The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Baghdad begins to stock up

Baghdad, Dec. 26 (Reuters): Iraq has increased food rations to let citizens stock up for a possible war with the US, trade minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh said.

The Iraqi military said US and British warplanes today killed three persons and wounded 16 when they bombed civilian targets, including a mosque, in southern Iraq. The US military said the planes attacked Iraqi military command and control facilities after Iraqi aircraft violated the southern “no-fly” zone.

Saleh said supplies distributed so far should ensure everyone had a stockpile to last three months. “And we are going to increase the quantity in the coming months so that everybody is secured in this regard.”

UN arms inspectors, on a mission that may prove crucial in deciding whether a war takes place, checked at least three sites for signs of weapons of mass destruction and questioned scientists at Baghdad’s Technological University.

The inspectors, whose next report to the UN Security Council is due on January 9, have not taken a break for a Christmas season marked by appeals for peace from Christian religious leaders.

The pressure for rapid and aggressive inspections has come from the US, which has threatened to go to war if Iraq cannot prove it has scrapped all its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes, as required by UN resolutions.

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