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Al-Qaida in Iraq chemical weapon plot uncovered

BAGHDAD, June 2 (UPI) — Iraqi officials say they arrested five men suspected of an al-Qaida plot to make and use chemical weapons, and smuggle them into Europe and North America.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said military intelligence had monitored the activity of the five men for three months, and found workshops for creating sarin and mustard gas. Officials also seized toy airplanes from the workshops from which the chemical agents could be released over their intended targets from a safe distance, the BBC reported Saturday.

The location of the workshops were not reported.

Al-Askari said all five men confessed to the plot and said they were instructed by an al-Qaida offshoot.

Al-Qaida in Iraq is believed to be the only offshoot of the Islamic militant group to have used chemical weapons, the BBC reported. The group detonated 16 crude chlorine bombs between October 2006 and June 2007.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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