With ISIS Claiming Use of Nuclear Material, University of Mosul’s Future Uncertain

With ISIS Claiming Use of Nuclear Material, University of Mosul’s Future Uncertain

You wouldn’t know it from its website, but the University of Mosul, previously one of Iraq’s most formidable academic institutions, is facing an existential threat. The jihadist terror group the Islamic State has reopened it as an Islamist institution, and ISIS members claim to have looted its science department of uranium for use in “dirty bombs.” 

The Islamic State shut down the university when it took over Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, in July. That month, reports surfaced that a law professor was killed for denouncing the takeover by the jihadist group, and many worried that the university would never open again. 

The university reopened in October, however, as a makeshift institution of Islamic Studies, where the study of law, philosophy, and physical education were banned– as well, naturally, women in classes attended by men.

Professors have fled in droves, and the international academic community is concerned that the school may never be the same. In interviews with the International Business Times, Mideast experts warned that the few professors who did not flee Mosul were likely killed.

“The first thing they did was go to the personnel office and get all the files… to figure out which of them had studied in America, had contacts in America… to be disposed of,” said Sarah Willcox, the director of the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund.

And now, ISIS claims to have made a dirty bomb out of uranium stolen from Mosul University. 40 kilograms were reported missing from the university four months ago. 

According to the Christian Post, an ISIS “trainer” in Syria says the terror group used the “radioactive uranium” to make a “dirty bomb.” The trainer is Hamayun Tariq, “a former British explosives expert.”

The UK Mirror, which has a mixed record of verifiable reports on ISIS-related events, reports that ISIS’ dirty bomb claims came to light via social media posts made by Tariq.

Tariq wrote: 

O by the way [ISIS] does have a Dirty bomb. We found some radioactive material from Mosul university. We’ll find out what dirty bombs are and what they do. We’ll also discuss what might happen if one actually went off in a public place. This sort of bomb would be terribly destructive if it went off in London becuz it would be more of a disruptive than a destructive weapon.

In July Mohamed Ali Alhakim–Iraq’s Ambassador to the UN–sent a letter informing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of “the theft” of the uranium. What’s more, many have expressed concern that the Islamic State may also use the school’s biological academic reserves to make biological weapons.

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