Pierpaolo Napolitano, security engineer
Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) have long been, and remain, the weapon of choice for terrorists and insurgents due to the ease of their manufacture, employment, and destructive potential, as shown by the attacks that have occurred around the world in the past few months.
Driving the increased threat is the amount of terrorist propaganda material available on the internet and on the social media, which include instructions and “recipes” to manufacture IEDs and provide tactical advice on how to deploy them.
Since 1970 there have been manuals and books about the bomb-making, produced by controversial individuals at that time who wanted to give their support to anti-government movements. Some of today’s IED manuals descend directly from those bomb-making “recipes”, even if they have had ideological arguments added to them with the aim of mobilizing fighters all over the world.
The result is that today anyone can perpetrate quite a sophisticated attack and even people with no practical experience can manufacture an IED in their kitchen, whereas previously anyone who wanted to fight had go to a terrorist training camp, exposing himself to the danger of being detected by police and security forces.
This report provides a general overview of the IED threat, analyzing what IEDs are and how they are made. Further, in the report, the evolution of IEDs has been analyzed from two different points of view:
- Using the data reported by the Global Terrorism Database from 1970 to 2017, a statistical analysis has been undertaken to highlight the peculiarities of the threat related to the IEDs;
- An in-depth study on the propaganda materials has been created to analyze in detail the technical instructions on bomb-making provided by the available manuals.