The Polish military said today that artillery shells discovered in Iraq by Polish troops late last month contained deadly chemical weapons agents (see GSN, June 25).
In late June, Polish troops discovered 17 Grad rockets and two mortar shells filled with chemicals, according to Reuters.
“The results of ... analysis confirmed that chemical agent GB-GF, cyclosarin, was found in the shells,” the Polish-led unit of the coalition force in Iraq said in a statement on Friday. “Beyond doubt these are shells from the 1980-1988 period, of the type used against Kurds and during the Iraq-Iran war,” the unit added.
U.S. officials said yesterday that further tests were being conducted on the shells discovered by Polish troops (Reuters, July 2).
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview released yesterday that Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski told him about the discovery when they met earlier this week during a NATO summit in Turkey.
“Now these are weapons that we always knew Saddam Hussein had that he had not declared, and they have tested them,” Rumsfeld said.
A Defense Department spokesman said the discovered munitions are apparently the same weapons that chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq Charles Duelfer discussed during a June 24 television interview. Duelfer told Fox News that up to 12 shells had been found, but a U.S. official said the number might have increased since then (Agence France-Presse/SpaceWar.com, July 1).