Iraqi Army raid nets 3 tons TNT and 120 insurgents

DefenseLINK News:

A 3-ton cache of TNT and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition are off the streets of Iraq following an Iraqi army raid near Jurf al-Sakher on March 25, Iraqi military officials reported.

A press statement from Iraq’s Defense Ministry said 121 suspects were detained in the raid, conducted by the Iraqi army’s 8th Division, based in Karbala.

Besides the TNT, Iraqi soldiers seized 624 rifles, 250,000 light ammunition rounds, 22,000 medium rounds, 193 rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, 300 RPG rockets, 27 82 mm mortar tubes, and 155 82 mm mortar rounds.

Today, Task Force Liberty soldiers found about 200 60 mm mortar rounds and two tank rounds north of Baqubah. The soldiers, from the task force’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, transported the munitions to a coalition base for destruction.


One of the reasons Saddam had a hard time accounting for his WMD

AP:

An Iraqi scientist has told U.S. interrogators that her team destroyed Iraq's stock of anthrax in 1991 by dumping it practically at the gates of one of Saddam's main palaces, but never told U.N. inspectors for fear of angering the dictator.
Rihab Rashid Taha's decision in 2003 to remain silent stoked suspicions of those who contended Iraq still harbored biological weapons, contributing to the U.S. decision to invade Iraq two years ago this month.
"Whether those involved understood the significance and disastrous consequences of their actions is unclear," the CIA-led Iraq Survey Group says of Mrs. Taha and colleagues in its final report on the search for Iraq weapons. "These efforts demonstrate the problems that existed on both sides in establishing the truth."

...

The Iraqis said they destroyed all of the anthrax in mid-1991 at their bioweapons center at Hakam, 50 miles southwest of Baghdad.
The U.N. specialists, who scoured Iraq for banned arms from 1991 to 1998 and again in 2002 and 2003, confirmed anthrax had been dumped at Hakam. But they also found indications that Iraq had produced an additional, undeclared 1,800 gallons of anthrax.
In early 2003, chief inspector Hans Blix put the seeming discrepancy high on his list of Iraq's "unresolved disarmament issues," complaining that Iraqis must be withholding information. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell dwelled on an anthrax threat in his February 2003 speech seeking U.N. Security Council authority for war.

...

The British-educated Mrs. Taha, who ran the Hakam complex in the 1980s, told interrogators her staff carted off anthrax from Hakam in April 1991 and stored it in a bungalow near the presidential palace at Radwaniyah, 20 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. teams report.
Later that year, the crew dumped the chemically deactivated anthrax on grounds surrounded by a Special Republican Guard barracks near the palace, the report says.
Australian microbiologist Rod Barton, who took part in Iraq Survey Group interrogations, said in a recent Australian Broadcasting Corp. interview that the disposal was carried out in July 1991, when Iraqi orders were issued to destroy all bioweapons agents immediately.
Then, through the years, Mrs. Taha and other Iraqi officials denied the "missing" anthrax ever existed.
"The members of the program were too fearful to tell the regime that they had dumped deactivated anthrax within sight of one of the principal presidential palaces," the Iraq Survey Group says.
The problem with this story is that the only accounting comes from people who admit they lied about the matter in the past.


Video shows Hairi bombing

The Australian:

THE crucial closed-circuit TV footage showing the moment when former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri died has at last been made public, casting increasing doubt on the official version of the assassination.

The pictures, screened on the al-Arabiya satellite network and recorded 40 days ago, show a white truck, presumed to be the vehicle used by Hariri's killers, driving from the scene just as his motorcade approaches.

Even as the truck pulls out of range, the screen goes white from the explosion of the 1000kg bomb that devastated central Beirut.

The images indicate that the first account of the assassination, which traced it to a suicide car bomb, was almost certainly false, and that the explosives that killed Hariri and 19 others in his party were buried in advance under the road.

This lends new weight to the conclusions of a UN report on the bombing, which blamed the local security services for negligence and only just stopped short of implicating Syria.


Hamas trining in Syria

AP:

A 20-year-old Palestinian recruited from a mosque in Gaza by Hamas militants told The Associated Press in a jailhouse interview Tuesday that he received weeks of military training in a Hamas camp in Syria this year.

The allegations by Osama Mattar, now in Israeli custody, mark the first time a Palestinian has spoken publicly about being trained in Syria, and contradict repeated Syrian denials.

The training base outside Damascus was far from secret and was once even inspected by Syrian intelligence agents, Mattar said.

"They know very well about the presence of Hamas," he said. "What they may not have known about was the presence of a guy from Gaza coming to train at the training camp in Syria."

Israel has long accused Syria of allowing Palestinian militants to train there and offered up Mattar - arrested March 2 as he tried to cross back into Gaza - as proof.

Israeli officials also said the timeframe of Mattar's five-week training, which ended in mid-February, proved Hamas was not serious about halting attacks on Israel. Mattar disagreed, saying his trip had been planned months before any talk of a cease-fire.

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