British Prime Minister David Cameron warned world leaders Friday that Islamic State terrorists are currently developing plans to fly drones over the skies of Western countries and spray nuclear material in an attack.
Cameron revealed his concerns to other world leaders in a Friday Nuclear Security Summit meeting, in which he emphasized ISIS could potentially end up with nuclear material in its hands. The danger, he said, was “only too real.”
That danger is not simply an outlandish hypothetical. Already, footage has shown ISIS militants using drone technology. Pairing drone tech with nuclear material is a scary enough scenario that world leaders are mapping out war games in response, The Telegraph reports.
“We have already seen Daesh [another name for Isil] trying to look at whether they can they get their hands on low-level crop-using-type drones,” one British official told The Telegraph.
Suspects in the Brussels attacks were also reportedly monitoring the movements of a nuclear scientist, adding to fears that ISIS has nuclear ambitions. The Belgian Interior Minister has also pointed out that the country’s nuclear power plants are a clear target for ISIS.
A nuclear attack on a western city could be incredibly destructive. Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, told CNN ISIS would require just 10 grams of radiological material. Combine that with a regular explosive, and ISIS would have a “dirty bomb” on its hands. Such a bomb could render large sections of a major city uninhabitable, though Al Mauroni, the Director of the U.S. Air Force Center for Unconventional Weapons Studies, says such an outcome is more about political fallout than tangible, nuclear fallout.
Cameron said Britain is preparing to hire 1,000 more police to increase security. He also intends to send counter-terrorism units outside London.
“The issue of nuclear security and the security of nuclear materials, particularly when it comes to the problems of international terrorism, the concept of terrorists and nuclear materials coming together – which is obviously a very chilling prospect,” Cameron said. “And something in the light of the Belgian attacks, we know is a threat that is only too real.”
During the same summit, President Barack Obama said intelligence sharing between governments is now non-negotiable. Obama warned against complacency and said the U.S. is planning to send over teams to Europe to help bolster security.
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