Stolen radioactive material found in Iraq

Stolen radioactive material found in Iraq

Radioactive material stolen last year from a storage facility in Iraq was found dumped near a gas station in the southern town of Zubair, Reuters reported Sunday.

The material was found undamaged, and there were no concerns about radiation, according to the report.

“A passer-by found the radioactive device dumped in Zubair and immediately informed security forces which went with a special radiation prevention team and retrieved the device," the chief of the security panel within Basra provincial council, Jabbar al-Saidi, told Reuters.

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Last week, Reuters reported that the material went missing in November from a storage facility belonging to a U.S. oilfield services company in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Officials had worried the “highly dangerous” material could end up in the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The material is classed as a Category 2 radioactive source. That means if not managed properly, it could cause permanent injury to a person in close proximity to it for even minutes, and could be fatal to someone exposed for hours or days.

It was unclear how the material ended up in Zubair, which is about nine miles southwest of Basra.

Investigators determined soon after the material was stolen that it was being kept in Zubair, an unnamed security official told Reuters. As such, controls were tightened to prevent the material from being taken out of town.

"After failing to take it out of the town, the perpetrators decided to dump it," the security official told Reuters. "I assure you it is only a matter of time before we arrest those who stole the radioactive device."