Pressure-cooker and pipe bombs, constructed with easily bought and unregulated materials and linked to cellphones, were used in last weekend’s explosions in New York and New Jersey, the Washington Post reports. While officials have not connected the attacks to international terrorism, the use of pressure cookers as explosive devices long has been recognized by counterterrorism experts because it has been touted by al-Qaeda. Similarly constructed devices have been deployed by terrorists in bombings around the world, from the 2013 Boston Marathon to attacks in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa.
Pressure cookers have also been tied to al-Qaeda because the first edition of Inspire magazine, produced by the group’s Yemeni affiliate, included an article teaching people how to make pressure-cooker bombs. It was titled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.” The same 2010 issue also explained, with step-by-step photographs, how to assemble pipe bombs. The first pressure-cooker bomb in New York this weekend contained Tannerite, a substance that includes ammonium nitrate and is used primarily for making exploding targets for firearms practice. The second explosive device was also a pressure-cooker-type bomb with wiring, according to law enforcement officials. It did not detonate. About 11 hours earlier., pipe bombs exploded in a garbage can before a charity 5K race in Seaside Park, N.J. The three pipe bombs were constructed using Christmas lights. A cellphone can be wired to the lights, which serve as a match to ignite the explosives when a call is made to the phone.