‘Don’t worry about more lethal version of terror bomb’

March 25th, 2009 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 25 (IANS) Scientists allayed fears that terrorists could produce a new and more destructive version of an explosive used by ’shoe bomber’ Richard Reid in 2001 and Palestinian Intifada.
Gerard Harbison, chemist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and colleagues analysed a variety of potential peroxide-based explosives in the same chemical class as triacetone triperoxide (TATP).

TATP, a powerful and easy-to-make explosive, was used by the ’shoe bomber’ Richard Reid, in his abortive attempt to blow up a transatlantic airline flight in 2001. TATP has also been used by suicide bombers in the Palestinian Intifada.

Harbison’s team became intrigued by “Internet lore” claiming creation of another explosive - tetracetone tetraperoxide (TeATeP) - reputedly a more lethal variant of TATP.

The group began to investigate the structure of TeATeP to evaluate the likelihood of its use as a terrorist’s weapon.

“Our analysis indicates that potentially new and destructive terrorist materials, which would tax our detection capabilities, may be too unstable for a practical synthesis,” said Harbison, according to an ACS release.

“We consider it unlikely that any of the previous syntheses were actually successful, and the Internet myths about TeATeP are nothing more than that. So the good news is basically this is something we don’t have to worry about,” he said.

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