The Pentagon has confirmed to WND that the Islamic State has seized enough radioactive materials from captured Iraqi facilities to develop “dirty bombs,” just as ISIS’ recent English-language magazine, Dabiq, claimed.
The ISIS claim had alarmed the Australian intelligence service, which initially revealed the prospect that ISIS fighters have seized sufficient radioactive and biological materials from research centers and hospitals – which previously were under Iraqi government control.
Such seizures were first revealed at a meeting of the Australia Group in Perth, Australia, at which Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressed the deep concern of members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and regional partners over the potential use by ISIS of the seized materials.
“We are aware of claims that ISIL has declared its motives of developing a ‘dirty bomb’ in a recent edition of its propaganda magazine,” Defense Department spokeswoman, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith, told WND.
“We share the same concern as our Australian defense officials and regional partners and will continue to use our intelligence resources to remain vigilant of any activity and indicators of this violent extremist organization’s intent to employ such weapons,” she said.
It is the first time that any U.S. official has confirmed that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had acquired a sufficient amount of radioactive materials to be incorporated in conventional weapons, such as artillery, to spread harmful radiation.
A “dirty bomb” simply is a conventional explosives package wrapped with radioactive or biological materials.
If such projectiles are fired into highly populated, confined areas, the effect of such an explosion would radiate the area for years to come.
U.S. officials have told WND that there is mounting concern that ISIS, with its development of weapons of mass destruction, may accelerate attacks, even though the Muslim world has just entered into the month-long holy period of fasting called Ramadan.
In 2014, Iraq first informed the United Nations by letter that ISIS had seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the city of Mosul.
That city was captured by ISIS and remains under jihadist control to this day. Mosul is some 400 kilometers, or 250 miles, northwest of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.
The letter said that ISIS had seized some 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds, of uranium compounds.