Magazine article National Defense

Rails Emerge as Top Terrorist Target

Magazine article National Defense

Rails Emerge as Top Terrorist Target

Article excerpt

FIRST MADRID, THEN LONDON, and most recently, Bombay.

These recent incidents of train bombings have underscored their value to terrorists as soft targets.

Not to be forgotten is the 1995 release of satin gas in the Tokyo subway by the doomsday cult, Aura Shinrikyo.

The recent book "The One Percent Doctrine" by author Ron Suskind reports that al-Oaida plotted, then abandoned plans to release cyanide gas in the New York subway.

Almost forgotten is that Aura attempted to use cyanide gas in the weeks following the satin attack. Members of the cult who were on the run planted a relatively simple device in a men's restroom only a foot from a ventilation duct that led to a crowded platform at Shinjuku Station, the nation's busiest passenger hub. The chemical bomb was set up to mix sulfuric acid with sodium cyanide as soon as a flame ate through two condoms packed with the compounds. It was seconds away from spreading a deadly cloud, but station attendants threw water on the flames and avoided a second catastrophe. The two gasses would have produced hydrogen cyanide, the same concoction the Nazis used at their World War II concentration camps. …

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