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US examines Iraqi 'chemical weapons' factory

US forces in Iraq are examining a chemical factory in central Iraq to see if it manufactured chemical weapons,a Pentagon spokesman has said.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2003 13:29 IST

US forces in Iraq are examining a chemical factory in central Iraq to see if it manufactured chemical weapons, a Pentagon spokesman said on late Sunday.

"The factory is being checked to see what is being produced," said Pentagon spokesman lieutenant Dan Hetlage.

Earlier, officials at the US Central Command described as "premature" reports of US-led forces having discovered a "huge" chemical weapons factory in central Iraq.

US television networks ABC and Fox reported that US forces discovered the factory at An Najaf, some 160 kilometers south of Baghdad.

Fox reported that US soldiers were holding the general in charge of the site.

According to ABC News, one US official said the general could be "a potential gold mine" of information about the production and location of weapons of mass destruction that the President George W Bush has accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of hiding.

Since the US-led war was launched on Baghdad early Thursday, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.