BAGHDAD, Iraq — The U.S. military is trying to determine if more than 1,500 gallons of chemicals found this week at an abandoned storage site in northern Iraq were being used to make weapons, a military spokesman told CNN on Saturday.
The chemicals are commonly used for industrial purposes, but could potentially be combined to produce weapons, said Lt. Col. Jackson McRae, deputy public affairs director for multinational forces in Iraq.
He said not enough information indicates the site, which appeared to have been abandoned six weeks ago, was a chemical weapons facility.
“We have nothing to indicate there’s anything specifically going on here,” he said. “We’re still just in the process of analyzing things and trying to get intelligence to find out just what was going on.”
McRae said the investigation was in its early stages.
“My experts are still up there or on the way back,” he said. “We haven’t received anything conclusive except to say they have found some chemicals.”
The list of chemicals included glycerin, sodium hydroxide and ethanol sulfate, he said.
Task Force Freedom, which is based in Mosul, conducted raids Tuesday using information obtained in detainee interrogations, according to a military news release.
McRae said he did not believe that conventional weapons had been found on the site.
The U.S. military has found many suspected chemical sites in the past, none of which contained chemical or biological weapons, The Associated Press reported, adding that testing can take several days.
Insurgents have been very active in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
On Sunday, the U.S. military said 32 people were detained and one suspected insurgent was killed in raids last weekend.