U-N arms inspectors are broadening their search for banned weapons to northern and southern Iraq.
A team of inspectors set up a new office in the city of Mosulon Saturday so they can more easily conduct searches in the north. A spokesman says the inspectors will be based at Mosul's Nineveh Palace hotel until a more permanent office can be opened.
Another team inspected an agricultural college in the southern port city of Basra, which is located near the Persian Gulf and Iraq's borders with Kuwait and Iran. Other sites checked today include three plants around Baghdad.
Iraqi officials say the U-N inspectors have visited 230 sites since they returned in late November for the first time in four years. The inspectors are to report their findings to the U-N Security Council by January 27th.
The chief U-N weapons inspector, Hans Blix, says he will raise several questions about Iraq's recent weapons declaration when he meets with Iraqi officials in Baghdad later this month, before the U-N report is finalized. Iraq sent a 12-thousand page weapons declaration to the U-N Security Council nearly one month ago.
Meanwhile, for the second time in three days U-S and British planes have dropped propaganda leaflets over southern Iraq. The leaflets list radio frequencies that broadcast messages urging Iraqis to oppose Saddam Hussein
President Bush has threatened military action against Iraq if Baghdad is found to have weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies it still has such weapons, but President Bush says the United States has evidence proving otherwise.
Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has accused the United States of trying to destabilize Iraq by giving military training to Iraqi opposition groups. In a letter to U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mr. Sabri says the training violates international laws on the sovereignty of nations. The letter was published by Iraq's official press on Saturday.
The United States continues to build up its forces in the Persian Gulf region in case of war with Iraq. The U-S military is expected to have about 100-thousand personnel in the region by the end of January. A London newspaper (The Daily Telegraph) reports that Britain plans to order 20-thousand troops to the region this week.