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March 17, 2016
When terrorists have plotted to blow up an airplane, their usual tactics were to pack bombs in carry-on luggage, shoes, or underwear. They have yet to tuck explosives inside a woman’s brassiere, a man’s front pants pocket, or use the elderly, handicapped, or children in their plots.
One failed plot in 2009 to blow up a plane flying from Amsterdam to the U.S. included an explosive hidden in the Nigerian terrorist’s underwear, which Amsterdam security failed to detect. The terrorist’s clothes caught fire instead of the powder explosive, because the carrier had worn the underwear for at least two weeks, soiling the explosive. Just months prior, a Somali terrorist was caught with an identical explosive, syringe, and chemicals in his luggage while boarding a plane from Mogadishu to Dubai.
The engineer of these two explosives has developed a new kind of explosive. Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, led by Ibrahim al-Asiri, are developing “body bombs,” surgically implanted improvised explosive devices (S.I.I.E.D.), which require the carrier to inject a detonating chemical into themselves to trigger the bombs, similar to the detonation method for the explosive in the case of the Underwear Bomber.