US forces in Iraq find 19 tonnes of explosives

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BAGHDAD, Oct 20 (Reuters) US forces in Iraq discovered nearly 19 tonnes of explosives in a weapons cache north of Baghdad this week, one of the biggest finds of its kind, the US military said today.

The cache was discovered west of Tarmiya, some 30 km northwest of the capital Baghdad, in Salahuddin province where Sunni Arab militants have a strong presence.

The find was made up of 18.6 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and 35 mortar bombs. US forces destroyed the cache.

''It's a crippling blow against the enemy, it's really huge,'' said Peggy Kageleiry, a spokeswoman for US forces in northern Iraq.

Car and truck bombs are used on almost a daily basis by militants in Iraqis targeting US and Iraqi security forces and civilians.

In the deadliest attack this year, 520 people were killed in August when two suicide bombers drove two garbage trucks packed with explosives into two villages in northwestern Iraq.

REUTERS SZ MIR KP1930

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