Shooting suicide bombers

In light of recent events in London and vague memories of an episode of Millenium, I’m reminded there’s a certain point on the spinal column that a sniper is supposed to aim for to ensure that a human is killed but doesn’t go into some sort of muscle spasm.

Any truth to this? And where do you aim for?

The articles I read about the London shooting indicated that the police had learned from the Israelis that only multiple head shots ensure that the bomber cannot trigger his/her device.

One article had this :

Former London police chief John Stevens defended the policy.

“I sent teams to Israel and other countries hit by suicide bombers where we learned a terrible truth,” Mr Stevens wrote in a British newspaper.

"There is only one sure way to stop a suicide bomber – destroy his brain instantly, utterly.

“That means shooting him with devastating power in the head, killing him immediately.”


Is it also true that body shots would potentially set off the explosive?

I do recall in the early Spielberg movie Sugarland Express that there is a reference to the sniper having a clear shot at the guy they wish to kill and I think he makes reference to having a bead on the medulla.

I was listening to NPR the other day when they were interviewing British Police and Anti-terrorism officials. One of the things that they mentioned was that terrorist tactics had prompted British Police to train with Israeli Police and to adopt some of their tactics, which in turn adds fuel to the terrorist fire. Talk about your Catch-22.

Was that the same scene showing the sniper storing his kill round in his ear so that the wax would help the shot?

If the bomber were wearing a vest loaded with explosives, yes, there’s a chance a bullet could hit a blasting cap or otherwise set of an explosion.