Letter bomb

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A mail bomb on display at the National Postal Museum

A letter bomb, also called parcel bomb, mail bomb, package bomb, note bomb, message bomb, gift bomb, present bomb, delivery bomb, surprise bomb, postal bomb, or post bomb, is an explosive device sent via the postal service, and designed with the intention to injure or kill the recipient when opened. They have been used in Israeli targeted killings and in terrorist attacks such as those of the Unabomber. Some countries have agencies whose duties include the interdiction of letter bombs and the investigation of letter bombings.[1] The letter bomb may have been in use for nearly as long as the common postal service has been in existence, as far back as 1764 (see Examples).


Letter bombs are usually designed to explode immediately on opening, with the intention of seriously injuring or killing the recipient (who may or may not be the person to whom the bomb was addressed). A related threat is mail containing unidentified powders or chemicals, as in the 2001 anthrax attacks.


Letter-bombs, along with anti-personnel mines, are typical examples of subject-matter excluded from patentability under the European Patent Convention, because the publication or exploitation of such inventions are contrary to the "ordre public" and/or morality (Article 53(a) EPC).[2]


Parcel bomb sent to Madame Tussauds in 1889

See also


  1. ^ *(USPIS) In the United States, the Postal Inspection Service is responsible for investigating the use, or threat of use, of letter bombs, harmful chemicals and dangerous devices sent through the postal system.
  2. ^ Guidelines for Examination in the EPO, section g-ii, 4.1 , "Matter contrary to "ordre public" or morality".
  3. ^ Eiler Nystrøm(ed.) - Luxdorphs Dagbøger, volume I, p. 207 & 209, Copenhagen, 1915
  4. ^ Luxdorphs Dagbøger, volume I, p. 293. The reference Luxdorph mentions is this: Theatrum Europæum, tome XI, p. 745 column 2, fin
  5. ^ "The Times". 1889-07-20. p. 6. 
  6. ^ http://www.di.se/Index/Nyheter/2004/08/21/114024.htm
  7. ^ "Thomas R. Marshall - Articles". www.nmanchesterhistory.org. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  8. ^ a b Smith, Ira R. T.; Morris, Joe Alex (1949). Dear Mr. President... The Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. pp. 229–230. 
  9. ^ Catherine Desplanque, Petite biographie d'Alois Brunner/
  10. ^ "Alois Brunner". Trial-ch.org. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  11. ^ Stout, David (May 16, 1997). "Unabom Case: U.S. Is Seeking Death Sentence". New York Times (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y. p. 1. Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  12. ^ "Former top Roturua cop dies". 3 News. November 22, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  13. ^ Peter Applebome (1990-07-20). "Shadowy Bombing Case Is Focusing On Reclusive and Enigmatic Figure". New York Times. 
  14. ^ Eric Harrisonn (1991-06-05). "Georgia Man's Mail Bomb Trial Opens". Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ Konnelly, Kate "Austrian racist gets life for five-year bomb terror" The Guardian,Wednesday 10 March 1999
  16. ^ "Iowa man arrested in Janus threats – The Denver Post". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  17. ^ "Muirhead and McKenzie jailed for Neil Lennon parcel bomb plot - BBC News". 
  18. ^ "Mail bombs lay ruin to Chinese county as 7 killed, dozens injured in 17 sites across Guangxi’s Liucheng". South China Morning Post. September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Athens terror as bomb explodes". Daily Star. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  20. ^ "Blast in car injures Greek ex-PM". BBC. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017. 

External links

Media related to Letter bombs at Wikimedia Commons

  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Mail Bombs
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