Police uncover weapons cache near blast site

Iraqi police have uncovered a large munitions cache in southern Iraq, near the area where a roadside bomb killed two British soldiers earlier this month.

Iraqi police have uncovered a large munitions cache in southern Iraq, near the area where a roadside bomb killed two British soldiers earlier this month.

Police received a tip-off that munitions were being stored in the town of Ad Dayr, near the southern city of Basra, Major Charlie Burbridge, a spokesman for British forces in Iraq, said last night.

A raid early on Saturday uncovered dozens of artillery and mortar rounds, as well as 100 rounds of high explosive shells of various calibre, Burbridge said.

Roadside bombs are often constructed by using explosives recovered from old munitions.

On September 4, gunners Samuela Vanua, 27, originally from Fiji, and Stephen Wright, 20, from Leyland, Lancashire, were killed and a third was seriously wounded by a roadside bomb in Ad Dayr. They were serving with 58 Battery, 12 Regiment Royal Artillery.

Although the device was completely destroyed in the explosion and it was unclear whether it had been made using this method “we do know that munitions are being used to create” roadside bombs, Burbridge said.

The munitions cache was uncovered at a disused army barracks.

“Initially we thought they were from the armoury. But it transpired that it was more than that, it was actually a hide,” Burbridge said.

The police acted without any assistance from coalition forces, he added. They recovered the munitions and took them to Qurnah, about 35 miles north of Basra, where they will be destroyed.

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