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UN report: Iraq's missiles fly too far

A United Nations weapons inspector takes notes Wednesday at the Mahmoudia water processing plant south of Baghdad.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- An international group of experts has determined that Iraqi missiles can fly farther than allowed under U.N. resolutions, a Security Council diplomat said Wednesday.

The experts from France, Germany, Britain, the United States, China and Ukraine delivered the report to chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix Wednesday after two days of meetings to determine if Iraqi missiles were in violation of U.N. resolutions.

But Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said, as he arrived in Italy ahead of an audience with the pope, the missiles did not break U.N. rules.

"We are still within limits that are decided by the United Nations. (They are) not very dangerous and must not be exaggerated. There is no serious violation."

UNMOVIC had previously said 13 out of 40 recent tests of the Al Samoud missile went beyond the permitted range. UNMOVIC told Iraq to stop testing two missile systems, including the Al Samoud, until the U.N. analysis was completed.

According to the Security Council diplomat, Blix will refer to the report when he addresses the council Friday. The report says Iraq's Al Samoud 2 missile "went beyond" the 150 kilometers (93 miles) allowed by the United Nations.

Russia, China, France and Germany -- four countries opposed to immediate U.S. military action in Iraq -- will send their foreign ministers to New York for the Security Council briefing.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, Belgium, NATO failed again to reach agreement on a plan that would send U.S. surveillance planes, Patriot missiles and chemical and biological detection teams to Turkey to protect it from neighboring Iraq.

NATO diplomats said the emergency talks -- in their third day Wednesday -- would resume Thursday. (Full story)

In Baghdad, U.N. weapons inspectors were to begin destroying 10 artillery shells filled with potentially deadly mustard gas -- weapons that were discovered and counted by previous inspection teams in the mid-1990s but never destroyed.

Working with an Iraqi team, the destruction process is expected to take four or five days. Previous inspectors were unable to destroy the shells before the inspection teams pulled out of Iraq in 1998.

And in Washington, D.C., CIA Director George Tenet told a Senate committee the United States is looking at whether the purported new audiotape from Osama bin Laden "is a signal of a pending attack."

"What he said has often been followed by attacks," Tenet said, "which I think corroborates everything in what we are seeing in terms of raising the threat warning, in terms of the specific information we had at our disposal last week." (Full story)

On Tuesday, a day before Tenet addressed the Senate committee, an audiotape purported to contain the voice of bin Laden issued a call to arms for Muslims to fight against any U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The tape offered battle strategies aimed at causing the highest number of American casualties.

The 16-minute audiotaped message believed to be from the al Qaeda leader was broadcast on the Qatar-based, Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera. (Full story)

"Our brothers the mujahedeen in Iraq, don't worry about America's lies and their powers and their military might," the recording said. "We also advise you to drag the forces into fighting you in street fights. Take them into farms, into cities, and fight them in there. They will be losing a lot of lives." (Iraqi military movements)

Baghdad repeatedly has denied any ties to bin Laden and al Qaeda. "I think that this subject, although a dangerous one to comment on, is not worth addressing," Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said in an interview on Lebanese television on Wednesday.

"Just after September 11, the first liar, the No. 1 liar, Bush, appeared and said Iraq has a connection with al Qaeda," he said. "Every investigation has shown that not even by coincidence has one Iraqi citizen been involved with September 11."

For more on late developments in the Iraq story, see's Iraq Tracker.

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