The threat of terrorists attacking Britain with a radioactive “dirty bomb” has grown rapidly in recent months, a leading defence expert has warned.
Prof Sandra Bell spoke out following the sentencing last week of seven al-Qaeda “foot soldiers” who had plotted dirty bomb attacks in Britain and the United States.
The men were jailed for a total of 136 years at Woolwich Crown Court. Their leader, Dhiren Barot, is serving life for conspiracy to murder.
Prof Bell, the director of homeland security at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “The threat from dirty bombs is now higher than it was two years ago, and has increased significantly over the last six months.
“I used to think you had more chance of winning the lottery than of being attacked with radiation weapons, but times are changing.” She said that turmoil in parts of Africa and the former Soviet Union had created a black market in radioactive materials which could be used to lace a conventional bomb.