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‘Libyan site concealed beneath mountain’
|The United States has concluded that Libya built a weapons of mass destruction facility in a huge underground lair.
U.S. intelligence sources said on 20 Dec. that Libya built a chemical weapons site near Tarhuna. The facility, the sources said, is located under a mountain.
Libya obtained help in the construction of the facility from Pyongyang. North Korea is known to be a leading expert in the construction of underground sites and tunnels meant to conceal missiles and WMD for several nations in the region, Middle East Newsline reported.
The sources said U.S. spy satellites first detected the construction of the facility in 1997. Within three years, officials determined it was a chemical weapons factory and that work on it had been completed.
The U.S. intelligence community, the sources said, has not determined whether the facility became operational. The sources cited the United Nations embargo on Tripoli as well as low oil prices, which limited Libya's funding for military and strategic programs.
But the sources said the Tarhuna facility is believed to have once again been the target of development in the aftermath of the UN decision to lift sanctions from Tripoli in 1999.
The sources said the regime of Col. Mu'ammar Gaddafi has been negotiating with European firms for dual-use equipment that could help Libya's chemical weapons program. The sources said the Bush administration is reviewing the Tarhuna project as part of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. They said it would be difficult to destroy the chemical weapons facility without a ground invasion (worldtribune). q
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