ISIS rebels, who are responsible for the murders of thousands of people over the last several months, have reportedly stormed a government facility in Mosul, Iraq that was being used to house nuclear research material.
Insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad.”
Nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”
ISIS has repeatedly claimed that they would bring their Jihad, or Holy War, to western regions including Europe and the United States.
A U.S. government official familiar with the situation claims that the materials are not believed to be enriched uranium, which would limit their use as weapons of mass destruction. While the material may not be used to produce a devastating nuclear reaction, a skilled bomb-maker, of which ISIS has plenty available, could potentially craft the nuclear material into a dirty bomb. Such a device could then be loaded onto a rocket and detonated over a highly populated city like Jerusalem or Paris, causing untold damage and costing thousands of lives.
It is believed that members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have recently acquired access to rocket systems capable of being mounted with such a bomb.