The U.S. defense department says the military is investigating the disappearance of 350 tons of powerful explosives from a former key military compound in Iraq, while the White House says the explosives do not pose a nuclear risk.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan says the explosives went missing from Al Qaqaa because of looting following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He says the first priority of U.S. troops was to secure materials that could be used for nuclear proliferation.
A U.S. Defense Department officials says that it would have taken a further 50,000 U.S. troops to guard all 10,000 munition sites in Iraq.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iraqi officials attribute the loss to lack of security at government installations. The missing explosives could be used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads or possibly trigger a nuclear weapon.