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Petn Explosive,Explosive PETN Used in Attack

December 26, 2009 by USA Post 

Petn Explosive,Explosive PETN Used in Attack: The suspect in the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 used a highly explosive substance called PETN, a law enforcement official told CBS News Saturday.

The explosives were carried in a soft plastic container – possibly a condom – though much of the packaging was destroyed in the fire, the official said.

The FBI is questioning the suspect, identified as 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who claimed to be acting on orders from al Qaeda to blow up the airliner, officials said.

A high-ranking law enforcement official told CBS News that the suspect apparently used a syringe to inject a chemical into the powder, which was located near his groin. It is a technique not seen in previous attempted attacks and it’s possible that this incident was a test of whether the materials could pass screening and how effective they might be at causing damage, the source said.

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, PETN is a highly explosive, colorless organic compound, and is related to nitroglycerin. Introduced as an explosive after World War I, PETN is “valued for its shattering force and efficiency … and is the least stable of the common military explosives but retains its properties in storage for longer periods than nitroglycerin or cellulose nitrate (nitrocellulose) does.”

PETN is also used in heart medication as a stimulant.

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