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POLAND

Terrorists sought Iraqi weapons, general says

WARSAW -- Terrorists may have been close to obtaining munitions containing the deadly nerve agent cyclosarin that Polish soldiers recovered last month in Iraq, the head of Poland's military intelligence said yesterday.

But in Iraq, the US military said trace amounts of the nerve agent found in a cache of rockets dating back to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war were so deteriorated they would have had ''little to no impact if used by insurgents."

Polish troops had been searching for munitions as part of their regular mission in south-central Iraq when they were told by an informant in May that terrorists had made a bid to buy the chemical weapons, General Marek Dukaczewski said in Warsaw.

''We were mortified by the information that terrorists were looking for these warheads and offered $5,000 apiece," Dukaczewski said. ''An attack with such weapons would be hard to imagine."

Dukaczewski refused to give any further details about the terrorists or the sellers of the munitions, saying only that his troops thwarted terrorists by purchasing the 17 rockets for a Soviet-era launcher and two mortar rounds containing the nerve agent for an undisclosed sum June 23.

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