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26 October 2004 -- The United States has defended its effort to secure weapons depots in Iraq after the revelation that some 350 tons of explosives went missing from one site.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says U.S. and coalition forces failed to secure the depot in an insurgent hotspot south of Baghdad.
State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said yesterday that 405,000 tons of explosives have been destroyed or are awaiting destruction but it was impossible to entirely secure every facility in Iraq.
"We, from the very beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, did everything we could to secure arms caches throughout the country. But given the number of arms and the number of caches and the extent of militarization of Iraq it was impossible to provide 100 percent security for 100 percent of the sites," Ereli said.
Bomb attacks in several areas of Iraq yesterday killed some 10 Iraqis along with a U.S. and an Estonian soldier. And Australian troops came under direct attack for the first time. A car bomb explosion left three Iraqi civilians dead and 16 people wounded, including three Australian soldiers.