MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – From 2004 to 2011, the US military and Iraqi troops found around 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs in Iraq created during the rule of former president Saddam Hussein in collaboration with Western countries, The New York Times reported.
At least six times troops were wounded by the chemical weapons during the period, the newspaper reported Tuesday citing American and Iraqi senior officials, as well as US intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
In all except one of the incidents, the munitions were designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled with chemical agents in factories built in Iraq by Western companies, according to the news outlet.
The actual number of chemical weapons found in Iraq may be much higher as the United States is still maintaining a silence over the issue, The New York Times reported.
One of the participants in the discoveries, Jarrod Lampier, a recently retired Army major, said that the United States suppressed knowledge of the finds because of fear of further acknowledgment it had been wrong.
“They needed something to say that after Sept. 11 Saddam used chemical rounds,” Lampier said as quoted by the newspaper. “And all of this was from the pre-1991 era.”
In 2003, a US-led coalition invaded Iraq and deposed the government of Hussein. The coalition mission was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction but two years later the Central Intelligence Agency released a report saying that no such weapons had been found in the country. In 2006, Saddam was convicted of charges related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shiites and executed.