SPAIN said yesterday it was stockpiling smallpox vaccines as a precaution against terrorist attacks using biological weapons, linking the move to Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. “Spain has acquired two million vaccines against smallpox as a preventive measure against a bio-terrorist attack with this infectious virus,” Deputy Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told a news conference. He said Spain's decision was “intimately linked” to Iraq's alleged refusal to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors. “We must make an effort to fight against those countries which possess weapons of mass destruction and lend support to terrorism,” said Rajoy, echoing an assertion earlier this week by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has links with terrorist groups. Iraq denies possessing any banned doomsday weapons and rejects charges of links to terrorist groups. “Let's not draw alarmist conclusions from this action. It is something which many other countries have done, including all the countries of the European Union,” Rajoy said, adding that the United States, Canada and Japan had also bought the vaccine. One of the most devastating diseases known to humanity, the last case of smallpox was reported in 1977.


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