October 07, 2009

France Warns of New Terror Threat From 'Body Bombs'


A German police officer armed with a submachine gun at Frankfurt Airport.


Airport Security Concerns

The French intelligence service has warned of a new terrorism threat from suicide bombers carrying in-body explosives that can't be detected by standard airport screening. The method was used in a failed attempt to kill the Saudi anti-terrorism chief in August.

French anti-terrorism experts have warned that suicide bombers carrying explosives inside their bodies pose a new threat to air traffic, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Monday.

Standard metal detectors at airports can't detect in-body explosives and full X-ray screening would be needed to spot them -- a costly measure that would entail health risks for frequent flyers. The fear is that terrorists could detonate explosives on board a pressurized plane, when only a small explosion would suffice to bring it down.

The method was first used in an al-Qaida attack on the Saudi anti-terrorism chief, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, in late August. The 23-year-old terrorist, Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, got through security checks with explosives in his rectum and detonated them during a meeting with the prince. A mobile phone was used to trigger the bomb.

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