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Cell phones latest threat for forces in J&K
Anil Bhatt in Jammu |
October 11, 2006 17:05 IST
Beware of cell phones fitted with guns, remote-controlled bombs and chemical and biological agents. This is the latest warning intelligence agencies issued to security agencies operating against militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Security agencies have warned troops operating in the state and other insurgency-hit areas to make themselves aware about the threat of cell phone guns and mobile phone bombs and they have been provided directions to use Anti-Sabotage Check and Access Control (ASCAC), X-Ray, and Restriction-Based Mobile Use to counter the threat, a top army official told PTI.
Cell phone guns resemble regular mobile phones in size, shape and appearance. But beneath the digital face lies a 0.22 caliber pistol capable of firing four rounds in quick succession by pressing buttons in keypad, the official said.
Remote-controlled cell phone bombs were also used by terrorists in Indonesia's Bali to trigger blasts, which killed 202 people, car bomb explosion at Marriott hotel in Jakarta, and Madrid train serial blasts that killed 191 persons. Giving details about the remote-controlled cell phone bombs, army officials said new generation mobile phones are very thin and weigh only about 200 grams.
A normal mobile phone can conceal up to 18-25 grams of explosives to be converted it to a radio-controlled improvised explosive device, they said, adding such a device can cause serious harm if it is brought very close to the target.
The most striking case is that of Yahya Ayyasha, a member and chief bomb maker of the Hamas militant group allegedly assassinated by the Israeli Army, the officials said, adding that a cell phone passed on to Ayyasha exploded while switching it on killing him instantly.
The mobile phone can trigger explosion of improvised explosive device attached to it and a call from a remote phone (bomber) through a mobile network to the improvised explosive device-planted receiver cell phone sets off the explosion. The DTMF decoder circuits built into the cell phone receiver will provide added precision and security to the triggering device.
Remote triggering of IEDs using cell phones has become a frequent affair in Iraq and Israel. Militants can also use chemical and biological agent cell phone carriers besides cell phone bug devices, they said.
Meticulous risk analysis has to be carried out in respect of each event/place to decide permissibility of mobile phones, the officials said, adding that air travel, apart from jails, is another sector where limited restrictions are to be imposed.
On the other hand, public meetings where strict ASCAC are in place, properly screened mobile phones may be permitted in areas excluding the sterile zone. Technical equipment such as deep search metal detectors and non-linear junction detectors with long-range detection capabilities are very effective for detection of remote controlled IEDs.
The quality of access control exercises can be improved with deployment of multi-energy X-Ray baggage inspection system wherever possible. Application of cell phone jammer can also be used.
A four-page direction has been circulated by the Army among all the field formations in the state to make ground troops aware of the threat and measures to deal with it. These steps are being taken in view of the intelligence inputs about the possible use of these latest security threat equipments against VIPs, security forces and sensitive establishments in Jammu and Kashmir.