NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Bombs used by four suicide
attackers to kill 52 people in London were made from simple
ingredients such as hair bleach, and three of them were
probably set off by cellphones, New York’s police chief said.
The homemade devices used on July 7 were stored in a
commercial refrigerator in an apartment in northern England and
shipped in coolers to a station outside London where the
bombers took a train to the capital, Raymond Kelly said.
“Initially it was thought that perhaps the materials were
high-end military explosives that were smuggled, but it turns
out not to be the case,” Kelly told a briefing of security
chiefs from large New York companies Wednesday, according to
U.S. media reports.
“It’s more like these terrorists went to a hardware store
or some beauty supply store.”
The briefing, partly based on information obtained by New
York officers sent to London to monitor the police inquiry,
provides the first detailed account of the explosives and
methods used by the London bombers.
British police say four British Muslims killed themselves
and 52 other people with bombs on three underground trains and
a bus. Exactly two weeks later, police say, four men failed in
a similar attempt when their bombs did not detonate.
Britain’s anti-terrorist branch would not confirm the U.S
reports and have previously said details about the explosives
could be an important part of their probe. Officers indicated
they were unhappy with the U.S. revelations.
“It’s not something that we would normally want to do,”
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Trotter of the British Transport
Police told BBC Radio. “That’s a matter for them.”
U.S. officials, who said the British had given them
clearance to release the information, told the briefing the
bombers used a volatile peroxide-based explosive called HMDT,
or hexamethylene triperoxide diamine.
This can be made from simple ingredients such as hair
bleach, which contains hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and heat
tablets, sometimes used by the military to cook food.
“The recipe to make a bomb is unfortunately as available on
the Internet as a recipe for meatloaf,” Kelly was quoted as
saying by the New York Times.
Investigators believe the three bombs which exploded on the
underground trains were detonated using mobile phones, with
alarms set to 8:50 a.m., the U.S. reports said.
The fourth bomb on the bus exploded almost an hour later.
The bombers who botched similar attacks on London on July
21 had similar devices, but their detonators were
hand-activated not timed, the U.S. officials revealed.
Michael Sheehan, New York’s deputy commissioner for
counterterrorism, added he was worried that the British bombers
had links to groups in his city.
“We know those same types of organizations that they’re
affiliated with are very much present in New York City,” he
said. “That’s something we’re studying very, very carefully …
This could happen here.”