US probes into missing cobalt in Iraq

The US occupation forces are investigating what they call the looting of two capsules of radioactive cobalt from a testing site outside Baghdad that was in use under former ruler Saddam Hussein.

    An Iraqi family stands aside as US soldiers search their house for hidden weapons

    The capsules, the size of soda cans with small amounts of cobalt-60 - used in X-ray machines and other medical and industrial applications, were stolen in September and found two weeks later in nearby villages, the The New York Times said on Tuesday.

    A 30-year-old Iraqi man and a four-year-old boy were found to have symptoms of radiation sickness in one of the villages, the paper quoted officials as saying.

    One of the capsules was discovered less than five metres from where a family had their clay oven to bake bread.

     

    'Dirty bombs'

     

    US military commanders are certain the villagers looted the

    testing site to get scrap metal and not to use or sell the cobalt, which can be used to make "dirty bombs."

     

    The cobalt was housed in eight 23-metre (75-foot) steel poles, three of which were dismantled by the looters, who entered the site with heavy vehicles, the officials said.

     

    The looters left tyre marks on the ground, but US forces

    discovered the theft two weeks later.

     

    The lapse in security around the 52-square km radiation testing site in the desert outside Baghdad may have been due to what the official claimed a "work overload among US experts". 

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    World Cup 2018 quiz: How big a football fan are you?

    World Cup 2018 quiz: How big a football fan are you?

    Answer as many correct questions in 90 seconds to win the World Cup with your favourite team.

    The shocking story of Israel's disappeared babies

    The shocking story of Israel's disappeared babies

    New information has come to light about thousands of mostly Yemeni children believed to have been abducted in the 1950s.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.