Pressure Cookers Make Good Bombs … and Clues

Photo Credit: AP

By Seth Borenstein. In kitchens, they prepare food faster, but pressure cookers by their very nature help make good bombs, amplifying the blast and the carnage.

They don’t just hold the explosives. The tightly sealed pot that speeds the cooking of beans and meat makes easier-to-obtain but weaker explosives faster and stronger. And they may also help investigators find out who built the deadly homemade bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Investigators found fragments of BBs and nails, possibly contained in a pressure cooker, said Richard DesLauriers, the FBI agent in charge in Boston. He said the items were sent for analysis.

If a pressure cooker was used, it probably cost around $100 to construct, say former federal forensic and explosive investigators. It’s like a pipe bomb but bigger and more powerful.

Pressure cooker bombs are more often used in Afghanistan, Pakistan India, and Nepal – where the pots are more commonly used for cooking. But they have also been prominent in bombings and attempts in the United States, especially in New York in Times Square in 2010 and Grand Central Terminal in 1976. Read more from this story HERE.

Deadly Boston Marathon Bombs Were Packed with Nails and Ball Bearings

By Shaun Waterman. The deadly bombs that struck the Boston Marathon on Monday were fashioned from large pressure cookers packed with nails and ball bearings and hidden in black bags on the ground, said FBI investigators and a U.S. official briefed on the investigation.

The construction of the devices, which killed at least three and injured more than 170, many of them gravely, showed signs of “training or knowledge,” the official said.

A task force of federal, state and local law enforcement authorities ramped up a huge investigation Tuesday, but officials said they had no suspects or motive. Federal authorities cleared the 20-year-old Saudi national who briefly was considered a “person of interest.”

Led by FBI bomb technicians, authorities are working painstakingly to rebuild the two bombs in an effort to determine their origin.

“This will be a worldwide investigation,” Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston field office, said at a news conference. He added that agents will go “wherever the leads take us.” Read more from this story HERE.

Al Qaeda magazine on pressure cookers: ‘Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom’

By Associated Press. Homemade bombs built from pressure cookers, a version of which was used in the Boston Marathon bombings, have been a frequent weapon of militants in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen once published an online manual on how to make one, urging “lone jihadis” to act on their own to carry out attacks.

President Barack Obama underlined Tuesday that investigators do not know if the twin bombing the day before that killed three people and wounded more than 170 was carried out by an international organization, a domestic group or a “malevolent individual.” There has been no claim of responsibility.

Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen gave a detailed description on how to make a pressure cooker bomb in the 2010 first issue of “Inspire,” its magazine that only appears online, in a chapter titled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

“The pressurized cooker is the most effective method” for making a simple bomb, the article said, describing how to fill the cooker with shrapnel and gunpowder and to create a detonator using the filament of a light bulb and a clock timer.

“Inspire” magazine has a running series of such training articles called “Open Source Jihad,” which the group calls a resource manual for individual extremists to carry out attacks against the enemies of jihad, including the U.S. and its allies. The magazine is targeted heavily at encouraging “lone wolf” jihadis. Read more from this story HERE.