Washington: Al Qaeda’s plan to attack America by using an “ember bomb” to ignite wildfires is so bizarre and impractical that the terror group would be better off armed with a cigarette lighter, US officials have said.
Al Qaeda, in its last edition of ‘Inspire magazine’, detailed instructions on how to ignite an ‘ember bomb’ in a US forest, recommending Montana because of the rapid population growth in wooded areas.
In early May, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the state’s threat assessment centre conducted a “practical evaluation” of a home-made ‘ember bomb’.
According to ABC News, during the test, which was conducted on the concrete floor of a training facility, the device lit a fire that burned on its own fuel for just under 12 minutes.
While the testers said the fire could have potentially spread to any nearby brush, the device itself did not produce any embers and all the heat was concentrated in one location, meaning it would not start other fires on its own, and left behind a large, black, “obsidian-like substance” where the device had burned.
“The ‘Ember Bomb’ device is an effective heat source and will ignite vegetation; however, we judge it is highly impractical based on the amount of energy and time it takes to construct the device, and the amount of physical evidence that will likely remain following its use,” the assessment carried out by the officials said.
“There appears to be little practicality associated with employing this method versus other that would likely leave far less physical evidence, such as manually starting a burn with a cigarette lighter,” it added.
First Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 13:32