Anal-ysis It has emerged that a fanatical al-Qaeda suicide terrorist attempted to kill a Saudi interior minister last month by concealing a bomb up his bottom (the terrorist's, not the minister's). The strategy backfired, so to speak, as the bum-bomber's own body muffled the deadly arse-blast and his target escaped with only minor injuries.
Reports of the attack, in which fundamentalist fundament mentalist Abdullah Hassan Tali' al-Asiri - aka Abul-Khair - attempted to assassinate Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, broke last month. However, media including Al-Arabiya TV and the Sun have now further newsened-up the story by revealing details of al-Asiri's method of smuggling the explosives through the Prince's security.
It appears that al-Asiri gained access to the Prince by surrendering to Saudi forces near the Yemeni border, saying he wanted to give himself up but insisting that he must do so face to face with bin Nayef personally. The Prince's guards apparently failed to detect that the 23-year-old fanatic had stuffed an unspecified amount of TNT and a firing system of some type up his arse, which he detonated once in the room where bin Nayef was receiving visitors in Jeddah.
Reportedly the Prince - who appropriately in this context is deputy interior minister for security - sustained only a minor injury to his hand during the presumably extremely messy explosion which followed. Other people present in the room were also largely unharmed, with the deceased buttock-bomb operative the only casualty.
"He surprised me by blowing himself up," the Saudi bigwig reportedly told al-Arabiya, in a masterpiece of understated commentary.
We here on the Reg bomb-disposal desk would suggest that the failed operation tends to illustrate the generally poor skills of al-Qaeda terrorists. You don't have to be an explosives expert to know that a human body can stifle a grenade explosion very effectively, after all. Even a mercilessly trained operative of exceptional capacities would probably struggle to deliver a payload a lot bigger than a grenade using al-Asiri's eyewatering poo-chute portage method.
Of course we can only speculate regarding the firing system furnished by the back-alley bomb makers who stood behind the young terrorist. An internal mechanical timer device would perhaps be simplest, though there could be a risk of sharp-eared guards noticing a ticking sound coming from one's arse with such a method. Electrical firing circuits are much more common in terrorist devices, though the need to carry a fairly substantial battery internally would place even heavier demands on the kami-khazi operative as he prepared for his mission.
In the interests of good taste we aren't even going to get into possible methods of providing a manual firing switch, use of external power sources such as wall sockets or light fittings once in the target room etc etc.
We would note though that in order to deploy a charge actually capable of working from within an enemy within you'd need to fill up quite a lot of the body. This is theoretically possible - a gutsy bomber could conceivably quaff huge quantities of liquid main-charge explosives and then perhaps swallow a detonating device.
It still seems pretty unfeasible, however. The Tang part of current liquid mixes wouldn't be too much of problem, but the peroxide concentrate would be likely to finish the belly-bomber off before it even exploded - or anyway cause one or another kind of inadvertent payload-jettison unpleasantness. Then there'd be the risk that stomach acids would render the charge ineffective, or make it explode early etc.
Bottom line on this threat? Nothing to get anyone's bowels in an uproar. Move along: nothing you even want to see here... ®
Lewis Page was a improvised-device disposal operator tasked in support of the UK mainland police from 2001-2004. Fortunately for him the internal threat at that time was minimal.