The Islamic State group — also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — had the ingredients needed to build a "dirty bomb," but never got around to it.
The revelation has come after the Iraqi Army managed to drive the terrorist group out of Mosul. The Iraqi armed forces had already confirmed that none of the radioactive material that was in Mosul had been touched.
The news should come as a big relief for European and other Western nations, because this means none of the 173 operatives listed by Interpol as possible attackers in the West have any dirty bomb sourced from Iraq itself.
Threat from Mosul
When ISIS captured Mosul in 2014, it was believed to be a big win for the terrorist group. After all, it had managed to wrest control of the second-largest city in Iraq, one that had several military bases stocked with ammunition.
What had Western powers concerned was the presence of Cobalt 60 on the campus of one of the colleges in Mosul. Cobalt 60 is a radioactive isotope of the metal whose filtered radiation is often used to treat cancer by killing cancer cells.
However, without the filter, Cobalt 60 radiation can be fatal, and hence the isotope can be used in dirty bombs. This was the fear many Western nations had when ISIS captured Mosul.
Cobalt 60 'untouched'
However, as ISIS kept losing neighbourhoods of Mosul, the college where the radioactive cobalt was kept was also freed. Iraqi security forces confirmed that the cobalt had been "untouched" by ISIS, according to a Washington Post report.
The information came as a huge relief to the Iraqi forces, who had earlier encountered an aircraft that was believed to have been abandoned by retreating ISIS forces.
The terrorist group had earlier been accused of using chemical weapons in Syria, after which a coalition airstrike destroyed the facility where the weapons were made.