07/10/2014, 00.00
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Baghdad warns the UN: The Islamic Army has atomic material, Washington minimizes

In a letter to United Nations Iraqi government officials confirmed the seizure of "nuclear material" by Isis guerrillas. The theft took place at a university in Mosul, where 40 kg of uranium compounds were stored. For the United States it cannot be used to build weapons.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Sunni militiamen who have conquered large portions of Iraqi territory over the past few weeks - especially in the north and west - have seized "nuclear material" used in the past for scientific research.

Iraqi government sources have reported the theft to the United Nations, explaining that it took place at a university in Mosul, in northern Iraq, where last month about 500 thousand people, Christians and Muslims, fled, causing a humanitarian, economic and political crisis. In a letter - discovered and published by Reuters - Baghdad's UN envoy warns that "at least 40 kg of uranium compounds" have disappeared.  The official claims the theft was carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS, Sunni jihadists formerly linked to al-Qaeda), who now claim to be the army of the Islamic caliphate.

In the letter, the Iraqi diplomat appeals for international help to "stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad". However, senior officials of the United States - used the threat of chemical weapons to justify its invasion of Iraq and demand military intervention in Syria - they have "minimized" the possible threat. U.S. government sources argue that the stolen material is not enriched uranium and cannot be used to make weapons.

Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim is of a different opinion: "These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separately or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts".

Yesterday the authorities in Baghdad confirmed the rumors that the militants have taken control of a disused chemical weapons factory, located north-west of the capital. Also in this case the United Nations and Washington have downplayed alarm, explaining that the ammunition is now "degraded" and the rebels will not be able to use the material to manufacture chemical weapons.

Having conquered large portions of territory and attacked dams, oil wells and other strategic centers, the extremist militias - already active for some time in the war in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad -  are focusing on atomic and chemical weapons. Today, the nuclear material is therefore available to those who, in the past, blamed Damascus for its abuses and violations related to the use of chemical weapons. And they do not hesitate to use them on the civilian population.


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