Explosive in Paris attacks described as 'very unstable'

AP News
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Posted: Nov 14, 2015 2:53 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Saturday that the attackers in Friday night's coordinated, deadly assaults used the explosive TATP, which has been called the "mother of Satan" because of its volatility.

TATP, or triacetone triperoxide, is an improvised explosive that also was used in the 2005 London bombings that killed 52 commuters.

The U.S. government's National Counterterrorism Center lists TATP as a common explosive and describes it as "relatively easy to synthesize." Experts have said that tracing the materials used to make the explosive can be difficult because they are so readily available in stores.

The counterterrorism center's website describes the explosive as a mixture of "hydrogen peroxide and acetone with the addition of an acid, such as sulfuric, nitric, or hydrochloric acid."

It says TATP "can be very unstable and sensitive to heat, shock, and friction."

The explosive also was used by Richard Reid, who tried unsuccessfully to detonate a bomb in his shoe during a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001.

On Friday night, three suicide bombs targeted spots around the Stade de France stadium, where French President Francois Hollande was watching a France-Germany soccer match. Another attacker detonated a suicide bomb on Boulevard Voltaire, near the Bataclan music hall where dozens of people were killed by gunmen, the prosecutor's office said.