US and Iraqi forces on Tuesday raided a lollipop factory being used to make bombs, finding boxes full of explosives and two tons of fertilizer in the basement of the facility in northern Iraq, an Iraqi officer said.
The entry room to the al-Arij factory was booby-trapped and the building was empty after the workers fled after apparently being tipped off to the raid, an Iraqi army commander Brig. Gen. Nour al-Din Hussein said, adding that an anti-aircraft gun was hidden on the roof.
Hussein, commander of Iraq's 4th Brigade, said the Christian owner of the lollipop factory had been killed three years ago and it was rented to other people whom the police refused to identify for security reasons.
The troops, who found candy boxes filled with explosives, oxygen cylinders and two tons of fertilizer in the basement, spent three hours destroying the payload in controlled blasts in the industrial area in an eastern section of Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad. The US military said it was looking into the report.