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Pentagon Accuses Iraq of Misusing Civilian Facilities - 2003-03-25

Pentagon officials say the list of what they call Iraqi deceptions is growing.

U.S. Marines have secured a hospital in Nasariyah that was being used as a military staging area by Iraqi forces.

In a statement, the Marines are said to have detained about 170 Iraqi soldiers at the facility who were wearing mostly civilian clothing.

But they say they found over 200 weapons plus stockpiles of ammunition along with chemical suits and masks as well as uniforms. The Marines also found a T-55 tank on the hospital grounds.

No civilians were found at the facility.

Other military sources say they have evidence Iraqi troops have been using ambulances or other vehicles marked with the traditional red cross to transport military personnel and equipment.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calls such actions "acts of treachery". Misuse of a protected symbol like the red cross is a violation of the Geneva conventions.