More on the global reach of radical Islam, from the New York Times. (Thanks to Filtrat.)
Government forensic investigators examining how terrorists manufacture improvised explosives have found indications of a global bomb-making network, and have concluded that Islamic militant bomb builders have used the same designs for car bombs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, government officials said this week.
“Linkages have been made in devices that have been used in different continents,” said one forensic expert involved in the intelligence effort. “We know that we have the same bomb maker, or different bomb makers are using the same instructions.”
The previously undisclosed intelligence operation has expanded on studies of past cases like investigations of the thwarted shoe-bomb attack aboard a Paris to Miami flight in December 2001. In a test, detonation of a similar bomb on a grounded aircraft blew a 2 feet by 2 feet in the fuselage “” a potentially catastrophic event aboard a pressurized plane in flight.
In another example of the investigators’ work, bomb analysts have collected fragments from hundreds of improvised devices detonated in attacks in Iraq, including large car and truck bombings and smaller assaults using explosives packed in empty artillery shells and even concrete blocks. That project has led to a better understanding of the devices and to efforts to provide commanders in Iraq with faster countermeasures to help protect American troops.
But there are many questions still unanswered about who is behind various bombings, including some of the major suicide bombing attacks in Iraq. Intelligence analysts have said they believe that Al Qaeda has been weakened by the campaign against terrorism and lacks a central command, as well as financial and recruiting structures. But the bomb investigations suggest that the terrorist network still may be disseminating bomb-making skills to a generation of militants who have fanned out around the world.
Many bomb makers may have learned how to make improvised explosives in the 1990’s at Osama bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan, and the methods taught there may now be showing up elsewhere.
Intelligence analysts did not say there was evidence of a single controlling entity behind the construction of the larger car and truck bombs often used in the most deadly attacks, although they suggested that there might not be many people with the technical skills to build larger bombs.