As reported by Reuters, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have seized 88 pounds of nuclear material from a university in Mosul, Iraq. The Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations has reported the theft to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and called on the UN for assistance in the nuclear material's recovery.
Reuters reports that Iraq's U.N. Ambassador, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, wrote in his July 8 letter:
"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials "can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction."
"These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts," said Alhakim.
He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.
"The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad," Alhakim wrote.
The incident is reminiscent of the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when unguarded nuclear facilities were systematically looted.