Qaeda bombers carry explosives in stomach

Operatives use drug smugglers technique to breach security


An al-Qaeda militant passed through several airline security checks with a bomb hidden in his intestine and made an abortive bid to assassinate a prominent Saudi prince, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

“While not wanting to be an alarmist, I admit this is alarming,” Richard Barrett, head of the United Nations’ al-Qaeda and Taliban monitoring group was quoted as saying.
“Even though its capability is reduced, it is clear that al-Qaeda remains determined enough and inventive enough to cause another terrorist spectacular.”

Barrett said the organisation’s power to sow terror was far from eliminated, and described how its use of a well-known drug smugglers’ technique had already breached airline security.

The episode occurred on August 28, when, Abdullah Hassan Tali al-Asiri, one of Saudi Arabia’s most wanted men, offered to give himself up to Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, the head of Saudi Arabia’s counter terrorism operations.

The prince is responsible for overseeing Saudi Arabia’s much trumpeted terrorist rehabilitation programme. The repentant al-Asiri took two flights, one aboard the prince’s private jet. He spent 30 hours closely guarded by the prince’s personal security.

Al-Asiri was granted an audience with the prince, at his private palace in Jeddah, by declaring that he would persuade other militants to surrender.

Al-Asiri briefly called other militants to tell them that he was standing alongside Prince Nayef. It was all recorded by al-Qaeda who has turned the episode into an animated movie boasting of their exploits, the newspaper reported. During the conversation, a bleep was heard between two identical phrases repeated by the bomber and the man he was speaking to. This keypad sound or text message may have activated a short fuse on the bomb, according to security experts.

Al-Asiri declared that more al-Qaeda figures wanted to surrender and asked the prince to take the cell phone. Some 14 seconds later the bomb went off. The explosion blew al-Asiri to pieces, and left his left arm embedded in the ceiling. Security experts believe the explosive, and an electronic detonator, was probably contained in a long thin animal gut casing to protect it from stomach acid.

By becoming coiled inside al-Asiri’s large intestine, the bomb would have gained additional force.

The Saudis believe the bomb weighed 100g and was made with PETN plastic explosive, to avoid detection by airport and other metal detectors.

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened more surprise attacks in the “near future”.

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