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Iraq Lodges Complaint Over Bombing, UN Inspectors Continue Work


While Iraq was lodging an official complaint with the United Nations over Sunday's bombing of an oil field in the southern part of the country, U.N. weapons inspectors were busy on their fifth day of work.

The inspectors focused on two sites near Baghdad. One of the sites was a factory that had been used to make guidance systems for now-banned long-range SCUD missiles. The other was a distillery that makes alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is a component of many chemical weapons.

It was the fifth day in the hunt by U.N. inspectors for weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological, and chemical, as well as any facilities that are capable of producing them. Iraq insists it possesses no such weapons.

As has been the case since the weapons inspectors began their work last Wednesday they had no comment following the visits.

The inspectors are working under a U.N. Security Council resolution that gives them the power to go anywhere at any time to search suspected weapons sites, which could total as many as 700.

Iraq is facing a Sunday deadline to submit a complete list of all weapons of mass destruction in its possession.

In the meantime, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan complaining that Sunday's U.S. and British air raids in southern Iraq marked an escalation of hostilities.

Allied forces bombed an oil installation. Iraqi authorities say the raid killed four people and injured 27. The U.S. military said its planes launched precision-guided weapons at Iraqi air defense systems and always took precautions to avoid harming civilians.

U.S. and British forces have been enforcing no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq since the conclusion of the Gulf war in 1991.

Mr. Sabri said the bombing, in the southern port city of Basra, violated Security Council resolutions and amounted to what he said was "state terrorism, wanton aggression" and interference in Iraq's internal affairs.