Pulwama terror attack: What is IED and how it works?

Pulwama terror attack: What is IED and how it works?

As we know that on 14 February, 2019 countries one of the worst attack on security personnel took place at Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The vehicle used by the terrorists was a Mahindra Scorpio which was carrying more than 350 kg of explosives. Do you know which explosive is used in the attack? It is Improvised explosive device (IED). Let us study about IED and how it works etc. through this article.

About Pulwama attack

When a blast took place in the highway of Awantipora, Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir, around 2500 soldiers were in different buses and are about 20 km away from Srinagar. Because of bad weather Srinagar-Jammu highway had been shut from past two days and due to this high number of personnel were on the move. The convoy left Jammu around 3:30 a.m. in the morning. The suicide attacker was driving towards the convoy from opposite direction. The bus that was targeted was reduced to mangled metal and consists of more than 50 CRPF soldiers. Various other vehicles in the convoy were also destroyed. It is said that Adil Ahmad Dar or Waqas commando from Kakapora in Pulwama was the attacker who had joined Jash e Mohammad last year. In this attack nearly 44 personnel of the CRPF were killed and around 70 are injured because a Scorpio car with 350 kg of explosives rammed a bus of the soldiers. Do you know which explosive the attacker was carrying and how he had used it for the blast? Let us study.

What is Improvise Explosive Device or IED?


An improvised explosive device (IED) is a type of unconventional explosive weapon that can be used in any form and can be activated in several ways. Mostly, IEDs are built from readily available commercial and household chemicals and materials. So, we can say that IED is a homemade bomb or a destructive device which is used to destroy, incapacitate, harass or distract. Several criminals, vandals, terrorists, suicide bombers and insurgents can use this IED.

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IED is known as improvised that is it can take any forms, ranging from a small pipe bomb to a sophisticated device which is capable of causing massive damage and loss of life. Do you know that IED can be carried or delivered in a vehicle like in pulwama attack, placed or thrown by a person, delivered in a package or concealed on the roadside? Also, let us tell you that during the Iraq war that began in 2003 the term IED came into common usage. Here, it is to be noted that because of their low cost, ease of employment and high effectiveness IED are used as weapon of choice for the terrorists or insurgents.

What are the components of IED

Source: www.researchgate.net
IED consists of an initiating mechanism, a detonator, an explosive charge and a collection of projectiles like a ball bearings or nails that produces lethal fragments upon detonation. Materials used for making IED like fertiliser, hydrogen peroxide, TNT etc. It contains a fuel and an oxidiser which provides oxygen needed to sustain the reaction. Similarly, it also contains radiological, chemical or biological components to increase lethal or psychological effects.

How IED works?

Source: www.youtube.com
To trigger the detonations insurgents have used several variety of initiating systems. These type of systems can be categorised into two types namely command initiated and autonomously initiated. Where command initiated IEDs are detonated through human interaction with the mechanism of triggering. In this a receiver triggers on the explosive when an electronic impulse is sent over a wire circuit or with the help of wireless signal. For example via cell phones, pagers, cordless telephones, automatic garage-door openers, car alarms, remote controlled toys etc.

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On the other hand autonomously initiated IEDs are detonated automatically without the intervention of human. For example trip wires, pressure plates for activating the triggering mechanism when a certain amount of weight is placed on them, to activate the triggering mechanism they can also use infrared systems when a vehicle breaks a beam’s contact with its receiver and magnetic detonators that are triggered by changes in a magnetic field as when a vehicle passes by it.

What are the effects caused by IED?

The extent of effects caused by IED depends upon the size, construction & placement and also whether it consists of high explosive or weight of explosive equivalent to TNT and the type of bomb. Let us tell you that vehicle bombs as used in the Pulwama terror attack is also known as vehicle-borne IEDs which can carry significantly more explosives like in this attack terrorist carried around 350 kg explosive and caused a huge damage.

With this there is also a possibility of secondary devices or multiple explosions. A bomber can use a distraction like gun-fire, small bombs, to target window, a doorway and then to detonate a second destructive device at the gathering point. In this attack there may be bombings at multiple locations. Therefore, it is said that the explosion of a bomb can also cause secondary explosions if gasoline, natural gas or other flammable material is ignited. Hazards may result into fire with toxic smoke, disruption of electric power, ruptured natural gas lines, water mains and debris.  

So, now you may have come to know about the Pulwama attack, what is IED blast, how it is done, components of IED and hazardous impacts of IED on the environment, health etc.

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