DAILY SIGNAL — The apocalyptic ideology that propels the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) is by now well-known. Much less widely known are the use of chemical weapons by ISIS in Iraq and Syria or the disappearance of radioactive materials in Iraq that could be used in a “dirty bomb”, a radiological weapon of mass destruction (WMD).
Reuters reported the disappearance of 10 grams of a “highly dangerous” radioactive isotope used to test oil and gas pipelines in southern Iraq, which Iraqi authorities fear may have fallen into the hands of ISIS. The Iridium-192 material, classified as a Category 2 radioactive source, could permanently injure people exposed to it for only a few hours, or kill people exposed to it longer.
The radioactive isotope was stolen in November from a storage facility in the southern city of al-Zubair, which is more than 300 miles away from ISIS-controlled territory. But ISIS has launched attacks nearby.
Ten grams of radioactive material is not very much. But it could be added to other materials previously seized by the terrorist group. ISIS already had enough radioactive materials to arm a dirty bomb according to Australian intelligence reports last June.
The U.S. State Department announced that it has seen no evidence that the missing Iridium-192 has turned up in the hands of ISIS or other terrorist groups. But it is also possible that the material was stolen by a criminal organization that could sell it to a terrorist group.