The other group went north to a factory that produces light ammunition and heavy civilian machinery in a huge military compound suspected by Washington of being used to produce weapons of mass destruction.
In 1996, weapons inspectors shut down the animal vaccine lab, and destroyed its equipment, after accusing Baghdad of using the facility to produce banned nerve agents. Iraq disputed the charge, saying the lab produced about 12 million doses of animal vaccine a year for hoof and mouth disease.
Both teams on Thursday were escorted by Iraqi officials, and were apparently allowed into both facilities without delay. The inspectors spent about four hours at each location, and left without making any statements.
While dozens of journalists followed the teams to each site, Iraqi officials stopped them from actually entering the facilities.
On Wednesday, the inspectors visited three sites, including a heavy machinery workshop, a graphite factory and a missile site. Afterward, the inspectors said they were treated courteously, and were given full access to the facilities without delay.
The U.S. Security Council has told Iraq it must comply with its resolution demanding that it give up any nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, or face serious consequences. President Bush has said Iraq must disarm or the United States will act, unilaterally if necessary, to disarm Iraq.
Iraq has until December 8 to report to the Security Council any nuclear, chemical or biological weapons it has in its possession. Baghdad insists it has no weapons of mass destruction.