Heathrow Airport staff have been warned that women could conceal dangerous explosives in their breasts.
Heathrow Airport staff have been warned that women could conceal dangerous explosives in their breasts. Photo: ALAMY
By Olivia Goldhill
11:49AM BST 16 Aug 2013
Al-Qaeda’s chief bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri is thought to have developed explosives that can be concealed in implants or bodily cavities and escape detection from airport scanners, according to The Mirror.
One staff member said: “There are genuine fears over this.
"We have been told to pay particular attention to females who may have concealed hidden explosives in their breasts.
“This is particularly difficult for us to pick up but we are on a very high state of alert.
“It’s led to long queues here at Heathrow – much longer than usual at this time of the year.
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“But because it’s the summer holiday season, no one has complained.”
According to Philip Baum, editor of Security International, body scanners are good at identify objects outside the body but not inside and the “possibility of medically implanted explosives is a concern to the industry.”
Explosives expert Andy Oppenheimer said: “There is a great fear that al-Qaeda are planning on using internal devices to try and get through airport scanners.
"These explosives could be in breast implants.”
Another specialist, who asked not to be named, said breast implant bombs could be set off by injecting another liquid.
The expert added: “Both are very difficult to pick up with current technology and they are petrified al-Qaeda are a step ahead here.
“It’s pretty top secret and potentially very grisly and ghastly.”
Independent security analyst Paul Beaver said: “There are currently deeply serious concerns over body cavities and implants of all kinds – including breast implants – being used to hide explosives.
"It is taking longer to get through Heathrow and other airports in Europe and North America because of these fears.
“They are taking longer to screen people and there is definitely some sort of profiling going on.
“The general alert state remains the same in the UK but overseas, the recent Pakistan prison breakouts and foiled attacks in Yemen are raising fears of a new jihadist wave of violence.”
Mr Beaver added: “The terrorist is getting clever, but so are detection methods.
“The fact we know about the new methods suggests there are detection and counter-measure options.
“Implant bombs are a one-way ticket anyway so the suicide bomber won’t care what the trigger might be.
"It would have to be simple and straightforward – perhaps electrical.”
A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: “We don’t comment on specific security measures.”