A roadside bomb thought to contain deadly sarin nerve agent exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday. It was believed to be the first confirmed discovery of any of the banned weapons that the United States cited in making its case for the Iraq war. Two members of a military bomb squad were treated for “minor exposure,” but no serious injuries were reported.
The chemicals were inside an artillery shell dating to the Saddam Hussein era that had been rigged as a bomb in Baghdad, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief military spokesman in Iraq. Early indications suggest that two chemical components in the shell, which are designed to combine and create sarin during flight, did not mix properly or completely upon detonation, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Kimmitt, however, said a small amount of the nerve agent was released.
This is consistent, of course, with the general findings in the Wikileaks doc dump that they were degraded left-overs from the earlier Saddam era, and not part of an ongoing stockpile program as we were all told.