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Al Qaeda Media Releases Online Bomb Manual in English

Posted: January 10, 2011

An Al Qaeda-affiliated media organization has released an English-language bomb-making manual for its online audience.


On December 28, 2010, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), an umbrella propaganda organization that distributes videos, literature and other messages for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, released The Explosives Course manual on Al Qaeda-affiliated Web sites.  According to GIMF, the manual is the inaugural issue in a series that will be disseminated to provide English-speaking readers with additional bomb-making methods.


The 102-page manual provides step-by-step instructions, diagrams and charts on making explosive devices using household and commercial ingredients.  According to the introduction, the manual is intended for those willing to risk their safety and incur the repercussions should security agencies discover their endeavors.  “It is said that in explosives ‘Your First Mistake Is Your Last Mistake’ – and this is true for both situations,” the introduction reads.


To that end, the manual includes the safety precautions needed to be taken while working with explosive materials.  It also details technical information on the essential elements of chemistry, such as basic definitions, the periodic table and how to read chemical compounds, which are needed to construct explosives and detonators from everyday ingredients.  The manual also provides a chart of the types of stores in which followers can purchase each of these chemical elements, including supermarkets, medical or dental supply stores and agriculture shops. 


The authors identity themselves as students of Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Al Qaeda weapons expert who produced various Arabic training manuals before he was killed in a July 2008 drone attack.  The manual indicates that its release was sanctioned by Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, an alleged member of Al Qaeda who was indicted for the 1998 attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania and killed in an apparent January 2009 drone attack.


Five months before the release of The Explosives Course, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, produced its own English-language online magazine that provided similar, albeit not as detailed, practical instructions on manufacturing bombs.  One article, entitled, “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom,”  provided step-by-step instructions on making an explosive device using sugar, match heads, Christmas lights, batteries and a clock.  Both AQAP’s English-language magazine and The Explosives Course represent the new focus of certain terrorist groups to encourage Americans and other English-speakers to carry out attacks and engage in terror-related criminal activity in their home countries without any prior training overseas.

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