Libya Reported Making Poison Gas at Suspect Chemical Plant in Rabta

Libya has begun to produce poison gas at its chemical plant at Rabta, which was designed and equipped by a West German chemical firm, government officials here confirmed.

The quantities so far have been negligible and experimental, according to a West German customs officer, Klaus-Peter Rieke. But Libyan agents have approached many West German companies in recent weeks to obtain more of the substances needed to go into full-scale production, Rieke told the news program “Tagesthemen.”

Jurgen Immhausen, the owner and manager of the company that built the Rabta plant, has been in prison in Mannheim for four months awaiting trial. He allegedly provided Libya with the know-how and materials to produce poison gas.

Prosecution officials made available to television blueprints of the Rabta plant prepared in West Germany and photographs of the plant as it now stands.

“The similarities are striking,” said one official. “There is no doubt in our minds that the factory was planned on drawing boards in this country.”

Investigators here said full operation of the Rabta plant may be only weeks away and would depend on the ability of the Libyans to get more assistance from West Germany.

The prosecution identified the ingredients for poison gas which Libya has gotten from West Germany.

They are thiodiglycol, thionylchloride, phosphorus trichloride and sodium fluoride.

They are used to produce the deadly gases Lost, Sarin and Soman.

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