ISISISIS obtaining nuclear weapons “obviously a concern”: British defense secretary

Published 24 March 2016

British defense secretary Michael Fallon said the prospect of ISIS or another terror group with the “technical know-how” obtaining nuclear weapons is “obviously a concern.” Fallon said it was important to ensure that terror groups could not “get their hands on nuclear weapons” and said the United Kingdom was doing its part by maintaining strict export controls on the necessary technology.

Flag of the Islamic State // Source: commons.wikimedia.org

British defense secretary Michael Fallon said the prospect of ISIS or another terror group with the “technical know-how” obtaining nuclear weapons is “obviously a concern.”

Fallon said it was important to ensure that terror groups could not “get their hands on nuclear weapons” and said the United Kingdom was doing its part by maintaining strict export controls on the necessary technology.

Responding to questions after a speech on the U.K.’s Trident nuclear weapons system, Fallon said: “It is obviously a concern that we will see non-state actors with the finance and perhaps some of the technical know-how seeking to get hold of nuclear weapons.

That is why we maintain very strict export control criteria for the technologies involved and why we need to be on our guard.”

The Sun reports that world leaders are set to meet in Washington, D.C. later this month for discussions about how to prevent nuclear terrorism. It is the fourth such summit since 2010.

In its Strategic Defense and Security Review 2015, the U.K. government said the risk of terrorists obtaining nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons may increase in the coming years.

Home Secretary Theresa May has outlined the steps the government was taking to bolster security at home in the wake of the Brussels attacks. She said the U.K. Border Force had increased the number of officers at ports in Belgium and France and introduced “enhanced searches” of inbound tourist vehicles.

She confirmed that a £34 million investment to increase the capacity of armed police units able to respond to a Paris-style attack in the United Kingdom would also see forces outside London benefit, following concerns about cuts to capacity in Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

May said that the United Kingdom must also “do more to counter the poisonous and repugnant narrative peddled by Daesh [ISIS] and expose it for what it is — a perversion of Islam, built on fear and lies.”

May criticized comments made by Donald Trump, who claimed on Wednesday that Muslims were “absolutely not reporting” suspected terrorists and needed to “open up to society.”

May said Trump was “just plain wrong” in his assessment.

“People in Muslim communities around the United Kingdom are as concerned as everybody else in the U.K. about both the attacks that have taken place and about the perversion of Islam underlying the ideology that has led to violence,” she said.

Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner of the U.K. Counter Terrorism Policing Network, also condemned Trump’s comments,  warning that they risked “playing into the terrorists hands and making people feel hate.”

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