A DEADLY shipment of uranium seized at Heathrow airport could have been used for a Litvinenko style assassination plot, a former army chief has claimed.
The undeclared nuclear material was destined for Iranian nationals in the UK, originated from Pakistan and arrived on a flight from Oman.
The package suspected of being smuggled to UK-based Iranians arrived in the hold of a passenger jet.
And now Former Major-General Chip Chapman has revealed what it may have been used for.
He told TimesRadio: “This could have been used in a radiological sense, in the same way it was used on Litvinenko in 2006.
“This could be something as simple as dangerous air cargo but it could be more malign. So for example at the moment we know there is the Iranian revolution.
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“And it could have been that where this was going to go is a front for the IRGC Quds force that is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force – Quds meaning Jerusalem.”
Alexander Litvinenko was a former Russian spy who was killed in London in by radioactive polonium-210.
He died an agonising death three weeks after the poison was slipped into his cup of tea.
Before his death, the former KGB spy said he had been assassinated on the orders of Vladimir Putin.
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A radioactive trail around London was later found by investigators.
At Heathrow last month specialist scanners detected the potentially-lethal uranium as it was ferried to a freight shed, triggering alarms.
Border Force agents swooped and isolated the unregistered shipment in a dedicated radioactive room.
Counter-terror police were alerted and a security probe launched into who sent the cargo.
It originated from Pakistan and arrived at Terminal 4 on an Oman Air jet from Muscat.
Cops were understood to be targeting an Iran-based firm with UK premises where the material was due to go to mystery recipients. No arrests have been made.
Officials will want to rule out any fears that a dirty bomb — a mixture of explosives with radioactive power — was being built here.
The suspected plot was smashed on December 29 and a Heathrow source told The Sun: “The race is on to trace everyone involved with this rogue non-manifested package.
“Security bosses are treating this with the seriousness it deserves. Protocol was not followed and this is now an anti-terror operation.
“There are real concerns over what the Iranians living here wanted with non-disclosed nuclear material.”
Former commander of the UK’s nuclear defence regiment Hamish De Bretton-Gordon said: “For uranium to turn up on a commercial airliner from Pakistan to an Iranian address in the UK is very suspect.”
Officials believe they have prevented any immediate threat to the public. They are being assisted by security services as they investigate the suspected plot.
Forensics teams have spent days poring over the shipment which was spotted as it was moved to a freight shed owned by handling firm Swissport.
Strict protocols must be followed to fly dangerous cargo, particularly on passenger flights.
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