Deciphering the Enigma: Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram Cafe and IED Bombs

PTI, Mar 2, 2024, 10:15 AM IST

The explosion at Rameshwaram cafe occurred one hour after an unidentified bag containing the IED was left inside the establishment. The incident took place on the afternoon around 1.08 pm of Friday, March 1st. The IED had a timer set for one hour before it detonated.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah verified that the explosion was a result of an IED and stated that an individual placed a bag containing the device inside the cafe.

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar mentioned that the suspect has been captured on CCTV footage. According to him, the perpetrator appears to be approximately 28 to 30 years old.

” Decoding the Deadly IED Explosions “

An Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D) is a homemade bomb made using dangerous chemicals and materials, intended to cause harm to people or vehicles.Sometimes, IEDs are utilized to divert, disturb, or slow down an enemy, making it easier to carry out another form of attack.IEDs can be made using explosives obtained from the military or commercially available sources, and they may also involve a combination of both types. Alternatively, they can be constructed using homemade explosives (HME).An HME lab is a place where homemade explosive devices are created.

An IED created to target armored vehicles like tanks or personnel carriers is specifically designed to penetrate their armor. This is achieved by utilizing a shaped charge that generates an explosively formed penetrator.

How these IED Bombs are homemade using the 5 parts ?

1.Power Source : A power supply, commonly sourced from car batteries or alkaline flashlight batteries, is responsible for providing electrical energy to both the trigger or switch and the detonator.

2.Trigger : A trigger is something that sets off the device. It can be a switch, button, or even a remote control. It can be activated in various ways, like using a radio signal, a timer, or by someone pressing a button. For example, a cell phone or garage door opener can be used as a remote trigger. When the trigger is activated, it starts the detonator and initiates the explosion. The trigger can be designed to sense the target, be set off by the target, be on a timer, or be controlled from a distance.

3.Detonator : A detonator is a small explosive charge that is responsible for setting off the main explosive. It is typically operated electronically, similar to the ones used in construction for controlled explosions. When the detonator explodes, it releases energy that triggers the main explosive to go off.

i ) In the example of a firework, instead of a small fuse, a cotton thread or a similar material can be used as a detonator. Once the flame reaches the cotton thread, it ignites and triggers the main charge of the firework, resulting in the desired visual and auditory effects. Thank you for pointing that out.

ii ) Timer-operated IEDs are explosive devices that can be triggered using a timer mechanism, such as a fuse, clock, or kitchen timer. These devices have a metal contact attached to a rotating mechanism, like a clock hand. When this metal contact touches another metal contact, it completes an electrical circuit, which initiates the explosion of the IED.

Timer-operated IEDs pose a significant threat to civilians in crowded areas, such as markets, as they explode once the countdown on the timer runs out, regardless of who is nearby.

Additionally, countdown timers on electronic devices like mobile phones can also be used to activate IEDs. In simpler terms, these timer-operated explosive devices can be set to explode at a specific time, and they can be triggered by clocks, timers, or even electronic devices like mobile phones.

4.Main Charge ; The main charge is the main explosive that causes a blast. It is like the heart of an unexploded landmine. When the main charge detonates, it creates a powerful shock wave or blast wave that can cause a lot of pressure. It can also shoot out fragments, harmful chemicals, or chemicals that can start fires. In simpler terms, the main charge is the explosive part that goes boom and causes a big impact, potentially hurting people with flying pieces and dangerous substances.

5. Container : The container is responsible for holding all the components together. It can be designed in a way that directs the blast in a specific direction, like a shaped charge.

Inside the device, there may be additional components packed in. These can include projectiles like ball bearings, nails, and stones, which act as shrapnel and can cause further damage. There might also be hazardous substances, toxic materials, or chemicals that can start fires.

It’s important to note that these devices, known as IEDs, can also be used as a component in a biological or radioactive dirty bomb. In simpler terms, the container keeps everything in place, and the device may contain things like flying objects, dangerous chemicals, or even be used for more severe purposes like a dirty bomb that can spread biological or radioactive substances.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) can be created using common household items that can be found in many homes. These items include household cleaners, drain cleaner, bleach, soap, batteries, cell phones, radios, gas, propane, liquid petroleum, fertilizer, and more. The availability of these everyday items in stores makes it challenging for authorities to track the production of homemade explosives.

Let’s break down the process of what happens when an IED explodes:

1. When the main explosive detonates, gases rapidly heat up and expand forcefully.

2. This expansion creates shock waves or blast waves that travel outward at approximately 488 meters per second. The distance covered by these waves can vary depending on the size of the explosive, spanning several hundred meters or more.

3. The explosion causes the container to break apart, launching shrapnel at high speeds. If the IED contained additional items like ball bearings, nuts, bolts, or pellets, these objects would also be propelled outward.

4. The intense heat generated by the explosion has the potential to start fires.

5. The heat and initial fires can lead to the ignition of more fires.

6. The explosion creates a vacuum, causing air to rush back in rapidly. This incoming air carries debris and shrapnel back with it.

In summary, an IED functions similarly to any other explosive device, causing a powerful explosion that releases gases, shock waves, and shrapnel while potentially igniting fires and creating a vacuum effect.

Girish Linganna
Aerospace & Defence Analyst

( The author Girish Linganna of this article is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru. He is also Director of ADD Engineering Components, India, Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany. You can reach out to him at: [email protected])

Disclaimer: The opinions and assertions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Udayavani. The publication holds no legal responsibility for the content presented.

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