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Pentagon Seeks to Account for Explosives

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

An Army unit removed 250 tons of ammunition from the Al-Qaqaa weapons depot in April 2003 and later destroyed it, the company's former commander said Friday.

A Pentagon spokesman said some was of the same type as the missing explosives that have become a major issue in the presidential campaign.

But those 250 tons were not located under the seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as the missing high-grade explosives had been, and Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita could not definitely say whether they were part of the missing 377 tons.

Maj. Austin Pearson, speaking at a press conference at the Pentagon, said his team removed 250 tons of TNT, plastic explosives, detonation cords, and white phosphorous rounds on April 13, 2003, 10 days after U.S. forces first reached the Al-Qaqaa site.

"I did not see any IAEA seals at any of the locations we went into. I was not looking for that," Pearson says.

Di Rita sought to point to Pearson's comments as evidence that some RDX, one of the high-energy explosives, might have been removed from the site. RDX is also known as plastic explosive.

But Di Rita acknowledged, "I can't say RDX that was on the list of IAEA is what the major pulled out. We believe that some of the things they were pulling out of there were RDX."

Di Rita says further study was needed.


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