Pressure cooker bomb
Pressure cooker bombs have been used in a number of attacks in the 21st century. Among them have been the 2006 Mumbai train bombings, 2010 Stockholm bombings (failed to explode), the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt (failed to explode), and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
Pressure cooker bombs are relatively easy to make since – apart from the explosive itself – only readily available materials are needed. The bomb can be ignited using a simple electronic device such as a digital watch, garage door opener, cell phone, pager, kitchen timer, or alarm clock. The power of the explosion depends on the size of the pressure cooker and the amount and type of explosives used.
Like a pipe bomb, the pressure cooker contains the energy of the explosion and allows it to build up before it releases, and allows low explosives to be used to produce a relatively large explosion. The fragmentation of the pressure cooker itself creates potentially lethal shrapnel.
In 2003, a terrorist from Chechnya named Abudullah, carrying a pressure cooker bomb detonated explosives and killed six people after being arrested near Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility. In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert to federal and state security officials warning: "A technique commonly taught in Afghan terrorist training camps is the use/conversion of pressure cookers into IEDs."
In July 2006, in Mumbai, India, in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings seven pressure cooker bombs detonated on commuter trains, killing 209 people and injuring 714. According to Mumbai Police, the bombings were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Step-by-step instructions for making pressure cooker bombs were published in an article titled "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom" in the Al-Qaeda-linked Inspire magazine in the summer of 2010, by "The AQ chef". The article says "the pressurized cooker is the most effective method" for making a simple bomb. It describes how to fill the cooker with shrapnel and gunpowder, and to create a detonator using the filament of a light bulb and a clock timer. Analysts believe the work was the brainchild of Anwar al-Awlaki, and edited by him and by Samir Khan. Inspire's goal is to encourage "lone wolf" Jihadis to attack what they view as the enemies of Jihad, including the United States and its allies.
More recently there were three Islamic radical terrorist cases in the West that involved pressure cooker bombs. The unsuccessful Times Square car bombing attempt in May 2010, in New York City, included a pressure cooker bomb which failed to detonate. The bomb-maker, Faisal Shahzad, was sentenced to life in prison. In the December 2010 Stockholm bombings, a suicide bomber with extreme views on Islam set up a pressure cooker bomb, which failed to detonate. In July 2011, Naser Jason Abdo, a U.S. Army private at Fort Hood, Texas, who took pressure cooker bomb-making tips from the Al-Qaeda magazine article, was arrested for planning to blow up a restaurant frequented by U.S. soldiers. Two pressure cookers and bomb-making materials were found in his hotel room. He was sentenced to life in prison.
In Pakistan, in March 2010, terrorists bombed the U.S.-based Christian aid group World Vision International, killing six employees, using a remotely detonated pressure cooker bomb. In October 2012, French police found a makeshift pressure cooker with bomb-making materials near Paris as part of an investigation into an attack on a kosher grocery store.
Two pressure cooker bombs were used in the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013. The pressure cookers were filled with nails, ball bearings, and black powder. Initially, it was believed the devices were triggered by kitchen-type egg timers, however, subsequent evidence indicated a remote device was used to trigger the bombs. The bombers allegedly obtained instructions to build the pressure cooker bombs from the Inspire magazine article published by al Qaeda.
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