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Report: Trailers were mobile arms labs

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 29, 2003

WASHINGTON - The nation's top spy agencies produced new details Wednesday intended to show that two suspicious tractor-trailers discovered in northern Iraq last month were almost certainly mobile weapons laboratories.

A report by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency cited the discovery of the vehicles as "the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program," while acknowledging that analysis has turned up no residue suggesting that the labs were ever used to produce biological agents.

The report also said that a fermenter on one of the vehicles bore a manufacturing stamp from earlier this year, which intelligence officials cited as evidence that Iraq was still pursuing a biological weapons program weeks before the war.

Anti-U.S. rioting reported

HEET, Iraq - In the third consecutive day of Iraqi violence against the U.S. military occupation of the country, residents enraged over house-to-house searches in this town of about 20,000, 100 miles west of Baghdad, ransacked the police station, stoned U.S. armored military vehicles and set police cars on fire Wednesday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. The Pentagon said it was aware of anti-American disturbances in several cities Wednesday, including Heet.

Some Heet residents said that an American helicopter providing air cover for the operation crashed in the village of Albu Assah, 3 miles west of the town, but the Pentagon said it was skeptical about the accounts.

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