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

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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.”

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