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Training School for Chemical, Biological Warfare Found Near Baghdad - 2003-04-04

U.S. forces in Iraq say they have found what they think may have been a training school for chemical and biological warfare southwest of Baghdad. A senior U.S. military official says U.S. troops found vials of powder, liquids and chemical warfare manuals at the facility.

Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, the main spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told reporters that U.S. special forces found thousands of boxes of white powder, nerve agent antidote and documents on how to engage in chemical warfare at an industrial site 40 kilometers southwest of Baghdad.

But he said a preliminary investigation of the facility did not suggest it was a site where chemical and biological weapons were manufactured but rather a training school in the use of such weapons. "We do have indications that they had a chemical training program in place for the Iraqi forces throughout the country," he said. "And, so, our conclusion at this point is that it was not a WMD [weapons of mass destruction] site per se. In this case, it proves to be something far less than that."

The United States and Britain have accused Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction, or WMD. But they have failed to find any since they launched their war against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on March 20.