Counter-Terrorism: Losing Your Head Over Fireworks


May 17, 2007: Saudi Arabia has put strict controls on the sale of explosives and fireworks. This comes on the heels of restrictions on the sale of fertilizers (like ammonium nitrate) that can be turned into explosives (by mixing them with diesel fuel). All this comes in the wake of police taking down at least seven Islamic terrorist cells (and nearly 200 arrests) over the last six months. The interrogations continue. Some of those caught have been quick to confess, some of them doing so on TV.

The captured terrorists made it clear that commercial explosives were too easy to get, thus the new restrictions. It's expected that those who illegally supply explosives to anyone, in the future, will face severe penalties. In Saudi Arabia, you can get your hands, or your head, cut off for breaking the law.

The restrictions on fireworks sales comes from the experience in other countries, where terrorists have bought or stolen large quantities of fireworks, then painstakingly extracted the gunpowder, and repackaged it into powerful bombs.

The captured Saudi terrorists admitted that they were planning to use lots of explosives to do serious damage to Saudi oil production and pumping facilities. Without lots of explosives, you can't do a lot of damage to these industrial targets.


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