Friday, June 13, 2014

Tip of the Day: A Primer on Suicide Bombers

Suicide bombers can be male or female. Eighty-three percent of suicide bombers are single. 

Approximately 30% are women.

Increasingly, even children can be used for transporting suicide bombs, particularly against well-protected targets.

Suicide bombers typically are used in two ways: 

(1) they drive an explosive-laden vehicle into a target; or

(2) they wear “explosive belts,” a vest packed with explosives and armed with a detonator. 

Explosive belts are often packed with nails, screws, and bolts, which serve as shrapnel to maximize casualties. 

"Explosive belts" were first introduced by Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers in 1991, when a Tamil bomber detonated herself, killing Rajiv Gandhi. 

Today, explosive belts are the weapon of choice among many terrorist groups, largely because they can result in a high number of casualties with little relative low cost.

Suicide bombers equipped with explosive belts, can weigh upwards of an additional 40 pounds, and often display a number of identifiable characteristics if targets know what their looking for:

1.  Many suicide bombers wear long, heavy coats or apparel, regardless of the season;

2. The torsos of suicide bombers often seem larger than expected, as they often have a coat beneath the outer garment;

3. Very often the explosive belt forces the suicide bomber to have a strange gait, largely due to the added weight;

4. Typically, those transporting an explosive belt often have unusual facial expressions, as if they are preoccupied and detached, knowing that their life may end imminently;

5. Many suicide bombers will be "fixated" on their target and reaching it successfully;

6. Very often, suicide bombers will display expressions of irritability, sweating and nervous behavior;

7. Invariably, many suicide bombers almost appear to be drugged in order to carry out their mission;

8. It is often the case that suicide bombers may have enlarged pupils, a fixated stare and abnormal behavior;

9.  On men, who may be minutes away from dying, they will often appear as if they have a freshly shaven beard as they prepare to meet Allah;

10. One prominent indicator of a suicide bomber is that they often seem to have one hand on a detonation switch to successfully detonate their explosive belt;

11. Another indicator that a suicide bomber is near are those who seemingly avoid all eye contact with others, particularly avoiding interaction with guards and security cameras; and

12. Remembering the London Underground and Tavistock Square suicide bombings that occurred on Thursday, July 7, 2005, when four London-based suicide bombers detonated three IEDs 50 seconds apart on eastbound Car 204 to be followed by a double-decker bus. 

The disaster tragically claimed the lives of 56 and injured 700 others.