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  US checks out 'suspicious' barrels in Iraq
Updated 27 April 2003, 12.08
US official in a gas mask
US officials say they are testing barrels of "suspicious material" found in Iraq to see if they were used to make chemical weapons.

Officials won't say where or when they found the stuff and it will be a few days until the results come through.

But some reports say 14 big unlabelled containers were found near Bayji, about 210 kms (130 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

They were discovered near missiles and gas masks, says the US.

The US is also testing what it says could be a mobile weapons lab.

The first tests show there could be traces of nerve and blistering agents or chemicals.

The problem is, many pesticides used on crops contain these agents too. So the US will have to wait until more thorough tests are done.

Suspicious materials which the US has found before have proved to be false alarms.

Osama link?

Al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden

In a separate discovery, a British newspaper reporter says he has found documents which link al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with Saddam Hussein.

The US has been suspicious for a while that the two men have worked together somehow, but have had no evidence.

But reports say the papers show an al-Qaeda official visited Baghdad after an invitation from Saddam in 1998.

The papers were apparently discovered in the wreckage of an Iraqi government building.

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Find OutWhy did the war happen?
Find OutWho is Osama bin Laden?
Find OutWhat are biochemical weapons?
Find OutFull Iraq war special section

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Iraq's neighbours want US troops to leave
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