A simple terrorist bomb (IED) that has been used by many western terrorist groups in the past to considerable effect. It consists of a small explosive charge and shrapnel designed to cause injury packed into a normal postal letter or parcel. It is normally used to strike at the employees of a particular organisation or less frequently to target a specific person. Letters are often spotted by the following tell tale signs, very heavy for their size, incorrect postage or excess postage to pay as the terrorist will often guess the right postage for weight rather than risk taking the letter bomb to a post office, wires or pieces of metal sticking out, a metallic or almond scent. Due to increased vigilance by the postal authorities the effectiveness of letter bombs has drastically reduced and most are detected well before reaching the target. A recent worrying development is the use of letters to delivery anthrax spores as a biological terror weapon and the risk of such a method being used to deliver other small and hard to detect biological weapon agents thereby quickly spreading a biological attack.
How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (19 April 2004), Letter Bomb, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_letterbomb.html