Times Square suspect chose wrong explosive, says expert


New York : Terror suspect Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to bomb Times Square here after receiving training in Pakistan, made a crucial mistake that saved many lives — he chose the wrong explosive material, a security expert said.

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Frank Doyle, a former bomb expert who served with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said he didn’t think Shahzad got proper training to build a bomb, specially regarding the selection of type of fertiliser to be used.

“I would question his degree of training or whatever he knew about it. That’s only one of a series of really serious mistakes he made,” FoxNews.com quoted Doyle as saying.

Shahzad’s decision to pack his SUV with the wrong type of fertiliser was a “blessing”, he said, “if not luck.”

FoxNews.com reported that the bomb was planted two days after the military’s Central Command warned about the dangers of fertiliser bombs being manufactured by the Taliban and insurgents in Pakistan.

Central Command’s 13-page report stated: “Beyond domestic instances of fertiliser-based HME (homemade explosives), militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan are increasingly using fertiliser as the main charge in their IEDs.

“Ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers, including calcium ammonium nitrate, produce effects similar to dynamite, and the mixture of urea and nitric acid produces explosives similar to nitroglycerine.”

Shahzad, 30, who has admitted to getting bomb making training in Pakistan, made his last trip to Pakistan in February, the New York Times reported.

An unnamed official told the Times that Shahzad had travelled with three passports, two from Pakistan and one from the US.

According to court charges filed against him, Faisal, who was arrested as his plane was about to take off from here Monday, received a series of phone calls from Pakistan in the days leading up to the incident.

Five of these calls were received on the same day he bought the Nissan Pathfinder used in the attempted attack Saturday night in the bustling area of New York.

Shahzad became a naturalised US citizen April 17, 2009.