Vicky Nanjappa explains why the use of pressure cooker bombs isn’t limited only to the Boston Marathon blasts.
Things used by common people have become deadly weapons in the hands of terrorists. India faced the problem in the form of bicycles, and it’s the pressure cooker, filled with nails and ball bearings, that were used in the twin explosions to rock the Boston Marathon on Monday that killed three people and injuring over 140 others.
The pressure cooker bomb is not a new concept. It was tried in India during the attack in Old Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games in September 2012. A pressure cooker laden with explosives was kept near a car. However, there was a malfunction which ensured that the bomb did not go off.
Intelligence sources tell rediff.com that the pressure cooker bomb is something that terrorists would continue to use a lot in the days to come.
‘It is not a suspicious object like the bicycle and more often than not it skips the eye of any security agency. Terror groups are well aware of this fact and hence would use it as a preferred explosive tool,” an official points out.
In 2010, there was an attempt to carry out a blast at Stockholm and a pressure cooker was used but it failed to detonate. The same was used in the 2010 SUV bombs in New York’s Times Square, but even that failed to detonate.
Not only does the Al Qaeda have a dedicated manual on pressure cooker bombs, even the Indian Mujahideen has been attempting to master the art of making such bombs.
Al Qaeda’s English magazine Inspire had written an article in 2010 headlined, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.” This has become a handbook for terrorists.
While the Al Qaeda had recommended the use of TNT, C4 or RDX, the Indian Mujahideen in the Delhi attack had used ammonium nitrate.
Once the explosives are packed into the pressure cooker, a blasting cap is attached and then it could be triggered off like any other bomb with the help of a cell phone, timer, etc.
Indian agencies who are watching the developments unfold at Boston say that it was possibly the easiest way to attack the United States of America.
Post 9/11 the security setup has been extremely stringent there and smuggling in full-fledged bombs had become a near to impossible task.
“It looks like a one-man job done at the behest of a terrorist outfit. In such a scenario the pressure cooker bomb was the best choice,” the official notes.
The pressure cooker bomb has been tried and tested in Afghanistan as well. However, thet Taliban have not used it extensively in their warfare since it is not considered to be a high-impact bomb. Still, it is an inexpensive proposition, with the cooker being the most costly component.
Image: Tribute being paid at the blast site in Boston.
Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters