Saddam Gives His Troops Chemical Warfare Suits

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Byline: CHARLES REISS;PATRICK MCGOWAN

DAMNING new evidence today emerged that Saddam Hussein is equipping his elite troops for a nerve gas war.

Documents obtained by the BBC appear to show that key elements of the Iraqi army are being supplied with new chemical warfare suits.

They will also be issued, in the event of conflict, with stocks of atropine, the drug used to counter the effects of nerve gas.

The news is likely to be pounced on in London and Washington as the strongest evidence yet that Saddam has chemical warfare weaponry and is preparing, in the last resort, to use it.

The pages of notes, handwritten in Arabic, were said to have been smuggled out of the country in the past month and passed to Iraqi opposition groups in London who handed them to the BBC.

The BBC, mindful of a possible disinformation exercise, have had the documents verified by three different experts, according to its Today programme. The pages also include detailed plans for attacking ships in the Gulf. During the late Eighties the Iraqis used 122mm rockets to carry warheads containing the deadly nerve gases sarin and VX. Saddam has often denied that he still possesses chemical weapons as Iraq has been repeatedly ordered to give up all such weapons under UN resolutions dating back to 1991.

Last week the threat of war in Iraq escalated sharply after warheads designed to carry deadly chemicals were found by UN weapons inspectors. …