Latest developments in the Iraq story

Tuesday, June 3rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


-- The new U-N representative in Iraq has met with Iraq's top U-S administrator.

-- Thousands of documents about Saddam Hussein's missiles are within easy reach of U-S investigators -- but they don't seem to want to look at them. Top secret paperwork now is swirling around outside the former headquarters of Iraq's state-owned missile manufacturer. The company designed all the missiles fired by Iraq in 1991 and again this year.

-- The U-S military says an American soldier was shot and killed while on patrol in central Iraq early Tuesday. The incident occurred near the town of Balad, about 55 miles north of Baghdad. The area around Balad is under control of the 4th Infantry Division.

-- A new report says United Nations inspectors found no evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But in his final report, chief inspector Hans Blix says they had many questions and leads to pursue when their searches were suspended just before the U-S-led invasion. The U-S and Britain have barred inspectors from returning to Iraq. They're using their own inspectors.

-- The Pentagon has ordered health screenings for every soldier, sailor, Marine and airman sent into the Iraq war. Within 30 days of their homecoming, every one will fill out a health questionnaire, review it with a health provider and give a blood sample. Army doctors have prepared a clinic in Fort Stewart, Georgia, to screen up to 400 soldiers per day once they get home, probably later this summer.

-- The International Atomic Energy Agency says a team of U-N nuclear safety experts will leave Wednesday for Iraq and should be in Baghdad by the end of the week.

-- Four U-S soldiers and five civilians on two boats were taken captive by Iranians, blindfolded and interrogated before being released Sunday. That's according to U-S Central Command. Two of the civilians are still being held. The abductions happened on the Shatt al Arab waterway in the al Faw peninsula. Officials say the boats may have strayed into Iranian waters.


-- The rebuilding of Iraq is at a political turning point. A U-N representative is now in the country -- and his presence means the job of reconstructing the nation is now being spread to outside the U-S-led coalition.


-- NATO allies approved plans Monday to give logistical and intelligence support to a Polish-led force that will help U-S soldiers police central Iraq. The NATO support for the multinational force of seven-thousand to be assembled by Poland would be the alliance's first involvement in postwar Iraq.


-- Prime Minister Tony Blair faced more pressure Tuesday to explain his government's claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and some lawmakers say a formal inquiry seemed increasingly likely. Controversy has focused on a government dossier, published in September, outlining evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and plans to deploy them on 45 minutes' notice.