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al-Qaida sought nuke

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Feb 14, 2005
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Rudi Blaha / AP file Al-Qaida sought nuke,
IAEA chief says
ElBaradei warns of 'most horrible scenario'
Keeping nuclear weapons from terrorist groups and rogue nations is a "race against time," said ElBaradei.

Updated: 11:23 a.m. ET April 10, 2005OSLO - The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said in an interview that al-Qaida and other extremist groups had sought to obtain a nuclear weapon, Norwegian television reported on Saturday.

"They were actively looking into acquiring a nuclear weapon and other weapons of mass destruction," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in an interview in Vienna with Norway's commercial TV 2 channel.

TV 2 said that ElBaradei's remarks referred to the al-Qaida network, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and other extremist groups.

Its Web site quoted ElBaradei as saying that proof had been found in Afghanistan, where U.S.-led-troops toppled the Taliban government in 2001 after it refused to hand over al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

"I would be surprised if they did not try to acquire nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. That would be the most horrible scenario because these extremist groups — if they have the weapon, they will use it," ElBaradei said.

He said there was a "race against time" to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and plug gaps in the security of atomic weapons and materials.

"The more nuclear weapons that exist, the more threat we are facing. And the more countries that have nuclear weapons, the more danger we are facing," ElBaradei said.

"We can't afford one single lapse in the system of security of nuclear material or nuclear weapons," he said.

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