- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 26, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 26 (UPI) — International arms inspectors spread out Sunday, searching for banned weapons at two companies linked to Iraq's military industry, a university and a refinery.

The continued inspections come one day before a detailed report is to be submitted to the U.N Security Council on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction programs. The report, to be submitted by U.N chief inspector Hans Blix and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed Baradei, is expected to evaluate the process of inspections in the past two months.

A group of U.N biological weapons experts visited a national center for the prevention of the "cow's plague" in Baghdad, while another group visited an educational institution in the capital's center.

A group of chemical weapons experts visited al-Basel Co., which falls under Iraq's military industry, in an eastern suburb of Baghdad.

An information ministry statement said a group of nuclear experts from the IAEA "carried out a wide-scale search" in Salman Bak, 25 miles south of Baghdad.

Another IAEA team searched Umm al-Maarek (Mother of all Battles) Co., of Iraq's military industry, and a group also visited Mosul University, 280 miles north of the capital.

A joint team of ballistics, chemical and biological weapons experts visited al-Jazira Refinery in Biji, 137 miles north of Baghdad.

Around 70 inspectors on Saturday searched eight sites across the country, and interviewed one scientist in the presence of an Iraqi representative. Two other scientists refused to be privately interviewed, despite 90 minutes of negotiations to persuade them to do so.

The Babel daily newspaper, run by President Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, said Sunday the U.S. administration was "facing a real impasse represented in failing to find countries to finance or send soldiers to die along with the American troops in the expected war on Iraq."

The paper said the United States was unable to find funds or soldiers because the "initial criminal American aim was to change the regime in Iraq, and did not know that the plane, missile and modern technology does not change a regime."

It went on to say that "this means they have to occupy the country, whose national regime these losers want to change. That also means they have to bring their soldiers to confront death at the hands of Iraqi heroes."

The al-Thawra daily, a mouthpiece for the ruling Arab Socialist Baath Party, said Iraq was prepared to "sacrifice in defense of its sovereignty, security, independence and right to live a free and dignified life … and continue on the path of progress and revival."

On Saturday, an Iraqi man tried to storm the headquarters of the U.N inspectors in Baghdad, while another raided one of the inspectors' cars trying to seize documents inside the vehicle. Iraqi security officers arrested the two young men, but no information was available on their motives.


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