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Improvised Explosive Device (IED)

Why is it in the news?

  • At least nine people were injured in an explosion at Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru’s Whitefield area, possibly caused by an improvised explosive device (IED).
About IED

·       An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is a homemade bomb created and deployed by individuals or groups for various purposes, including terrorism, insurgency, or sabotage.

·       IEDs can range from simple devices made with readily available materials to sophisticated explosives designed to cause significant destruction and loss of life.

·       The term “improvised” signifies that these devices are not manufactured by official military or government entities but are created using makeshift methods and materials.

IEDs can be deployed through multiple methods, including:

·       Vehicle-borne: Explosives concealed within vehicles, such as cars or trucks, to create large-scale blasts.

·       Carried or placed: Explosives carried by individuals and placed at strategic locations, such as buildings, roadsides, or public spaces.

·       Thrown: Improvised explosives thrown by individuals toward targets, such as grenades or pipe bombs.

·       Delivered in a package: Explosive devices concealed within packages or parcels and delivered to specific targets.

·       Concealed on the roadside: Explosives hidden along roadsides to target passing vehicles or pedestrians.

An IED typically consists of several components, including:

·       Initiator or triggering mechanism: Device or mechanism that sets off the explosion.

·       Switch: Mechanism that arms the explosive, allowing it to be triggered when desired.

·       Main charge: The primary explosive material that causes the explosion.

·       Power source: Provides the energy necessary to trigger the explosion, often an electric initiator.

·       Container: Holds the explosive components together and may conceal the device.

IEDs may be enhanced with additional materials to increase their lethality and effectiveness:

·       Shrapnel: Nails, glass, or metal fragments added to the explosive to create more significant injury and damage.

·       Hazardous materials: Toxic chemicals or radioactive substances can be included, turning the device into a “dirty bomb” capable of spreading contamination.

Common materials used in the construction of IEDs include:

·       Fertilizers: Ammonium nitrate and urea nitrate, which contain nitrogen compounds suitable for explosives.

·       Gunpowder: Traditional explosive material made from a mixture of saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur.

·       Hydrogen peroxide: Chemical compound used as an oxidizer in homemade explosives.


IEDs can cause extensive damage to infrastructure, property, and human lives.

·       The extent of damage depends on factors such as the size, construction, and placement of the device.

·       In addition to causing casualties, IEDs are often used strategically to disrupt operations, create fear, and divert resources in conflict zones.

Notable instances of IED use:

·       IEDs have been used in numerous terrorist attacks and insurgent activities worldwide.

·       Examples include attacks such as the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, the 2008 Jaipur blasts, the 2006 Jama Masjid bombings, and the 2013 Bodh Gaya bombings.

·       Various militant groups, including Maoist insurgents and Kashmiri militants, have employed IEDs as part of their tactics in conflicts.


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