Medical consequences of terrorist bombs containing spherical metal pellets: Analysis of a suicide terrorism event

Yoram Kluger*, Ami Mayo, Jehuda Hiss, Eitamar Ashkenazi, Jose Bendahan, Amir Blumenfeld, Moshe Michaelson, Michael Stein, Daniel Simon, Ivan Schwartz, Ricardo Alfici

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Various metal objects added to explosives increase and diversify the wounding from bombing; especially favoured are spherical missiles for their special injuring characteristics. Our objective was to study the medical consequences and ballistic effects on human tissue of spherical metal pellets used in terrorist bombings. Methods: The clinical and forensic data of all bodily injured casualties of a suicide terrorist bombing in a crowded hotel dining room were analysed retrospectively. Results: Of the 250 people at the scene, 164 were injured, with 91 (55.5%) suffering bodily injuries; 30 of them died. The immediately deceased had disseminated tissue damage and their bodies were saturated with steel spheres. Thirty-two immediate survivors sustained severe injuries (Injury Severity Score ≥16), and all suffered tissue penetration by the pellets. Twenty-three (32%) underwent surgery and 15 (21%) required intensive care. Conclusions: Metal pellets propelled by the explosion enhanced the secondary pattern of injury and injured even patients remote from the origin. Tissue destruction and specific organ injuries among survivors were limited. To evaluate and manage victims of terrorist bombings properly, medical teams should become familiar with these severe injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Blast injury
  • Bombing
  • Pellets
  • Spheres
  • Terrorism


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