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How Jaish pieced together a sophisticated Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device


Srinagar, Feb 16: The Pulwama attack has been a major wake up call. Firstly it claimed the lives of 40 jawans and secondly it was one of the deadliest attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

A scene of the spot after militants attacked a CRPF convoy in Goripora area of Awantipora town in Pulwama district

The other major concern now for the security forces is the worry that car bombing does not become a norm as it poses one of the biggest risks. A car bomb is also known as a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

Pulwama: Bomb maker from PoK, mastermind an Afghanistan trained terrorist

Car bombs have been used extensively by Palestinian terror groups, the Islamic State, Taliban among others. For the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is behind the Pulwama attack, it is a relatively new concept.

Car bombs or the VBIED are lethal in nature as there is very little defence against it. Moreover it creates a huge impact and parts of the vehicle which explode act as shrapnel causing further damage. The fuel in the vehicle also adds to the damage.

The probe into the Pulwama attack has shown that the mastermind, Mohammad Umair had been trained in Afghanistan. He could have picked up the concept from there, where the car bombs are used by the Taliban extensively.

Officials familiar with the probe tell OneIndia that the car bomb used in the Pulwama attack was a very sophisticated one. It appears that the bomb was tucked under the passenger seat. Officials say that car bombs are usually triggered by the opening of the door or applying pressure to the brakes.

If one looks at the history of VBIEDs, the concept has evolved a great deal. Earlier the bomb was wired to the ignition system. However there was plenty of work that went into it and the bomb could also be defused easily, if the security forces got wind of it.

These days the bomb is fixed magnetically to vehicle. It is placed either under the passenger seat or tucked into the mudguard. Further the bomb is connected to a tilt tube which is similar to a mercury switch. One end of the tube is filled with mercury and the other is wired with the ends of an open circuit to an electric firing system.

When the tilt fuse moves the supply of mercury flows to the top of the tube and closes the circuit. When the vehicle moves, the circuit is completed due to the regular bumping, following which the bomb is allowed to function. Further the timing device is rigged to activate the circuit only after a certain amount of time to ensure that the bomber does not activate the bomb accidentally before he reaches the target.

Why it is hard to counter a car bomb:

Security forces have found very little success when it comes to countering a car bomb. The only option that they have had is to close down a road in a bid to prevent a car bomb.

Surgical strike, air strikes, limited conflicts: 3 options India would take to avenge Pulwama

Some of the measures that have been taken world over is to use roadblocks, check points, metal barriers, hardening buildings to withstand explosions and also use concrete blocks.

In the 1990s the entrance to Downing Street was closed, preventing any entry by the general public from getting near to 10 Downing. The case is similar in the case of the White House as well.

Security experts explain that countering a car bomb is very difficult. If it is not detected, then there is very little that can be done to counter it. For instance in Pulwama, the car bomber used the highway to target the CRPF bus. The highway was not closed for the public as a result of which the bomber was able to access the target. Even if the car bomb were to be intercepted, the bomber would have anyway detonated it, thus causing damage, the official explained.

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