RIYADH: In a report published on Thursday, the Riyadh-based Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) warned that terrorist groups are attempting to exploit the humanitarian effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to develop their capabilities, including the aim of obtaining weapons of mass destruction.
“The Great Threat: Extremism and the Spread of Nuclear Terrorism” reviews the risks posed by terrorist organizations through their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, which has been a goal of such groups for decades.
Etidal noted that “the signs of terrorist practices around the world following the coronavirus pandemic shed light on the extremist organizations’ attempts to extensively exploit the global humanitarian situation in order to develop their destructive capabilities.”
The report looks at the ways in which terrorist organizations might attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, the loopholes they can exploit to threaten international peace and security, the challenges to global nuclear security, and the international frameworks that are being established to prevent extremists from gaining access to nuclear weapons.
It also analyses attempts by extremist groups to steal nuclear materials, buy them on the black market, or sabotage nuclear facilities in various regions.
The researchers note that “these organizations are seeking to utilize technological and knowledge-related tools to access information they can build upon in their secret laboratories, which puts the cybersecurity of nuclear facilities at risk.”
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