US State Secretary Colin Powell declared that the US-British troops control almost the entire territory of Iraq with the exception of the zone around Baghdad. He said this on Tuesday in an interview with the French TV-3 television company. The shorthand record of this interview was circulated in Washington by the US State Department. Colin Powell said he did not know whether Saddam Hussein would use weapons of mass destruction against the US-British troops.
Rumours have been spread that there exists a certain district around Baghdad, and if the US troops enter it, he [Hussein] will use chemical weapons, the State Secretary noted.
If he uses it [chemical weapons] the offensive will not be stopped, Powell stressed and added that this would show to the whole world that Hussein possesses this prohibited weapon.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building