ISIL uses smuggled everyday items to make deadly IEDs

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Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is using everyday items, such as hair bleach and mobile phones, smuggled into its areas of control to make deadly improvised explosive devices.

In an extensive 20-month investigation, Conflict Armament Research (CAR) uncovered the secrets of how ISIL makes its bombs by examining “ingredients” found after the group had been pushed out of areas it previously controlled by Iraqi or Kurdish forces.

household items including hydrogen peroxide, fertilizer, mobile phones and American made "microcontrollers" were found in IEDs made by ISIL.
Household items including fertilizer, mobile phones and American made “microcontrollers” were found in IEDs made by ISIL.

The CAR report names dozens of companies as the “unwitting sources” for the terror organization’s IEDs, including Microsoft, whose Nokia mobile phones are used to set off explosions.

Many of the companies whose products were discovered assisted CAR in tracking what had happened to the items they manufactured or supplied to third parties.

One component ISIL uses to control its roadside bombs is made by an American company, the CAR report revealed.

The “microcontrollers” are manufactured by an Arizona firm but their normal use is “subverted by the terror group’s armorers and they are turned into deadly improvised explosive devices.”

Some of the devices studied in CAR’s investigation were found in Kobane, Syria. The town near the Turkish border became a symbol of Kurdish defiance.

Other devices and components were found in the Iraqi cities of Tikrit, Kirkuk and Mosul.

The CAR investigation found that “700 components made by 51 companies from 20 countries around the world had found their way into the terrorists’ homemade bombs.”

Of the 700 items many, such as aluminium paste and chemical fertilizer, are intended for domestic or agricultural use and not subject to rigorous export controls.

Hydrogen peroxide, often used to bleach hair, was discovered in ISIL’s explosives following the second battle of Tikrit in 2015.

“The only thing that limits ISIL is their imagination when it comes to programming what can trigger the bomb,” an expert who wished to remain anonymous told the UK’s MailOnline.

Turkey remains a central focus of the investigations, as it is there that ISIL agents are able to access much of the material, the CAR report said.

Metkim, a Turkish company dealing in aluminium paste, told CAR: “Now we are going to keep a batch number record for aluminium paste sales so that we can control which product is sold to which company.”