A team of U.N. weapons experts left Iraq Tuesday after destroying hundreds of leaking chemical warheads and finding many more buried under rubble from gulf war bombing, officials said.
The team destroyed more than 460 dangerously leaking 122mm rockets at a munitions site in southern Iraq's marshland at Khamiffiyah, near the city of Nasirriyah, the U.N. officials said.Under the cease-fire accords, U.N. teams are destroying Iraq's chemical and biological weapons, its nuclear arms program and missiles with a range greater than about 90 miles.
Iraq also has given in to U.N. demands that it destroy all production facilities for those programs or have the United Nations supervise their conversion to civilian manufacturing plants.
U.N. officials have charged Saddam Hussein's government with trying to hide many of its terror weapons and impeding the work of the U.N. teams. Another U.N. team is still in Iraq checking Baghdad's claims that "substantial" numbers of Scud missiles were destroyed last June.
Iraq previously told the United Nations some 2,160 artillery shells and rockets armed with chemical warheads were stored at Khamiffiyah. It said it knew of more than 460 exposed or partly buried shells and rockets.
The U.N. team destroyed the 460 declared warheads. In the process, it found many more buried deeper in the ground or under rubble caused by allied bombing in the war.
The official said some munitions had been buried deliberately, probably to try to protect them during the war.