September 17, 2016: Pipe bomb explodes inside a garbage bin in New York

A terrorist inspired by both ISIS and AQ placed three bombs in New York and New Jersey in September 2016, one of which detonated, wounding 39.

Pipe bombs and pressure cooker bombs sound innocuous: they are anything but.

NEW YORK, USA — There is an old saying “if you don’t succeed, try, try again.” There is also the story of the little train trying to get up a steep grade who tells himself “I know I can” I know I can!” Then there is “Slow and steady wins the race”. I am sure there are more: email me your findings! NB – who IS it that makes these adages up?

The lesson here is that this applies to terrorists as well. In January 2000 terrorists in Yemen tried to ram an explosives-laden boat into the USS The Sullivans, a US destroyer in Aden harbour. Unfortunately, the boat was overladen and sank. Eleven months later, the terrorists either got a bigger boat or used fewer explosives and blew a 12 X 18 metre gash in the port side of the USS Cole, another American destroyer refueling in the same port, killing 17 sailors and wounding another 39.

On this day in 2016

Today’s featured attack in similar in nature. On this day in 2016 a pipe bomb went off in a garbage bin in a New Jersey park, injuring and killing a grand total of – wait for it – ZERO people. Not to be daunted, the terrorist who planted the device put another one – this time in a pressure cooker – on New York’s West 23rd Street containing a high explosive main charge and thousands of ball bearings. It detonated, causing injuries to over 30 people and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage across a 650-foot crime scene.

The injuries included, among other things, lacerations to the face, abdomen, legs, and arms caused by flying glass; metal shrapnel and fragmentation embedded in skin and bone; and various head injuries.

A third bomb was discovered on West 27th Street and neutralised before it could go off. In February 2018 Ahmad Khan Rahimi of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was sentenced to life in prison for his execution and attempted execution of the bombs. He was apparently inspired by Al Qaeda (AQ) and Islamic State (ISIS).

So yes, the terrorist was a quick study but he ended killing a total of – wait for it – ZERO people. Oh well, back to school for him I guess!

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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