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ANALYSIS: When terrorists bomb packed trains, the injuries are horrific, reports Tom Clonan The bombs that ripped through three Spanish commuter trains yesterday were especially lethal when detonated in such a confined space. The type of explosives used would appear to have been high-explosive devices of a type used previously by terrorist groups such as Eta and the Provisional IRA. Indeed, Spanish police foiled an attempt to place a 25kg high-explosive device on the regional San Sebastian-Madrid train as recently as December of last year. Such devices are simply assembled and consist of three main components. The bulk explosive charge in such devices is normally a plastic explosive such as Semtex, or a western military explosive such as C4 or P4. All such explosives are nitrogen-based and contain nitroglycerine or nitrocellulose.
Clonan, T., 2004: The Effect of High Explosives in a Confined Space: The Madrid Bombings, Dublin: The Irish Times.