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Golden gun linked to Saddam found: Report

A gold-plated gun given to one of Saddam Hussein's henchmen has been seized at London's Heathrow Airport.

world Updated: Apr 18, 2003 13:10 IST

A gold-plated gun given to one of Saddam Hussein's henchmen has been seized at London's Heathrow Airport, a British daily said claimed.

The Kalashnikov AK47 found on Thursday was similar to the one uncovered at the palace of Saddam's son, Uday, in Baghdad last week, according to The Daily Mirror tabloid.

The loaded assault rifle was discovered along with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, six bayonets and a sniper rifle in packages marked as computer equipment, the newspaper said.

A spokesman for Customs and Excise said only: "A quantity of arms was found at Heathrow and investigations are ongoing."

The Mirror said the arms are believed to have been stolen for the US black market in war trophies.

An unnamed source told the paper that the gun was loaded, bubble wrapped along with a spare magazine and was bound for an address in the US but was picked up by an X-ray machine.

The Mirror said the guns arrived on a British Airways flight from Kuwait and were found yesterday at the Heathrow Terminal Four cargo transfer depot, which was evacuated.

However Richard Goodfellow, spokesman for BA said their security personnel knew nothing about the find and the carrier had stopped flights from Kuwait last month.

"We don't fly from Kuwait. Flights to there were suspended a month ago around mid-March," he said.

A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police said the matter was being dealt with by customs officers.

Terry Gander, editor of Jane's Infantry Weapons told the Mirror: "You could name your price for a gold Kalashnikov linked to Saddam. There's a thriving black market in war trophies."

Gold-plated weapons were uncovered in Iraq last week.

They were discovered in palaces belonging to Saddam Hussein and his sons as allied troops overran the country.

First Published: Apr 18, 2003 08:36 IST