- May 19, 2004
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
- Libertarian - Right
Source: Yahoo News
[/size]VIENNA (Reuters) - [size=-1] Nearly 380 tons of explosives are missing from a site near Baghdad that was part of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s dismantled atom bomb program but was never secured by the U.S. military, the United Nations (news - web sites) said Monday.
[/size] [size=-1] The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, will immediately report the matter to the U.N. Security Council, a spokeswoman for the agency said. [/size]
The missing explosives could potentially be used to detonate a nuclear weapon or in conventional weapons, the agency said. [/size]
"ElBaradei has decided to inform the Security Council today," spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said. [/size]
[size=-1]The New York Times, which broke the story Monday, said U.S. weapons experts feared the explosives could be used in bombing attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces, which have come under increasing fire ahead of Iraq (news - web sites)'s elections due in January. [/size]
[size=-1]The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been barred from most of Iraq since the war and has watched from afar as its former nuclear sites have been systematically stripped by looters. [/size]
[size=-1]Fleming said ElBaradei informed Washington of the seriousness of the matter on Oct. 15 after learning about the disappearance of the explosives on Oct. 10. [/size]
[size=-1]One substance found in large quantities at the Al Qaqaa facility was the explosive HMX, which Fleming said had "a potential use in a nuclear explosive device as a detonator." [/size]
[size=-1] Prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the HMX had been sealed and tagged with the IAEA emblem while being stored at Al Qaqaa.