'Highly Dangerous' Radioactive Materials Go Missing in Iraq

Officials worry ISIS could use them to make a dirty bomb
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2016 5:24 PM CST
'Highly Dangerous' Radioactive Materials Go Missing in Iraq

A laptop-sized case containing "highly dangerous" radioactive materials has gone missing from a storage facility in Iraq, Reuters reports. And Iraqi officials are worried it may have been swiped by ISIS, which could use the iridium-192 inside to make a dirty bomb. "Shaping headlines is essential to ISIS' jihad," a terrorism expert tells Fox News. "Beheadings, explosions, and most brutal acts have become stale. A dirty bomb attack would be major news, regardless of how many immediate casualties occur." The iridium was part of a camera used to find flaws in materials used to build pipelines. It belonged to a Turkish company but was being stored in a facility in Basra belonging to a US oil company.

The case was discovered missing in November, and it's unclear if it was stolen or just misplaced. It it was stolen, the perpetrator likely had access and knowledge of the facility, as there were no signs of a break-in. The US State Department says there's no indication ISIS has the radioactive materials. While not as powerful as a nuclear bomb, a dirty bomb made using the iridium would have the capability of making a large area dangerously radioactive. The contents of the case wouldn't even have to be turned into a bomb to be dangerous, with mishandling them or just leaving them out somewhere being enough to put many people in jeopardy. News of the missing iridium comes amid increasing reports of ISIS using chemical weapons. (More dirty bomb stories.)

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