The Terrorism portal
Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a financial, political, religious or ideological aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence against peacetime targets or in war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity during the U.S. presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981–89) after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings and again after the 2001 September 11 attacks and the 2002 Bali bombings.
There is no commonly accepted definition of "terrorism". Being a charged term, with the connotation of something "morally wrong", it is often used, both by governments and non-state groups, to abuse or denounce opposing groups. Broad categories of political organisations have been claimed to have been involved in terrorism to further their objectives, including right-wing and left-wing political organisations, nationalist groups, religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments. Terrorism-related legislation has been adopted in various states, regarding "terrorism" as a crime. There is no universal agreement as to whether or not "terrorism", in some definition, should be regarded as a war crime.
According to the Global Terrorism Database by the University of Maryland, College Park, more than 61,000 incidents of non-state terrorism, resulting in at least 140,000 deaths, have been recorded from 2000 to 2014.
The September 11 attacks
(often referred to as September 11th
) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks
upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda members hijacked
four commercial passenger jet airliners
. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center
in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon
in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville
in rural Pennsylvania after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights. 2,973 victims and the 19 hijackers died as a result of the attacks. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 countries. In addition, the death of at least one person from lung disease
was ruled by a medical examiner to be a result of exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse. The United States responded to the attacks by launching a War on Terrorism
. It invaded Afghanistan
to depose the Taliban
, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists. The United States also enacted the USA PATRIOT Act
. Many other countries also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Some American stock exchanges stayed closed for the rest of the week following the attack, and posted enormous losses upon reopening, especially in the airline and insurance industries. The destruction of billions of dollars worth of office space caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan
Terrorist incidents, 1970–2015. A total of 157,520 incidents are plotted. Orange: 1970–1999, Red: 2000–2015
USS Arizona (BB-39) burning during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
Infant crying in Shanghai's South Station after the Japanese bombing, 28 August 1937.
Sign notifying shoppers of increased surveillance due to a perceived increased risk of terrorism
Worldwide non-state terrorist incidents 1970–2015
How terrorist groups end (n = 268): The most common ending for a terrorist group is to convert to nonviolence via negotiations (43 percent), with most of the rest terminated by routine policing (40 percent). Groups that were ended by military force constituted only 7 percent.
Number of failed, foiled or successful terrorist attacks by year and type within the European Union. Source: Europol.
There is speculation that anthrax mailed inside letters to U.S. politicians was the work of a lone wolf.
Top 10 Countries (2000–2014)
Seal of the Jacobin Club: 'Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality'.
The Wall Street bombing at noon on September 16, 1920 killed thirty-eight people and injured several hundred. The perpetrators were never caught.
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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
was the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq
. Zarqawi took responsibility, on several audiotapes, for numerous acts of terrorism in Iraq and Jordan
. These acts include suicide bombings
, and the killing of soldiers, police officers, and civilians. As an Islamist
identified with the Salafi
movement, Zarqawi opposed the presence of United States
and Western military forces in the Islamic world
and opposed the West's support for and the existence of Israel
. In September 2005
, he reportedly declared "all-out war" on Shia Muslims
in Iraq and is believed responsible for dispatching numerous Al-Qaeda suicide bombers
throughout Iraq, especially to areas with large concentrations of Shia civilians. As the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq he is suspected of responsibility for thousands of deaths. Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike in June 2006.
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