Pentaerythritol trinitrate (PETN)

The explosive found in the packages from Yemen is called PETN. It is a powerful industrial explosive that does a lot of damage in small quantities.
It’s official name is pentaerythritol trinitrate and it is triggered by heat or a shockwave. Just 100 grams of it can destroy a car.
This is not the first time terrorists have attempted to use PETN to create an explosion. In 2001 “shoe bomber” Richard Reid tried to use PETN to bring down an American Airlines flight headed for Miami. Last year investigators say Umar Farouck Abdulmutallab used PETN in an attempt to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight preparing to land in Detroit.

Pentaerythritol trinitrate (PETN)

American media reported Saturday that the explosives found in Dubai and the UK are the same type used by al-Qaeda’s Yemeni wing in its attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit last Christmas.
According to reports, initial checks show the devices contained PETN, the same explosive material used by Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. The substance is extremely potent. The checks have yet to receive official confirmation.
Meanwhile, CNN released a photo of one of the devices caught en route to the US showing what appears to be a printed circuit board from a disassembled cell phone.
“This size and the shape of the PCB (printed circuit board) are typical to a handset cell phone type device,” said Olivier Clerc, hardware application engineering manager for a large US-based cell phone parts manufacturer.

A US-bound air parcel intercepted in Dubai bore Al-Qaeda hallmarks including a powerful explosive and mobile phone detonator concealed in a computer printer, police in the Gulf emirate said on Saturday.
A Dubai police statement said the bomb was a complex and professional device made of PETN and lead — a highly explosive combination that can cause great damage.
Suspect packages were discovered Friday on cargo planes in transit for the United States — one in Dubai and the other in Britain’s East Midlands airport
– and destined for Chicago synagogues.
US President Barack Obama said the packages came from Yemen, contained explosives and represented a “credible terrorist threat.”
“The investigation into the suspicious packages that came from Yemen through the US delivery company FedEx has shown that (one contained) a computer printer whose ink contained explosive material,” Dubai’s police force said.

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