Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pressure-Cookers Packed With Explosives And Nails

Carnage at Boston Marathon (15 April 2013).
The pressure-cooker bombs that exploded in the viewing area of the Boston Marathon have long been favored by terrorists across the globe.
The two used in Monday’s attack are similar to devices in the failed 2010 Times Square bombing and the 2006 Mumbai train bombings that killed more than 200 people, officials said.
“They’re made out of stainless steel and the whole idea is the pressure builds up and when it explodes it rips the metal into shrapnel . . . And it all fits in a duffle bag,” said Matthew Horace, retired special agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives field office in Newark.
“This is done just to harm people. It’s the explosive pressure that explodes out and tears the metal at like 200 mph.”

Pressure cookers have become terrorists’ bomb casing of choice because security teams usually remove garbage cans and mailboxes in advance of high-profile or sensitive events, Horace added.

A typical pressure-cooker.
Pressure cookers are common in South Asia and the Middle East and don’t usually arouse suspicion there, according to an Interagency Counter Terrorism Task Force advisory sent out to NYPD and other first-responders yesterday.

But because the cooking appliances are less common in the United States, “the presence of a pressure cooker in an unusual location such as a building lobby or busy street corner should be treated as suspicious,” the advisory said.

When American citizen Faisal Shahzad tried to blow up Times Square with a SUV-load of explosives in 2010, he used a pressure-cooker bomb packed with 120 firecrackers as part of the payload.

Authorities also found two pressure cookers — along with other bomb-making materials — in the Texas hotel room of Naser Jason Abdo, an Army private arrested in 2011 for allegedly plotting to blow up a restaurant full of GIs.

The inexpensive bomb casings are used with greater frequency outside the United States, especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

To build a pressure-cooker bomb, terrorists surround an explosive with metal objects such as nuts and bolts or nails — to act as shrapnel — and use a cellphone, digital watch or garage-door opener to detonate the device.
Pressure-cooker packed with explosives, nails, and ball-bearing balls.
Pressure cookers were regularly used in Afghanistan to attack US and coalition forces.

Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch provided detailed descriptions of how to build a pressure-cooker bomb in a 2010 issue of its magazine “Inspire,” in an article titled, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

White supremacists also have circulated copies of the al Qaeda magazine on their Web forums, according to the SITE Monitoring Service, a US independent group tracking online militant messaging.

In 1976, a pressure-cooker bomb hidden near Grand Central Terminal exploded as an NYPD Bomb Squad tried to defuse it, killing one cop and injuring three.
A ripped-away part of the pressure-cooker bomb used in Boston.
He was standing right next to the bomb which blew away his legs clean.