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Jordan Announces Gas Mask Production Amid Gulf Tensions

August 15, 1990

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ The government says it has begun making gas masks for the general public and is training civil defense workers how to treat victims of poison gas.

The announcement Tuesday followed threats by neighboring Iraq to use chemical weapons on Israel if Iraq is attacked.

Gas mask sales have boomed in Israel since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2. U.S. and Arab troops massing in Saudi Arabia to deter a possible Iraqi attack have been equipped to withstand chemical warfare.

The Jordanian government said the gas masks will be handed out to the public once they are approved for general use.

Maj. Gen. Afif al-Ghoul, the civil defense chief, said that his department was preparing to train people in the use of the masks and in first aid ″for future emergency situations.″ He did not specifically mention Iraq.

He said a civil defense committee was formed under Interior Minister Salem Massadeh, Police Chief Fadel Ali Faid and other senior officials to coordinate the effort.

Al-Ghoul’s statement came two days after King Hussein ordered the establishment of first aid and military training centers to train volunteers for a popular army to defend Jordan against external threats.

Hussein’s call on Sunday came following the crisis created by Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait and the dispatch of United States and other Arab and Western forces to Saudi Arabia.

Iraq acknowledged using the internationally banned weapons during the 1980-88 Persian Gulf war, and President Saddam Hussein threatened in April to use them against Israel if attacked.

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