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Inspectors comb Iraq lab

Baghdad, Nov. 28 (Reuters): UN experts inspected an animal vaccine production lab and an active munitions factory near Baghdad today, the second day of a hunt for suspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The inspections appeared to proceed smoothly, just as they did yesterday when the weapons inspectors resumed work in Iraq after a four-year gap.

Russia expressed satisfaction at the “successful start” of the inspections and hailed the “mood of constructive cooperation” between Iraq and the UN experts.

The US has threatened a military assault on Iraq if President Saddam Hussein obstructed the inspections.

Iraq has denied possessing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction, a stance Washington has questioned.

Two teams of inspectors accompanied by Iraqi officials spent several hours in both facilities, talking to employees, checking equipment and taking samples.

There was no comment from the inspectors on today’s mission. Witnesses and Iraqi officials said it went smoothly.

A group of inspectors spent four hours at a foot and mouth vaccination laboratory in the Dora area south of Baghdad. The once government-run facility has been defunct since weapons inspectors dismantled its equipment in 1996.

Another team spent little over three hours at Nasr (Victory) complex in the Taji area, some 25 km north of the capital, where there are factories producing light conventional ammunition and heavy civilian machinery.

Journalists in dozens of cars were involved in hot pursuit of the inspection teams. They followed the teams to the sites in high-speed car chases, but Iraqi guards again stopped them from entering the facilities.

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