Plastic explosives: Al-Qaeda-trained surgeons put the bomb in suicide bombers

AFP Photo / Bertrand Langlois
The hunt is on for doctors implanting explosives in suicide bombers in Yemen. Security has been stepped up at airports worldwide as surgically-doctored terrorists plot revenge attacks following the one-year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death.

The implanted bombs would be undetectable to airport body scanners, dramatically increasing the likelihood of a mid-flight terrorist attack, the Daily mail reports.

Experts say explosive compounds such as PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) could be inserted inside of would-be bombers.

The implanted explosives would then be detonated via injection.

A western security source is quoted by the Sunday Times as saying: “This is a transferable skill and there is still some concern.”

Western intelligence agencies fear doctors are currently working with Al-Qaeda’s chief bomb maker in Yemen, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, to realize his plans.

The CIA is now racing against the clock to catch the ‘body-bombers’ before they go off.

Al-Asiri’s bomb plots have had a particularly intimate touch in recent years.

He was responsible for sewing a packet of PETN into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s underwear in the failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing on a US jetliner en route to Detroit. Al-Asiri also shoved a bomb up his brother Abdullah’s rectum in a botched 2009 suicide mission targeting Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

Saudi fugitive and bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.(Reuters / Saudi Interior Ministry / Handout)
Saudi fugitive and bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.(Reuters / Saudi Interior Ministry / Handout)

Al-Qaeda in Yemen is considered the group’s most dangerous off-shoot.

A would-be suicide bomber turned double-agent working with the group managed to get his hands on an updated version of al-Asiri’s underwear bomb last week. Saudi spooks planted the agent in al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, who convinced his handlers to give him the bomb aimed at bringing down a US-bound flight.

The device is now in the possession of the FBI, which is currently analyzing it.

The latest non-metallic bomb would not set off metal detectors, but could be discovered by body scanners and more thorough security checks.

However, not all US airports are equipped with body scanners.