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Safety

Global Operation Seizes Bomb-Making Chemicals

by Glenn Hess
December 5, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 49

Law enforcement agents have seized more than 33 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, and other chemicals that could have been used to make thousands of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) over the past year under a global operation to stop the trade in bomb-making materials. Currently, the U.S. and more than 70 other countries are participating in Global Shield, a program launched in November 2010 and led by the Brussels-based World Customs Organization (WCO). “It is an unprecedented multilateral law enforcement effort aimed at combating the illicit cross-border diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals used by terrorist and other criminal organizations to manufacture IEDs by monitoring their cross-border movements,” says Kumar C. Kibble, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement unit. According to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, approximately 50,000 people were killed or injured by terrorist attacks in 2010, and more than half of those deaths and injuries were caused by IEDs.

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