- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 6 (UPI) — Iraq said it destroyed six surface-to-surface al-Samoud 2 missiles Thursday, increasing to 34 the number of such rockets destroyed since Saturday.

An information ministry spokesman said the operation, which was carried out at al-Taji military site north of Baghdad, was supervised by inspectors from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and lasted 4 1/2 ours.

The al-Samoud 2 missiles are being scrapped on instructions from Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, because their range exceed the 93-mile limit set over Iraq by the United Nations.

The spokesman said more missiles would be destroyed Friday, but did not disclose how many. U.N. chief arms inspector Hans Blix has said Iraq initially possessed 120 al-Samoud 2 missiles.

Meanwhile, UNMOVIC and International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors searched nine sites Thursday suspected of producing weapons of mass destruction.

Among the sites visited by the inspectors were two factories run by Iraq's department of military industries and a private company in a Baghdad neighborhood.

Nuclear experts also conducted a survey of the region of Husseinieh, 16 miles east of the Iraqi capital, and a chemical inspection team surveyed a gas factory in the oil city of Kirkouk, 180 miles north of Baghdad.

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