United Nations inspectors searched for banned weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at two military complexes Saturday -- as Baghdad held military training exercises to prepare for possible war.
The inspection teams visited two military sites north of Baghdad while others searched pharmaceutical and medical companies elsewhere in Iraq for evidence of chemical or biological weapons. As usual, U-N officials declined to comment on the results of the searches.
Iraqi state newspapers on Saturday say military maneuvers including live fire exercises had been conducted around the country to prepare for possible U-S led attack.
Meanwhile, the British aircraft carrier H-M-S Royal left England today to head what London says is its biggest naval deployment in 20 years. The Royal will join other ships for training exercises off the coast of Malaysia before the group sails on to the Gulf region. The British ships will carry some eight-thousand troops.
The naval deployment comes one day after U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called up 35-thousand more American troops for possible war in Iraq. U-S officials say the Pentagon also has been sending electronic mail (e-mail) to Iraqi generals, warning them against carrying out any order from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to use chemical or germ warfare against allied troops.
The United States and Britain have vowed to disarm Iraq by force, if necessary, if the Iraqi dictator does not honor U-N resolutions requiring him to surrender banned weapons technology.