Stolen uranium compounds not only dirty bomb ingredients within ISIS’ grasp, say experts

As also mentioned here last week.

Plenty of materials for a potential dirty bomb are likely scattered throughout the area of Iraq controlled by ISIS, and pulling off an attack that spreads even a minor amount of radiation could be a huge PR coup for the terror group, experts told

Last week, the Iraqi government in Baghdad warned the UN that ISIS operatives had stolen 88 pounds of uranium compounds from Mosul University. Even though many experts said the research materials were not enough to cause widespread harm, spreading fear is even more important to terrorists than a big body count, one terrorism expert said. And with ISIS in control of a huge swath of northern Iraq and parts of Syria that includes research labs, hospitals and industrial sites, ingredients for radiation-spreading bombs are within its grasp.

“Obtaining radiological material from places like universities or hospitals is relatively easy if you have the firepower, a chaotic situation and jihadists willing to sacrifice their health handling it,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for The Clarion Project, a think tank that studies Islamic extremism. “We aren’t talking about producing a nuclear bomb; just combining an explosive with radioactive material.”

Dirty bombs – explosives that propel lower-level radioactive materials into the air – are far less dangerous than bombs that deliver weaponized nuclear radiation. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be an effective tool for terror. The bomb itself is more theoretical than threat, because to date, none is known to ever have been successfully detonated. In fact, there are only two recorded cases of dirty bombs being made, both by Chechen separatists in Russia, but neither was detonated.

In 2006, UK national Dhiren Barot pleaded guilty to conspiring to attack targets in his country and the U.S. with dirty bombs, targeting parking garages as well as the New York Stock Exchange, the CitiBank building in Manhattan, and the Prudential building in Newark, N.J.

In 2002, Jose Padilla, an Islamic convert and suspected Al Qaeda associate, was arrested on suspicion of plotting a dirty bomb attack and held for three years as an enemy combatant. Those charges were later dropped, but Padilla remains in a federal prison on other charges.

ISIS claims to have established a caliphate called Islamic State under strict Sharia law in a vast region stretching from northeastern Syria into much of Iraq’s north, including the major cities of Fallujah, Tikrit and Mosul. Those cities and other ones under the group’s control include hospitals, research facilities and industrial sites.

Full article: Stolen uranium compounds not only dirty bomb ingredients within ISIS’ grasp, say experts (Fox News)

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