Suicide bombers have not hit the U.S. since 9/11, but they remain a constant concern because of their prevalence around the globe and determination to die for their causes, FBI counterterrorism chief Joseph Billy tells the Associated Press. ”Martyrdom and suicide bombers are a great challenge because of their commitment, their willingness to die for sheer belief,” Billy said. ”Any explosive device, particularly suicide bombs, creates a real challenge to learn about it and then interdict or disrupt it.”
No IEDs — improvised explosive devices — used with deadly effect as roadside bombs in Iraq have appeared in this country, but officials are following the trends. Police in New York recently put emphasis on screening shipments of chlorine after learning it had become a favored component of homemade bombs in Iraq. The National Joint Terrorism Task Force provides law enforcement with a high level of awareness on locations or ingredients to monitor — information that is passed along to the public. ”I think it is hard to go into a Home Depot or Lowes to purchase a truckload of fertilizer without someone calling police to report, `This person just bought 2,000 pounds of fertilizer and I don’t think he is a farmer,”’ Billy said. His biggest concern is preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.