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Inspectors probe Iraq military plant, base

Baghdad, Nov. 30 (Reuters): UN arms inspectors examined two Iraqi military industrial plants and an army base today, trying to enforce a resolution that gives Iraq one last chance to disarm or face war.

In a third day of inspections, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts spent three hours at the military complex run by the Public Company of the Mother of All Battles, at Yusoufiyyah, some 15 km south of Baghdad.

The company, named after Iraq’s term for the 1991 Gulf War, is an arm of the state’s Military Industrialisation Commission (MIC) in charge of developing weapons. Plant officials say it produces light machinery, including spare parts for vehicles.

The chief of the site, Hussein Hamoudi, told reporters the inspectors wanted to make sure the company was not producing banned weapons. He said they checked cameras and sealed equipment installed by previous inspection teams.

Hamoudi said the inspectors took some samples from the complex, which was bombed during a December 1998 US and British campaign against Iraq. He denied the plant ever produced weapons of mass destruction.

Iraqi guards barred journalists from entering the large complex, where portraits of President Saddam Hussein stood at the gates.

But they also barred a government vehicle from entering the facility while the inspectors worked inside, in line with a policy of imposing a “freeze” on sites under inspection.

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