Terrorists are “likely” to use a weapon of mass destruction to launch a deadly attack in the next five years, a US commission report has warned.

The study, ordered after 9/11, claimed threats from nuclear or biological weapons were evolving faster than America’s “multi-layered response”.

It highlighted the rapid spread of atomic technology in countries like Pakistan and Iran and poor security in biotech industries worldwide as the main dangers.

And it said that without urgent action, “it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013”.

The report went on to state that, although Pakistan is a close ally of the US, its inability to control swaths of territory, violent political instability and a nuclear stand-off with India make the nation a tinderbox.

“Were one to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan,” the report said.

“There is a grave danger it could also be an unwitting source of a terrorist attack on the United States, possibly with weapons of mass destruction.”

The commission noted that terrorists are more likely to be able to obtain biological rather than nuclear weapons, with anthrax a particular danger.

The White House portrayed the report, entitled World at Risk, as proof of President Bush’s strong security record.

It argued that the United States had made important strides in addressing the dangers of nuclear and germ attacks.

The research was ordered in 2007, fulfilling a recommendation from the commission examining the hijacked airliner attacks of September 11, 2001, against New York and the Pentagon.

Both President Bush and the incoming vice president-elect Joe Biden are being briefed on the commission’s findings.

Source: Sky News