U.S. military commander in northern Iraq, Major General David Petraeus has confirmed the discovery of what appears to be another mobile biological weapons laboratory. Major General Petraeus, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division, says the latest mobile lab is the second found by American forces.
Speaking via a satellite link with reporters at the Pentagon, General Petraeus says it was discovered last Friday (May 9) in the Mosul area, and is virtually identical to one found earlier by U.S. Special Forces in northern Iraq.
"The expert I talked to this morning said that he had a reasonable degree of certainty that this is in fact a mobile biological agent production trailer," said General Petraeus. "The layout is nearly identical to the first trailer that was found. It contains a 5,000 PSI compressor, 2,000-liter reactor vessel, small feed tank, 3,000-liter water tank, and water chiller."
But the General says the experts do not believe the latest lab discovered was actually a finished product. He says several welds were not finished and some parts were missing. He says a plate on the trailer had a manufacture date of 2003 and a serial number of two. The other lab had a 2002 manufacture date and the serial number one.
He says the newly-found lab is being moved to Baghdad for further examination by a team from the United States that includes civilian experts. The first trailer found has already been transported to the Iraqi capital.
No actual chemical or biological weapons have yet been found, but discovery of the two mobile labs is considered the most conclusive evidence yet of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. The need to eliminate such weapons was one of the key justifications offered by the Bush administration for attacking Iraq.
In recent days coalition forces have also apprehended some key scientists allegedly involved in making such weapons, including two microbiologists suspected of engineering Iraq's germ warfare effort.