- - Thursday, February 18, 2016

Radioactive material stored in an industrial imaging device was stolen in Iraq late last year, confirms the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The device was taken from a site linked to the U.S. oilfield services company, Weatherford.

The IAEA said the missing “Ir-192 radioactive source in a shielding container” was classified as a Category 2 radioactive substance that, if not managed properly, could be fatal to someone exposed for a period of hours to days.

It was stolen in the southern city of al-Zubair, which is more than 300 miles south of the nearest area fully controlled by ISIS. However, the terrorist group has claimed attacks there — including one that killed 10 people in October in the district where the facility is located, reported NBC News.

An Iraqi official stated, “We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of [ISIS],” Reuters quoted another unidentified senior Iraqi security official as saying. “They could simply attach it to explosives to make a dirty bomb.”

Reassuringly, the State Department said it was aware of the theft and is “monitoring the situation.” Spokesman Mark Toner said the department had “not seen any indication that the material in question is being acquired by [ISIS] or any other terrorist group in the region.” He added: “Based on the information provided, we can’t speculate on the suitability of the material for use in, say, a dirty bomb.”


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