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Inspectors target eight Iraq sites

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An Iraqi soldier shouts anti-U.S slogans during a military parade.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.N. inspectors have deployed to at least eight sites in Iraq in their ongoing search for weapons of mass destruction amid the growing threat of military action against the country.

Nuclear teams on Wednesday visited the Al Kufa, Al Samawa and Karbala cement factories -- all south of Baghdad, according to Iraq's information ministry.

Inspectors specializing in chemical weapons went to the Tareq facility about 90 kilometers (56 miles) northwest of Baghdad, reportedly the site of Iraqi biological and chemical tests.

A biological team stopped at the College of Medicine at Saddam University in Baghdad.

Missile experts went to the Al Mamoun factory about 60 kilometers south of Baghdad -- a site used in the production of solid fuel rockets that had been dismantled by UNSCOM (United Nations Special Commission) -- weapons inspectors who operated in Iraq after the end of the Gulf War until 1998.

Other inspection teams were at the Ninevah drug factory in Mosul, north of Baghdad, and at a maintenance workshop, belonging to the Ministry of Irrigation in the Iraqi capital.

The site inspections come as the United States and Britain continue to move troops to the Persian Gulf region to pressure Iraq to comply with U.N. resolutions demanding it give up its pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon is also moving senior military planners to a base in the emirate of Qatar in preparation for a possible conflict with Iraq, military officials have told CNN.

Separately, four people representing the families of victims of September 11 have arrived in Baghdad on a peace mission.

A top Iraqi official hailed the peace delegation's visit.

"Many, many honest women and men in the world do not believe the lies which are being fabricated in Washington and London and this is a very important international development," said Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.

They are scheduled to visit the Amriyah shelter, site of a U.S. airstrike in February 1991 that killed hundreds of Iraqis, including women and children.

Pentagon officials said President Bush has yet to make a decision to go to war.

Inspectors
Inspectors walk past barrels at an oil research center east of Baghdad.

But thousands of U.S. troops have been ordered to the region in recent weeks, and Britain has announced the activation of about 1,500 reservists and the deployment of additional naval vessels to the Persian Gulf Tuesday in preparation for possible action. (Full story)

The United States currently has nearly 65,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in the region, hoping to press Iraq to comply with the U.N. resolutions.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has repeated suggestions that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein go into exile to avoid a war.

"I still hope that he'll leave. And I hope that the country will be disarmed, and I hope that force will not have to be used. But in the meantime, we'll keep flowing forces," he said.



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