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17 May 2004 -- The U.S. military today said that an artillery round containing sarin nerve gas exploded after it was discovered by a U.S. convoy in Iraq.

U.S. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said U.S. forces found the shell, which he said had been rigged as a roadside bomb.

"The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-millimeter artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found. The round had been rigged as an IED [improvised explosive device] which was discovered by a U.S. force convoy. A detonation occurred before that IED could be rendered inoperable. This produced a very small dispersal of agent," Kimmit said.

Kimmitt said two soldiers were treated for "minor exposure to nerve agents" after the shell exploded.

Reuters quoted Kimmitt as saying the incident occurred a few days ago. Kimmitt did not say where the shell was found.

(AFP/Reuters)
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