Languages
Page last updated at 01:23 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 02:23 UK

Fears over 'internal' terror bomb

By Frank Gardner
BBC security correspondent

Photo of alleged suicide bomber Abdullah Hassan Taleh Asiri, released by SITE intelligence group on 30 August 2009
The alleged bomber was a Saudi al-Qaeda fugitive

Security and intelligence experts are deeply worried by a new development in suicide bombing, the BBC has learned.

It has emerged that an al-Qaeda bomber who died last month while trying to blow up a Saudi prince in Jeddah had hidden the explosives inside his body.

Only the attacker died, but it is feared that the new development could be copied by others.

Experts say it could have implications for airport security, rendering traditional metal detectors "useless".

Last month's bombing left people wondering how one of the most wanted al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia could get so close to the prince in charge of counter-terrorism that he was able to blow himself up in the same room.

Western forensic investigators think they have the answer, and it is worrying them profoundly.

The explosives, they believe, were detonated by mobile phone.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (l) and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 28 August 2009
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (r) was slightly injured in the attack

Peter Neuman of Kings College London says the case will be studied intensively, and that there are "tremendous implications for airport security with the potential of making it even more complicated to get on to your plane".

"If it really is true that the metal detectors couldn't detect this person's hidden explosive device, that would mean that the metal detectors as they currently exist in airports are pretty much useless," he said.

The bomber was a Saudi al-Qaeda fugitive who said he wanted to give himself up to the prince in person.

The prince took him at his word and gave him safe passage to his palace.

But there, once he got next to his target, the bomb inside him was detonated.

Miraculously the prince survived with minor injuries, but footage emerging this week shows a sizeable crater in the concrete floor and the bomber's body blown in half.

It is believed the force of the blast went downwards which is why only the bomber died.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Al-Qaeda claims Saudi prince bomb
30 Aug 09 |  Middle East
Saudi prince injured by militant
28 Aug 09 |  Middle East
Analysis: Saudi security questions
06 Dec 04 |  Middle East
Timeline: Saudi Arabia
26 Mar 11 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Saudi Arabia
26 Mar 11 |  Country profiles


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific