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May 17, 2004 3:00 AM

2 U.S. soldiers exposed to sarin after artillery shell explodes

An artillery round that contained the deadly nerve gas sarin exploded in Baghdad over the weekend, exposing two American soldiers to mild nerve poisoning, the U.S.-led coalition announced Monday. It was the first such chemical exposure since U.S. troops entered Iraq more than a year ago in an invasion that the Bush administration claimed was justified in part because Saddam Hussein had stockpiled thousands of such weapons. Earlier this month, a shell with residue of another chemical agent, mustard, was found by a bomb demolition team but was disarmed before it exploded.

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