Countering a Suicide Bomber Attack

In any hostile environment, terrorist weapons involving munitions and explosive ordinance require three types of delivery systems:

  • a missile, artillery shell or bomb launched from land, air or sea.
  • landmines, improvised explosive devices (IED) or explosive weapons such as mortars or rocket-propelled grenades (RPG).
  • suicide bomber

Of the three weapon delivery systems identified above, the suicide bomber can be best described as “an intelligent and invisible guided missile”. A suicide bomber attack can be more targeted than either a missile or landmines.

The suicide bomber installs fear because of the suddenly possibility of an attack and because of our lack of our understanding regarding the bomber’s motivation.  However, growing up in an environment with poor education facilities, crushing poverty and a well-established religious doctrine, suicide bombers have few opportunities.

Not surprisingly, the motivators for a suicide bomber are a belief that the poverty stricken lifestyle will be left behind; and in its place an Afterlife of sublime luxury.  An added incentive for many suicide bombers is that by becoming a martyr and achieving one’s own Nirvana orParadise, the family benefits materially by receiving cash, goods or services, whilst the suicide bomber was unable to provide it in this life.

The suicide bomber is a terrorist weapon that can be used to great effect against civilians.  By terrorizing the civilian population and targeting them whilst shopping, dining or commuting on public transport, terrorists impact adversely on the smooth and safe running of a country.  As the terrorist bombing campaign drags on, the population demands that the terrorist claims be settled by the incumbent government.  In this way, terrorists have proven that violence works, even if the government’s public stance is not to negotiate with terrorists. A suicide bombing campaign is what terrorists do to achieve their objectives.

What is the difference between planting a bomb and using a suicide bomber?

Critical differences are as follows:

  • – if the bomb placement is identified by civilians, the bomb can be disabled by security forces
  • – if the planter of the bomb becomes scared or places the bomb in a location of their own choosing, the impact of the explosion might not have the desired effects
  • – if the bomber is concerned about their own safety and security, they might decide to abort the operation and prematurely leave the scene of potential destruction
  • – the bomb might not explode because of environmental or other factors

On the other hand, the suicide bomber:

  • – has no expectation that they will live after the explosion
  • – has a belief system that prompts them to choose the path of death rather than life
  • – can be directed to a specific location and the bomb detonated via a control mechanism
  • – might not be easily detected by security personnel

Therefore, if you are in a hostile environment and can have some input with regards to designing a protective strategy for yourself, your colleagues and other office staff, you need to understand the principles of protection. In this way, you would save your life and those of your colleagues.

Often the handlers and controllers of suicide bombers select high value targets that will cause the maximum amount of collateral damage (ie: the death and maiming of innocent civilian bystanders).  Therefore, to adopt an effective protective strategy requires that you ensure that people are kept at a distance before you can determine whether or not they are trying to bomb your premises.

To achieve this objective requires six distinct stages:


  1. – Create a barbed wire barrier that channels visiting personnel along a distinct route.
  2. – At the beginning of the queue, ensure that every individual passes through an electronic explosive sniffer and a body scanner.  This area can be monitored by video as a preemptive measure to identify and record potential suspects.
  3. – A few metres past the electronic equipment, a “kill line” must be marked on the ground and sign-posted.  The kill line determines that any person crossing the line without permission from the designated searchers will be shot.  Depending on your circumstances, non-lethal weaponry could also be used, but the point remains the same – do not cross the line unless instructed to do so.
  4. – The individual visitors must proceed along the corridor to a search table manned by a male and female worker.  Blast walls will be positioned behind each search table and the workers must encourage the visitors to proceed towards the search tables with their arms outstretched.
  5. – After being searched, the visitors would be allowed to continue along the corridor under close CCTV surveillance.
  6. – As the visitors move towards the exit area, they will pass by a manned post, equipped with weaponry (either lethal or non-lethal) which has line-of-sight surveillance of the entire access route.

This manned post can provide a rapid response in the event of a suicide bomber attack.

By ensuring that every body is searched and complies with the proposed access control system, the likelihood of becoming a victim of a suicide bomber attack is drastically reduced.

Remember, access control, coupled with the above search procedures, should be implemented at the fewest number of entrance points into your office building.

In this way you can prevent a suicide bomber attack and counter what terrorists do.