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Written Answers to Questions
Friday 11 April 2003

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will publish the findings of the inquiry into Challenger II friendly fire incident on the 25 March in Iraq. [108147]
Mr. Ingram: Any incident of this nature will be subject of a Board of Inquiry. The Board relating to the suspected “friendly fire” incident on 25 March will be convened when the security environment in Iraq allows. It is not possible at this stage to predict when the findings of that Board will be available for publication.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence he has received that British servicemen involved in the invasion of Iraq were executed by Iraqi authorities after being captured as prisoners of war. [106428]
Mr. Hoon: Initial information available to us indicated that two British Servicemen may have been executed by Iraqi forces. We are conducting a full investigation to try to determine all the circumstances of this incident.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the combat forces in Iraq contributed by coalition members other than the United Kingdom and the United States. [107662]
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Mr. Hoon: The role of combat forces in Iraq is a matter for the Governments of their respective countries, but as the Prime Minister acknowledged in his joint Hillsborough statement with President Bush, “we are grateful to our men and women in uniform, as well as to the brave troops of Australia and Poland, and to forces contributed by other members of the Coalition”.
Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cluster bombs have been used by British forces in Iraq since the start of the war. [107833]
Mr. Hoon: As at 2 April 2003, British forces have used 60 cluster bombs in Iraq.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidelines have been issued to United Kingdom military personnel and medical auxiliaries in respect of protection measures to be taken when approaching Iraqi tanks destroyed by depleted uranium munitions; and what post operational health checks are planned for United Kingdom military and medical auxiliaries who may be exposed to the inhalation or ingestion of depleted uranium dust in the battlefields during the invasion of Iraq. [107998]
Mr. Ingram: Safety instructions, covering all aspects of the hazard management of DU munitions in theatre, have been issued by the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) through the operational chain of command to all units and formations deployed in the Joint Area of Operations. I will be placing copies in the Library of the House and on the MOD website.
The safety instructions make clear that the risks from DU are far lower than those from other hazards arising from military operations and that combat and life-saving activities should never be delayed on account of concern over DU.
UK military personnel are advised not to touch, pick up or retain souvenirs from tanks struck by DU rounds, nor climb onto or into them unless specifically required to do so. In general, personnel should stay at least 50 metres away from a struck tank and attempt to stay upwind of the tank while it is on fire. Eating, drinking and smoking should be avoided near struck tanks.
If there is a requirement for UK military personnel to enter the vicinity of a DU-struck tank, then the advice is to cover all exposed skin. If practicable, NEC rubber or leather gloves should be worn and a dust mask or wet cloth should be used to cover the nose and mouth. Full NEC protective equipment is not necessary unless prolonged dust-raising activities are to be carried out. The task should be completed as quickly as possible, keeping dust disturbance to a minimum. As soon as possible after task completion, dust should be b

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