...was the one that should have been used a day after the Hyderabad blasts happened. Is not the greatest stories of all time, but still.
August 26, 2007
H/l: Easiest thing to make high intensity bombs
Intro: Metal scraps, ball bearings, nails, even discarded strips form the shrapnel outside a deadly chemical core. And the bomb is ready
Byline: Vrushali Lad
Mumbai: The explosives used in the twin blasts in Hyderabad city on Saturday evening were part of the ‘newly fashionable’ high explosives meant to cause maximum damage and loss of life, said retired army explosives expert Colonel M P Choudhary yesterday.
Speaking to The Herald, Col Choudhary said, “It is the terrorists’ intention to wreck maximum havoc in a public place using easy-to-procure substances. At Hyderabad too, the bombs were made using a combination of steel balls used in cycle tyres with a chemical core of an ammonium nitrate derivative.”
He also said that state police in such places as Hyderabad, Mumbai and other metros in the country, barring Delhi, were sadly lacking in any pre-emptive measures to nip such terrorist acts in the bud before they are carried out. “The Hyderabad blasts are just one in a series of intelligence failures in recent times,” he alleged.
Reiterating that the high-intensity bombs, which come under the Neogel-90 or Slurry category, are generally used in mining explosions and are industrial explosives, Col Choudhary said, “These explosives have a huge destructive capability, more than bombs using gelatin sticks but lesser than that of RDX.” The Neogel-90 bombs are also high-speed bombs, he said, with speeds of six to 10 kms per second.
“These bombs have a destructive value more so because of the shrapnel used in them, besides the blast wave they give off on exploding. Anything or anyone in the path of the shrapnel would immediately be cut into pieces,” he said.
Interestingly, he explained, it is easy and cheap to assemble such high-intensity explosives at home as well. “There is a lacuna in monitoring the amounts of industrial explosives manufactured and sold, as against the licences and permissions that factories have from the central government,” he remarked.
However, the easiest bombs to assemble are those containing urea. “These are very deadly bombs, and quite easy to put together considering that urea can be purchased in quantities of tonnes at a time,” he said.
So just how easy it is for terrorists to get their hands on industrial explosives? Very easy, says Col Choudhary. “For example, if a manufacturer has the license for producing 1,000 kg of explosive, he might manufacture 1,500 kg and sell off the balance to terrorists. Or he can declare that he purchased 1,000 kg and that he used all of it. Then he can get off by selling some amount,” he explained.
He also mentioned that such places that are fast developing or are major contributors to the national economy are prime targets for terrorist attacks. “The idea behind attacking Hyderabad would be to deter foreign investment,” he said.
Know your bomb
- A bomb derives its name from its container. Hence, a bomb placed in a car would be a car bomb, and so on
- A bomb has a core of nitrate/ gelatin/ glycerine
- The core determines the force and speed of explosion
- The shrapnel comprises metal pieces, nails, ball bearings, or other scrap
- The bomb is triggered using a switch. Cell phones reportedly triggered the Hyderabad bombs
- The heat component at the blast site can reach up to 4,500 degree Celsius