Yesterday a flashlight improvised explosive device (IED) exploded at a Phoenix Salvation Army distribution center, causing minor injuries to two workers. The flashlight, which was turned off, was left among donated items in the center. It detonated when one of the employees found it and tried to turn it on. At this time, there are no further details regarding the composition of the device and the perpetrator(s).
Potentially related to this case are two similar incidents in Glendale, AZ that occurred last week. In both instances, upon first glance, the flashlight appeared normal. Although once they were switched on, they detonated. No serious injuries resulted from the blasts. In the most recent incident, the flashlight has been described by witnesses as similar to the ones in the prior cases: a large, plastic handheld.
On past occasions, flashlights have been effective in concealing explosives. MSA’s subject matter experts are continuing to follow the story and will provide further analysis as details emerge.