snapshots

Mar 19, 2018 | 14:44 GMT

3 mins read

U.S.: A Fourth Explosion in Austin Is Probably Part of a Recent Series

(Stratfor)
Highlights

  • The use of tripwire, a far less discriminating tactic than leaving parcel bombs at residences, suggests the latest victims were not specifically targeted.
  • The bombmaker appears to have received some training, perhaps as a military or police explosive ordnance disposal technician.
  • Residents in Austin, as well as surrounding areas, should be on the lookout for, and avoid, suspicious items and even roadside debris that could conceal explosive devices.

Editor's Note: This report was produced and originally published March 19 by Threat Lens, Stratfor's unique protective intelligence product. Designed with corporate security leaders in mind, Threat Lens enables industry professionals to anticipate, identify, measure and mitigate emerging threats to people and assets around the world.

A fourth explosive device in 16 days detonated in the Texas capital of Austin the evening of March 18, injuring two men, The Austin American-Statesman reported March 18. While police suspect that this device is linked to three previous devices that killed two people and injured two others March 4 and March 12, there are some key differences.

First, this device appears to have been concealed on the side of the road rather than in a package left at a residence. Police are still investigating what caused the detonation, but suspect that a tripwire triggered the bomb, which would be a departure in design from the previous three devices.

Second, the attack occurred in a different part of the city from the previous three, injuring two white men opposed to the minority victims previously affected. The use of a tripwire, a far less discriminating tactic than leaving parcel bombs at residences, suggests the latest victims were not specifically targeted. It is possible that the killing and injury of minorities in the previous attacks may just have been a matter of geography rather than specific targeting. The bomber appears to be working in a clockwise fashion around Austin, having left bombs at roughly 1, 3, 5 and now 7 o'clock. If this pattern is accurate, 9 and 11 would be next. Those areas (Westlake and the Arboretum) are predominantly white, so if he continues the clockwise pattern, the victims are likely to be white.

Third, the device's success, despite significantly different design, further suggests that the bombmaker behind these attacks is an accomplished one, and is likely to have received some training, perhaps as a military or police explosive ordnance disposal technician. Due to the bombmaker's versatility, future bombings could use other methods to detonate devices, such as an infrared beam, pressure plate or remote control. Residents in Austin, as well as surrounding areas, should therefore be on the lookout for, and avoid, suspicious items and even roadside debris that could conceal explosive devices.

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