US COMMANDERS said yesterday that they would need "detailed intelligence" to find the arsenal of weapons of mass destruction which they continue to insist has been hidden in Iraq.
The comments came shortly before US Marine combat engineers were reported by Fox TV - in the latest of a series of unconfirmed finds - to have found what could be weapons-grade plutonium at a site south of Baghdad called Al-Tuwaitha, a previously known weapons site visited several times by UN inspectors.
Twenty-two days after the invasion of Iraq, British and American forces have yet to confirm a finding of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq has strongly denied that it holds any chemical, biological or long-range ballistic missiles, in violation of UN resolutions. The Iraqis also say they have abandoned attempts to produce a nuclear weapon.
But Maj-Gen Victor Renuart, the US director of operations, said that "many of the places where weapons of mass destruction might be hidden are not obvious. We are going to have to use detailed intelligence and detective work to find them". US commanders have suggested that evidence might not come to light until the regime had fallen.
US Central Command in Qatar said that experts were still investigating two possible chemical finds on Monday - including 20 medium-range missiles which National Public Radio (NPR) in America reported could be equipped with sarin and mustard gas. …