Danish Army: No Chemicals on Iraq Mortar Shells

An Idaho (search) lab has released conclusive results showing 36 mortar shells recently unearthed in southern Iraq (search) contained no chemical warfare agent, the Danish army said Sunday.

Initial examinations by Danish and British troops had indicated a blister agent (search) was in the shells, which apparently date to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. The shells were found north of Basra on Jan. 9.

But tests by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory in Idaho came back negative, the Danish Army Operational Command said in a statement. The results confirmed earlier findings by a U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group that was dispatched to the site in southern Iraq after the shells were found.

The 120mm shells, with no markings of origin, were found by Danish engineers and two Icelandic de-miners who were tipped off by local residents.