Magnetic bombs a hit with West Asian insurgents

The magnetic bomb, which was used in blowing up an Israel Embassy car that left four persons injured here in a high security zone on Monday, is a small, furtive explosive known by many names in different places.

The Arabs call it Obwah Lasica, while the rest of the world knows it as sticky bomb or magnet bomb.  The easy-to-use device is fast becoming the device of choice for a range of insurgent groups, especially in the West Asia.

Just a month back, an Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed when his car was blown up by a magnetic bomb in Tehran. The modus operandi was similar to that of the blast in Delhi on Monday. Two men on a motorcycle attached a small magnetic bomb to Roshan’s car in a busy street outside a university campus and sped off before the blast took place, killing the nuclear scientist on the spot.

Roshan was the fourth Iranian scientist killed in similar attacks in Tehran in the last two years. There are many other instances to show that groups such as Hamas too have used this device in their operations besides those fighting US forces in Iraq.

The rising trend of militants using magnetic bombs in Iraq created panic among the authorities in 2009, leading them to distribute thousands of pamphlets to educate the public of the danger. Most of the sticky bombs that have been found in Iraq were home made. Confirming that the device used to bomb the Israeli embassy car was a “sticky bomb”, Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta said they are generally used in the West and West Asia.

“If a sticky bomb is attached to a vehicle, it will explode within five seconds and cause maximum damage. It a high intensity bomb,” he said. “The explosive is then attached to a powerful magnet and stuck on the vehicle,” Gupta said.

The mechanism for detonating the bomb is very sophisticated. “It can be triggered mechanically or by a remote. By sticking this bomb in a vehicle, an attacker’s main motive would be to operate quickly and avoiding attention,” a senior special cell officer of Delhi police said.

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