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Friday, December 31, 2010

Al-Qaeda publishes explosives course in English

Al-Qaeda has published a bomb-making manual in English and has made it available on the internet on jihadi websites. The manual is called The Explosives Course.
On December 29, 2010, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated media center Global Islamic Media Front and the Dar Al-Jabha publishing house electronically published an English-language book titled The Explosives Course. Links to download the book were posted on jihadi forums such as Shumukh Al-Islam and the Ansar Al-Mujahideen English forum, with jihadist sympathizers also posting links on Facebook.

In its introduction, the book states that it was compiled and written by students of Abu Khabab Al-Masri, the nom de guerre of Midhat Mursi Al-Sayid 'Umar, the Al-Qaeda chemistry and explosives expert who was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in 2008. The book was approved for publication by Sheikh Ahmed Salim Sweidan, a senior Al-Qaeda operative killed in a 2009 drone attack in Pakistan.

The book is essentially a detailed, step-by-step guide to bomb manufacturing processes, replete with charts, illustrations, and diagrams. In the introduction, the authors state that their goal in writing the book was to provide: "(1) step by step guidance [in the] purification of common commercial chemicals – which are available in [local] markets and (2) the detailed practical observations/notes [of experts] in the preparation of these explosives." Regarding their target audience, the authors wrote: "This book is [intended] for brothers [i.e., fellow mujahideen] who have a sufficient understanding of the risks [involved] in this [i.e. the manufacture of homemade bombs] – both [of] the actual sensitive task of making explosives and of its security risks [i.e. the risk of being caught and imprisoned]. It is said that in explosives 'your first mistake is your last mistake' – and this is true for both situations."


The publication of such a book in English has important ramifications. First, it is another example of the use of the Internet to disseminate terrorist methods to individuals and cells throughout the world. More significantly, the publication of this book in English marks an escalation in Al-Qaeda's efforts to encourage jihadists living in Western countries to carry out attacks there, and to provide them with the know-how needed to do so. The recent suicide-attack attempt by Swedish citizen Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly in Stockholm[1] and the wave of arrests of suspected terrorists in Britain and the Netherlands are all evidence of the gravity of this threat.
What could go wrong?

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At 12:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Not just Al Qaeda... knowledge of how to construct bombs and explosives has been readily available on the Internet for a long time now - just Google.

This is not a project for amateur jihadists with no idea of what they're doing. They make it look easy but how many people are experts in the handling and transport of explosives? In my view, would-be terrorists have a lot to figure out before they can even attack a target.

And it goes without saying that in developed countries, the sale, possession and use of commercial explosives is highly regulated. And its illegal to transport them through the mail and commercial package carriers won't deliver them at all due to the dangers involved.

Regardless of what Al Qaeda says, its not like you can shop for them in the nearest mall or online store.

So there are clear limits here to what jihadists can do... and the 9/11 terrorists had to hijack a plane with tools that could be converted into weapons. Its not as easy for them to carry out a terrorist attack in open societies like people imagine.


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