The bag bomb, a simple explosive device with a basic timer or mercury switch, is becoming one of the tools of choice for terrorist groups and extortionists.
The bombs, although crude, have proved sickeningly successful. Of the three bombs in London, all have exploded. None has been detected, none defused.
A series of bombing campaigns by a variety of groups, including the IRA, animal rights activists and lone extortionists, have shown how easy it is to construct the devices and how the materials to make them are readily available.
Among the four neo-Nazi groups that have claimed responsibility for the current campaign are Combat 18 and a breakaway unit called the White Wolves. Both have the resources and knowledge to produce nail bombs, although an investigation by Scotland Yard concluded that C18, the larger group, is incapable of carrying out a sustained race terror campaign. Police intelligence has indicated that C18 membership amounts to the equivalent of "no more than two football teams".
Last year the White Wolves published a 15-page manifesto with diagrams of bomb timers and detonators and suggested targets to attack, which would "start the war". One diagram showed a "simple clock bomb timer" similar to those used for the recent London bombs. The manifesto stated: "The race war is not about to happen so we must start it ourselves.
"Sophisticated weaponry is not necessary to start the ball rolling. A suitcase bomb at the Notting Hill Carnival would certainly upset the blacks. Anything which stirs the racial pot is justified.
"Multiracial clubs and bars should be targeted. Petrol bombs and dart bombs. We do not believe that alone we can win the race war but we can start it!"
It says a cell can "do immense damage". It adds: "That is what the authors of this document intend to do."
The group's latest pamphlet, "The Wolf", stated: "We are political soldiers with a purpose, that being to bring down the world order and rid our nations of the alien scum."
In each case the bomber appears to have used commonly available metal nails with about half a kilogram of home-made explosives triggered by a battery-powered timer.
In the second device, between 6lb and 10lb of metal nails of various sizes up to seven inches long were packed next to the explosive.
The damage inflicted by last night's explosion suggested that the bomb was more powerful than the first two.
A succession of court cases involving bomb makers has shown that many terrorists have gained their "expertise" from the Internet, firearms manuals and magazines, and through collecting information on previous attacks. Bomb-making manuals have been posted on the Internet and anarchists have produced books with detailed information.
The effectiveness of the three devices - home-made explosives often fail to detonate - suggests the culprits may have had a military background.Reuse content