Tuesday, May 13, 2008
'Bottle Bombs'
From the outset, explosives expert Keith Ritchie made clear that this experiment was incredibly dangerous to carry out, even for the British military. Protectively rigged within a sealed chamber, authorities say they carefully constructed a bomb in bottle and would only detonate it by remote control.

On impact, the destruction is profound. You can see the shattered glass, the collapsing panels. This experiment was shown to a British jury in connection with an alleged plot to bring down several airliners in 2006. Prosecutors allege this proves that liquid explosives disguised as sport drinks could have been smuggled onto planes causing massive damage.

From several different camera angles the hydrogen peroxide mixed with a powdered drink explodes with shocking intensity. You can hear loud bangs, you sense the extreme heat and other pictures show close-ups of punctures in the panels.

These video images and pictures were all played for the jury and accompanied by expert testimony. Eight men are now standing trial accused of trying to bring down American and Canadian jets with their ‘bottle bombs’. They deny all charges. The prosecution claims the experiment simulates what the accused were plotting and what they were perfectly capable of pulling off. The prosecution told the jury, the accused had all the component parts in place.

But the Judge in the case cautioned the jury after seeing the images, telling them the explosions were hypothetical, they had to deal in facts only: Would this have killed anyone or brought down a plane? The prosecution is expected to present more experts in the coming weeks to testify to the lethal potential of these ‘bottle bombs’

Watch my report, which includes footage of the explosion, by clicking here.

By Paula Newton, CNN’s International Security Correspondent.
News and observations on the threats to international security and the challenges posed by terrorism to societies around the world. From breaking news to background stories, from serious analysis to casual asides, if we think it's interesting we'll post it here.
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