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Short Fuse

Via The Telegraph comes details of a bungled suicide bombing in Russia on New Year’s Eve. Apparently, an unsolicited text message from a cellphone carrier prematurely triggered the suicide bomber’s vest at the safe house prior to the planned attack.

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt on a busy square near Red Square on New Year’s Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a spam message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her but nobody else.

She was at her Moscow safe house at the time getting ready with two accomplices, both of whom survived and were seen fleeing the scene.

Islamist terrorists in Russia often use cheap unused mobile phones as detonators. The bomber’s handler, who is usually watching their charge, sends the bomber a text message in order to set off his or her explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.

The phones are usually kept switched off until the very last minute but in this case, Russian security sources believe, the terrorists were careless.

This story resonates in my mind, though I’m not sure if it’s an example of pathos or comedy or a 21st century Magical Realist text.

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