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A half-million sand-colored condoms are going to soldiers in...

LONDON -- A half-million sand-colored condoms are going to soldiers in the Persian Gulf -- to protect their rifles.

The British Ministry of Defense ordered 500,000 camouflage condoms to supply forces in the Saudi Arabian desert, London International Group PLC said Friday.

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The sand-colored condoms, which are not ordinarily manufactured, are intended exclusively for military use, said company spokesman Ian Franks. The prophylactics will be slipped over the ends of rifle barrels to keep sand from entering and damaging the weapons.

'We have been dealing with the Ministry of Defense since the Second World War,' Franks said. 'It wasn't a matter of applying for this contract, they just came to us when the problems arose.'

After the announcement the company's share price increased by 6 cents to $3.86.

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