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IS terrorists trying to access nuclear materials via Europe

02:32 PM | 7 Oct, 2015
IS terrorists trying to access nuclear materials via Europe
CHISINAU, Moldova (Web Desk) - Moldovan police working with the FBI are reported to have stopped four attempts by smugglers to sell nuclear material to the extremists in the Middle East over the past five years.

The most recent case was in February when undercover agents were offered a large amount of radioactive caesium, the BBC reports.

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Investigators say much of the material is believed to come from Russia. They say some gangs have alleged links to Russia's intelligence services.

Police and judicial authorities in Eastern European country of Moldova shared information with an American news agency, Associated Press, to highlight how dangerous the nuclear black market has become.

They say the deterioration in relations between Russia and the West has made it more difficult to know whether smugglers are succeeding in selling radioactive material “originating from Russia abroad”.

Moldova is a former Soviet republic.

"We can expect more of these cases," said Moldovan police officer Constantin Malic, who investigated all four cases.

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"As long as the smugglers think they can make big money without getting caught, they will keep doing it."

In many cases seen by the American news agency, deals were broken up by police in the early stages but ringleaders managed to escape - possibly with their nuclear contraband.

In the case involving the caesium, the would-be smuggler wanted 2.5m euros (£1.8m) for enough radioactive material to contaminate several city streets - and specifically sought a buyer from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

At a club in the Moldovan capital Chisinau he told a potential client - who was really an informant: "You can make a dirty bomb, which would be perfect for the Islamic State. If you have a connection with them, the business will go smoothly."

A sample vial of less-radioactive caesium 135 was produced and police pounced, arresting the man and two others.

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In 2010 three people were arrested after a sawn-off piece of a depleted uranium cylinder was exchanged for cash, the American news agency reports. In 2011, investigators broke up a deal to sell weapons-grade uranium to a potential buyer in the Middle East.

Late last year a sample of unenriched uranium was exchanged for $15,000 (£9,800). Six people were arrested but five got away, the agency said.

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It is not clear whether the cases in Moldova indicate a more widespread nuclear smuggling operations, the report says.

Eric Lund, spokesman for the US State Department's bureau in charge of non-proliferation said Moldova had taken "many important steps" to strengthen its counter nuclear smuggling capabilities.

The writer is a member of the staff.

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Currency Rates in Pakistan - PKR to US Dollar, Euro, Dirham, Riyal 18 June 2024

Pakistani rupee rates against US Dollar and other currencies on June 18, 2024 (Tuesday) in open market.

USD to PKR Rate Today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.50 for buying and 280.65 for selling.

Euro's buying rate stands at 296 and selling rate is 299 while British Pound rate is 349.7 for buying, and 353.25 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 74.80 and Saudi Riyal at 72.80.

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.50 280.65
Euro EUR 296.00 299.00
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.70 353.25
U.A.E Dirham AED 74.80 75.60
Saudi Riyal SAR 72.80 73.55
Australian Dollar AUD 182.00 184.00
Bahrain Dinar BHD 741.18 749.18
Canadian Dollar CAD 204.00 206.00
China Yuan CNY 38.43 38.83
Danish Krone DKK 40.18 40.58
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.66 36.01
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.90 1.98
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 909.34 909.34
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.30 59.90
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.79 172.79
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.97 26.27
Omani Riyal OMR 723.88 731.88
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203.65 205.65
Swedish Korona SEK 26.40 26.70
Swiss Franc CHF 311.90 314.40
Thai Bhat THB 7.58 7.73

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