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New FOI project to stop homemade bombs

Homemade bombs are being used increasingly in terrorist attacks. In a new project FOI is conducting further research to prevent everyday products being used to make explosives.

The suicide bomber in Stockholm, Anders Bering Breivik’s bomb in Oslo and the bomb attack at the Boston Marathon.  All these attacks shared one feature in common, the bombs were homemade. In a new European project FOI aims to build on its hitherto successful research that has led to a reduction in the threat that everyday products may be used in the manufacture of homemade bombs.

“By altering the chemical properties of some everyday products we can ensure that they can no longer be used to make explosives,” says Malin Kölhed, Deputy Research Director at FOI.

The process is called inhibiting. While the process prevents everyday products from being used to make homemade bombs, it must nevertheless not affect the proper use of the product or cause any other side effects.

“The inhibiting may, for example, be activated if an attempt is made to concentrate the substance. It is important that the additive we incorporate should not be harmful either to people or to the environment,” says Malin Kölhed.

The purpose of the project is also to deepen our knowledge of aspects of ‘back room’ bomb making, such as ingredients, methods and instruments. This information will then be shared, for example, with the police and with the lawmakers so that future legislation can be based on scientifically verified facts.

“In the course of the project we shall be testing Breivik’s detonation chain to see how easy it is to re-create,” says Malin Kölhed.

Within the framework of this project FOI will also be analysing the residues from the manufacturing of homemade bombs.

“After the bomb attack in London in 2005 many chemical traces were found. In our research the overarching aim is to make it more difficult for terrorists to succeed in the manufacture and detonation of their bombs and to improve the possibility of the police being able to track down suspected bomb factories in good time,” says Malin Kölhed.

Read mor about the project: EXPEDIA

FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency

Swedish Defence Research Agency
SE-164 90 Stockholm

Phone +46 8 555 030 00
Fax +46 8 555 031 00

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