Al-Qaeda has developed new explosive devices that enable suicide bombers carry them hidden in stomach to breach airline security measures, media reported on Sunday.
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 reently, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
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.
Al-Asiri briefly called other militants to tell them that he was standing alongside Prince Nayef. During the conversation, a bleep was heard between two identical phrases repeated by the bomber and the man he is 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 asks 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 100gm 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”.