The Pentagon is taking a cautious, wait-and-see approach to reports of possible chemical weapons finds by coalition forces in Iraq.

U.S. military officials are testing samples from suspected chemical weapons sites in Iraq, including some barrels found near Karbala in the central part of the country and thought to contain nerve agents. But Pentagon officials are not leaping to any conclusions. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says it's prudent to wait. "We don't do first reports and we don't speculate," he says. "And I can tell you it takes days to get samples of things from wherever they are in the battlefield into a first place where they take a look, and then to a second place where things get checked."

But Mr. Rumsfeld does now believe a notorious Iraqi general linked to the use of poison gas against Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988 is dead. The General,

Ali Hassan al-Majid, was apparently killed in an coalition air strike on his home in southern Iraq