Low-tech trend, yet very effective

Parcel bombs, which “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski used to terrify Americans in the 1980s and 1990s, pale in comparison to the horrifying spectacle of hijacked jets ramming into the Pentagon and New York’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

But US officials and intelligence analysts say the al-Qaeda is increasingly drawn to less sophisticated attacks that require less communication and, in turn, are harder to spot.
They also generate a tremendous amount of attention, even when unsuccessful—this time just ahead of heated US congressional elections on Tuesday.

“There are indications that al-Qaeda and its affiliates are growing less attached to the kinds of spectacular attacks they once seemed to prefer,” a US said on condition of anonymity.  “They are looking more and more to less sophisticated, less costly, and perhaps less detectable operations.”

Analysts say part of the draw to literally mail-in an attack to the United States is the potentially disruptive impact it could have on commerce. One of the packages was mailed via UPS and the other through Fedex.

Paul Pillar, a former CIA officer, noted militants may be coming to the realisation US  authorities simply cannot search all inbound mail or cargo. “Just as a matter of scale, (it is) impossible to do comprehensive inspections of everything,” Pillar said.

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