Czech-Slovak unit increases monitoring after Kuwaiti request

The joint Czech-Slovak anti-chemical unit based in Kuwait has increased its monitoring of the situation involving radiation and chemical and biological weapons in the country, the unit's commander Dusan Lupuljev said on Tuesday. The monitoring was stepped up at midnight on Monday following a request from the Kuwaiti authorities. In the light of reports that Iraq may use such weapons when Baghdad is attacked, Czech and United States officials have held talks on US soldiers protecting the unit if it enters Iraq. The Czech parliament has approved its troops taking part in the US-led war against Saddam Hussein's regime if Iraq uses such weapons, though they are expected to play a primarily humanitarian role.

Meanwhile the Czech-Slovak anti-chemical unit has again come under repeated rocket fire, but - as with previous attacks - none of the rockets have reached their target and there have been no injuries.

In other war-related news, a total of seven US B 52 bomber planes have flown across the Czech Republic in the last 24 hours. Previously the US had only flown transport planes through Czech air space.

Author: Ian Willoughby