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Leaflet bombs are an activist variation of airborne leaflet propaganda, a form of psychological warfare in which leaflets (flyers) are scattered in the air. Military forces have used aircraft to drop leaflets to attempt to alter the behavior of combatants and non-combatants in enemy-controlled territory to turn the populace against their leadership while preparing them for the arrival of enemy combatants.


The use of leaflet bombs by non-state groups began in 1945 when the Irgun group developed a bomb that was "deposited in the street, ticked away until detonation, then scattered news sheet over a wide and smoky area". In September 1945 three of Irgun's leaflet bombs exploded in Jerusalem and injured nine people.

In the late 1960s the African National Congress (ANC) started to use a version of the leaflet bomb in South Africa. This bomb was developed in collaboration with theSouth African Communist Party (SACP) and South Africans living in exile in London. The first time this leaflet bomb, known to South African activists as the 'bucket bomb' and to the South African police forces as the 'ideological bomb', was used was in 1967. This was one of the most important propaganda weapons of the ANC who devoted major resources to it and used it frequently during the 1960s and 1970s, spreading tens of thousands of leaflets.

Early development

In the 1980s the FMLN in El Salvador used this technology under the name of 'propaganda bomb'. It was one of the "favorite tactics" of its urban militia groups and preferable used in public places like markets or public parks. 

"The design of the bomb was adapted to the local environment in that it consisted of a cardboard box with a small, low-power explosive underneath a large number of propaganda leaflets. The explosive was set off by a homemade time igniter. The box was disguised to look like any ordinary package or box that might be carried by someone going or returning from a trip to the marketplace."



DIY Instructions for making your own Leaflet Bomb can be fond on this link.



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