BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. troops raided a suspected insurgent chemical weapons factory in northern Iraq, finding about 1,500 gallons of dangerous substances, the U.S. military said Saturday.
Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a military spokesman, said 11 chemicals were found in the hideout in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, “which are dangerous by themselves, and mixed together they would become even more dangerous.”
“Our feeling at this point is that had this stuff been mixed and used, it could have been very easily used against Iraqi and coalition forces,” Boylan said.
The military cautioned in a statement, however, that ongoing testing at the facility was “insufficient to determine what the insurgents had been producing” and that further tests were required.
Also Saturday, bombs and gunfights killed at least 12 people, and a U.S. armored vehicle was set ablaze in eastern Baghdad. No American casualties were reported.
U.S. troops, acting on a tip from detainees under interrogation, raided the building Tuesday, the statement said. The military did not say if anyone was detained in the raid and said it was investigating which insurgent group was operating the facility.
The military has found many suspected chemical sites in the past, none of which ended up containing chemical or biological weapons. Testing of such sites can take several days.
Boylan said the materials did not appear to be linked to Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime.
•Four civilians died when a roadside bomb exploded near Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, police said. Two Iraqi police officers also were shot to death in Samarra.
•Police Maj. Ahmed Kamil was killed in an ambush in Baghdad.
•An Iraqi soldier was shot to death in the Dora district of south Baghdad, police said, while a civilian was killed in a bombing there.
•An unidentified man was found dead in Baghdad’s Sadr City area. His hands were cuffed and he had been shot in the head and legs, police said.