A security guard walks past the Weatherford booth during the Basra International trade fair for oil and gas in Basra, Iraq in a November 25, 2010. REUTERS/Atef Hassan
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Iraq is searching for "highly dangerous" radioactive material stolen last year, according to an Environment Ministry document and seven security, environmental and provincial officials who fear it could be used as a weapon if acquired by Daesh (ISIS).The material, stored in a protective case the size of a laptop computer, went missing in November from a storage facility near the southern city of Basra belonging to U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford, the document obtained by Reuters showed and officials confirmed. A U.S. official said the United States was aware of the missing material since November but it is still unclear whether it was misplaced or stolen.Large quantities of Ir-192 have gone missing before in the United States, Britain and other countries, stoking fears among security officials that it could be used to make a dirty bomb.A dirty bomb combines nuclear material with conventional explosives to contaminate an area with radiation, in contrast to a nuclear weapon, which uses nuclear fission to trigger a vastly more powerful blast.A spokesman for Basra operations command, responsible for security in Basra province, said army, police and intelligence forces were working "day and night" to locate the material.
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