Close Quarters Combat // Tzviel (BK) BlankchteinThe suicide bomber

Published 13 May 2009

Suicide bombers are a fact of life, so we must learn how to deal with them; there are ways to identify them, and ways to disable them and prevent them from carrying their deadly mission; doing so is not easy or simple, but it can be done

I pray you never meet him. Chances are, however, that suicide/homicide attacks will be taking place in the United States in the near future. This column is too short for me to dwell into the history of suicide/homicide bombers, and to reference the many documented suicide bomber incidents that took place worldwide. The reality is that the United States has been the target of terrorist attacks multiple times, including events such as 9/11, the Oklahoma City/McVeigh attack, and various incidents of active shooters.

In this article I want to concentrate on the “Low-tech” bomber — the one who walks into a school or a mall wearing the explosives on his body, or carrying them in a backpack; the one who will blow himself up in the name of god.

There are clues. We have to be vigilant, act in sort of a paranoid way, to be able to pick on these small indications that something is off.

Rule number one: if something seems odd, it probably is. If it makes the small hairs on the back of your neck rise, there is typically a reason. Something is out of the ordinary. If you suspect anything you should take the appropriate actions.

Psychological clues: I do not care whether these men, or women (and more and more of this type of attacks are executed by women, as well as young children) perform these acts willingly and knowingly. They are still timid, afraid of being caught, afraid of the explosives not working, afraid of the unknown death. So although they may be acting on their own volition, they will still act nervously, keep to themselves, be suspicious of everything, and be easily jumpy.

Physical clues: it is not uncommon for suicide/homicide bombers to wear clothes which are out of season, like long jackets in summer time. They will usually carry a backpack or a briefcase. They will try to hide behind sunglasses or a hat. Most likely, there will be wires or a switch visible. Most of these low-tech explosives still work on manual detonation devices and require the bomber to press a button or switch to initiate the explosive.

Stopping the threat
We need no more heroes. Asses the situation — is it possible securely to remove people from the scene without alerting the bomber? What would the casualties be if the bomb went off? What are your chances of succeeding in any kind of disarming the terrorist?

Ideally, if you recognize a possible suicide bomber, notify the police, try to evacuate as many people