WASHINGTON, Mar 30, 2003 (AP)
American forces are searching a terrorist compound in northeastern Iraq that was probably the site where militants made a biological toxin, traces of which were later found by police in London, the Pentagon’s top general said Sunday.
U.S. and British forces now control the compound, which belongs to the group Ansar al-Islam, said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, describing it as a site “where Ansar al-Islam and al-Qaida had been working on poisons.”
“We think that’s probably (from) where the ricin that was found in London came,” he told CNN’s “Late Edition.” “At least the operatives and maybe some of the formulas came from this site.”
British police raided a London apartment in January and found traces of ricin, a powerful poison made from the beans of the castor plant. U.S. officials have said since shortly after that raid that they believed the poison and those arrested were linked to Ansar, which operated in a small enclave inside territory controlled by autonomous Kurdish factions in northern Iraq.
U.S. officials said before the war that they had evidence that Ansar had tested chemical and biological weapons on livestock and possibly on people at the site.