Munich Olympics Massacre
The Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, at which eleven Israeli Olympic team members were taken hostage and eventually killed, along with a German police officer, by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.
Shortly after the crisis began, they demanded 234 prisoners jailed in Israel and the German-held founders of the communist Red Army Faction (Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof) be released. The terrorists and hostages were taken to Fürstenfeldbruck airport by helicopter. The Germans had decided to confront the terrorists at the airport and had snipers waiting for them. Once on the ground, the terrorists realized there was a trap. Snipers started shooting at them and they shot back. Two terrorists and one policeman were killed. A stalemate then developed. The Germans requested armoured cars and waited for over an hour for them to arrive. The terrorists realised they were trapped and shot their hostages before the police could stop them.
Three terrorists survived the attack and were taken into custody. Less than two months later, the three remaining terrorists were released by the German government after two other Black September members hijacked a plane and threatened to blow it up unless the three were released. Following the massacre, the Israeli government organized a retaliation against Black September, called Operation Wrath of God.
Dublin & Monaghan pub bombings
The Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974 were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Dublin and Monaghan, Ireland. Three bombs exploded in Dublin during rush hour and a fourth exploded in Monaghan almost ninety minutes later. They killed 33 civilians and injured almost 300.
The bombings were the deadliest attack of the conflict known as the Troubles, and the deadliest terrorist attack in the Republic's history. Most of the victims were young women, although the ages of the dead ranged from five months to 80 years. The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a loyalist paramilitary group from Northern Ireland, claimed responsibility for the bombings in 1993. It had launched a number of attacks in the Republic since 1969.
There are allegations taken seriously by inquiries that elements of the British state security forces helped the UVF carry out the bombings, including members of the Glenanne gang. The Irish Parliament’s Joint Committee on Justice called the attacks an act of international terrorism involving British state forces. No-one has ever been charged with the bombings.
Birmingham pub bombings
On 21 November 1974, bombs exploded in two pubs in Birmingham. The explosions killed 21 people and injured 182. The attacks were seen as the deadliest act of terrorism to occur in the UK between the Second World War and the 2005 London bombings.
Six Irishmen were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. These men became known as the Birmingham Six, and maintained that they were innocent. After 16 years’ imprisonment, their convictions were declared unsafe and unsatisfactory and were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991. The Provisional Irish Republican Army have never officially admitted responsibility for the bombings, but in 2014 a former senior officer confessed their involvement.
Grand Mosque Siege, Mecca
The Grand Mosque seizure occurred during November and December 1979 when extremist insurgents calling for the overthrow of the House of Saud took over Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The insurgents declared that the Mahdi (the "redeemer of Islam") had arrived in the form of one of their leaders – Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani – and called on Muslims to obey him. In the early morning of 20 November 1979, the imam of the Grand Mosque was preparing to lead prayers for the fifty thousand worshipers who had gathered for prayer. He was interrupted by insurgents, led by Juhayman al-Otaybi, who produced weapons from under their robes, chained the gates shut and killed two policemen who were armed with only wooden clubs. The number of insurgents has been given as "four to five hundred" and included several women and children who had joined al-Otaybi's movement. Soon after the rebel seizure, about a hundred security officers of the Ministry of Interior attempted to retake the mosque, but were turned back with heavy casualties. The survivors were quickly joined by units of the Saudi Arabian Army and Saudi Arabian National Guard. The battle lasted for more than two weeks, and had officially left 255 dead and another 560 injured ... although diplomats suggested the toll was higher.
US Embassy bombing, Beirut
The United States embassy bombing was a suicide bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 63 people, mostly embassy staff members, several soldiers and one Marine. 17 of the dead were Americans. It is thought of as marking the beginning of anti-U.S. attacks by Islamist groups.
The attack came in the wake of the intervention of a Multinational Force, made up of Western countries including the U.S., in the Lebanese Civil War, to try to restore central government authority. On the afternoon of 18 April 1983 a van gained access to the embassy compound, and packed with about 2,000 pounds (910kg) of explosives, exploded at the front of the embassy building. U.S. President Ronald Reagan denounced the "vicious terrorist bombing" as a "cowardly act". US envoys continued their peace mission in Beirut to discuss Lebanese troop withdrawals with a renewed sense of urgency.
A pro-Iranian group calling itself the Islamic Jihad Organization took responsibility for the bombing in a telephone call to a news office immediately after the blast. The anonymous caller said, "This is part of the Iranian revolution's campaign against imperialist targets throughout the world. We shall keep striking at any crusader presence in Lebanon, including the international forces.”
Beirut barracks bombing
In 1982, Israel invaded its neighbour Lebanon because the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was using it as a base for its terrorist attacks.
During this war, a pro-Israeli Lebanese group carried out a massacre of between 800 and 2,000 Palestinian civilians in refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila. To prevent further bloodshed, the USA and other nations sent a peacekeeping force to Lebanon.
Many Muslims resented the arrival of these Western forces and believed they were there to help Israel. In 1983, two suicide bombers killed 299 French and American soldiers in their bases at Beirut. Within four months, the Americans withdrew their troops from Lebanon.
Years later, Osama bin Laden and other extremists used this as an example to show that the USA would pull out of its Middle Eastern bases and end its support for Israel if it was directly attacked by terrorists.
Harrods bombing, London
The Harrods bombing refers to the car bomb that exploded outside Harrods department store in central London on 17 December 1983. Members of the Provisional IRA planted the time bomb and sent a warning 37 minutes before it exploded, but the area was not evacuated.
The bomb was understood to have detonated killing three police officers as they approached it. As the area was heavily crowded with Christmas shoppers, the blast also killed three civilians and injured a further 90. The IRA Army Council claimed it had not authorised the attack and expressed regret for the civilian casualties. The IRA had been bombing commercial targets in England since the early 1970s, as part of its "economic war". The goal was to damage the economy and cause disruption, which would put pressure on the British government to withdraw from Northern Ireland.
Air India Flight 182
Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montreal, Canada–London, UK–Delhi, India route. On 23 June 1985, the aircraft was destroyed by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m).
It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace. It was the first bombing of a 747 jumbo jet. A total of 329 people were killed, including 268 Canadian citizens, 27 Britons and 24 Indians. The majority of the victims were Canadian citizens of Indian ancestry. The incident was the largest mass murder in Canadian history. It was the deadliest terrorist attack involving an aeroplane until the 9/11/2001 attacks. It is also the deadliest aircraft bombing.
The main suspects in the bombing were members of the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa. The attack is thought to have been a retaliation against India for the operation carried out by the Indian Army to flush out several hundred Sikh militants who were within the premises of the Golden temple and the surrounding structures. Though a handful of members were arrested and tried, Inderjit Singh Reyat, a Canadian national, remains the only person convicted of involvement in the bombing. Singh pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for building the bombs that exploded aboard Flight 182. The subsequent investigation and prosecution lasted almost twenty years.
Hipercor bombing, Barcelona
The 1987 Hipercor bombing was a car bomb attack by the Basque separatist organisation ETA which occurred on 19 June 1987 at the Hipercor shopping centre in Barcelona, Spain.
The bombing killed 21 people and injured 45. This represents the deadliest attack in ETA's history. Acting on orders received from the ETA leader, three members of ETA's 'Barcelona Commando' Ernaga, Troitiño and Simón, decided to place an incendiary bomb inside the store. Controversy surrounded the timing of telephone warnings made before the attack and the authorities' response to them. The attack occurred on a Friday afternoon. The car bomb, hidden in the boot of the vehicle, had been placed on the first floor of the three-storey subterranean car park below the commercial centre.
Initially 15 people were killed, 10 of them women (one of whom was pregnant) and 2 children and 3 men. In a subsequent communique ETA claimed that they had given advance warning of the bomb but the police had declined to evacuate the area. The police claimed that the warning had come only a few minutes before the bomb exploded. In 1989 Troitiño and Ernaga were given sentences of 794 years in prison and fined more than 1,000 million pesetas. In 2003 Simón was sentenced to 790 years in prison for his role in the attack.
Lockerbie bombing / PAN AM 103
On 21 December 1988 an aircraft flying from Frankfurt to Detroit was destroyed by a terrorist bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew, in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing.
Large sections of the aircraft crashed onto residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 more people on the ground. Following a three-year joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in November 1991. In 1999, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi handed over the two men for trial at Camp Zeist, Netherlands after protracted negotiations and UN sanctions. In 2001, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life after being found guilty of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing. In 2003, Gaddafi admitted Libya's responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families.
In August 2009, Megrahi was released by the Scottish Government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with cancer. Megrahi later died in May 2012, the only person to be convicted for the attack. He had continually asserted his innocence.
Two trucks, each with over 1,000kg of explosives exploded in a business district of the Peruvian capital city, Lima. The blast killed 25 and wounded 155, damaging 183 homes and 400 businesses.
This bombing was the start of a week long campaign by the Shining Path terrorist group -and its deadliest. It was preceded by smaller attacks by the militant group against police stations to clear the way and to disorganize the police forces. Once the trucks were in the street, the drivers abandoned their vehicles, leaving them to smash into buildings and force an explosion. In 1992, Peru was in the midst of a civil war, with several violent political insurgencies occurring, Shining Path were involved in these, being a militant offshoot of the Peruvian Communist Party.
1993 World Trade Center Bombing
In 1993 a terrorist cell led by Ramzi Yousef detonated a truck bomb in the parking lot beneath the twin towers at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, New York City.
Yousef had planned for the explosion to cause Tower 1 to collapse, leading to the collapse of Tower 2, killing all the civilians inside. However, although the explosion caused significant damage to the parking lot and lower floors of the World Trade Center, the towers remained standing. 6 people were killed in the attack.
Yousef had spent time with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and was the nephew of Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, one of the principal architects of the September 11th 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon buildings. Yousef had received training and financial support from his uncle and al-Qaeda to launch an attack against the United States.
In pre-planned letters and his own trial, Yousef cited United States support for Israel as a justification for attacking the World Trade Center. As a symbol of the economic might of the USA, the World Trade Center would remain a target for terrorists linked to al-Qaeda.
The 1993 Mumbai bombings were a series of explosions that took place in Mumbai, India on 12 March 1993 at locations including the Mumbai Stock Exchange, hotels, banks and a major shopping mall.
The coordinated attacks were the most destructive bomb explosions in Indian history. This was first such group of serial bombings in the world. Beginning with a car bomb which exploded in the basement of the Mumbai Stock exchange killing 50 people, a total of 13 bombs exploded throughout Mumbai soon afterwards. A double decker bus was very badly damaged in one of the explosions and that single incident accounted for the greatest loss of life – perhaps up to ninety people were killed. In total the attacks resulted in 257 fatalities and 717 injuries.
The attacks were coordinated by Dawood Ibrahim, leader of the Mumbai-based international organised crime syndicate named D-Company, who have been linked to terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda. Ibrahim is believed to have ordered and helped organise the bombings in Mumbai, through his subordinates Tiger Memon and Yakub Memon. The Supreme Court of India gave its judgement on 21 March 2013 after over 20 years of judicial proceedings sentencing over 100 of the accused. However, the two main suspects in the case, Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, have not yet been arrested.
Hebron massacre / Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre or Hebron massacre, was a shooting massacre carried out by American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein, also a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement.
Goldstein opened fire on a large number of Palestinian Muslims who had gathered to pray inside the Ibrahimi Mosque (also Mosque of Abraham), at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, West Bank. It took place during the overlapping religious holidays of both Jewish Purim and Muslim Ramadan. The attack left 29 people dead and 125 wounded. Goldstein was only stopped after he was overpowered and beaten to death by survivors.
The massacre immediately set off mass Palestinian protests and riots throughout the West Bank. Goldstein was widely denounced in Israel and by communities in the Jewish diaspora. Two separate suicide bombings took place in March 1994, carried out by Palestinian militants inside Israel in retaliation for the massacre carried out by Goldstein. A total of 15 Israeli civilians were killed and 34 wounded in the attack, which took place in Afula on April 6, at the end of the forty-day mourning period for Goldstein's victims. Those were the first suicide bombings carried out by Palestinian fighters inside Israel.
The AMIA bombing was an attack on the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina, a Jewish centre, in Buenos Aires in 1994. The attack was the deadliest in Argentina’s history, killing 85 and injuring over 300.
A van loaded with 275kg of explosives was driven by a suicide bomber into the building and the resulting explosion caused the building to almost totally collapse. This bombing came two years after the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which caused the death of 29 people.
No suspects have been convicted of the AMIA attack – leading to calls of incompetence on the part of the Argentinian government. In 2006 two Argentinian prosecutors accused the then government of Iran and the Hezbollah militia as responsible for carrying out the attack. Iran has repeatedly and vehemently denied any involvement in the attack.
Tokyo Subway Sarin Attacks
The Tokyo subway sarin attack was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated on March 20, 1995 in Tokyo, Japan, by members of the cult movement Aum Shinrikyo.
In five coordinated attacks, the perpetrators released sarin, a powerful nerve gas, on several lines of the Tokyo subway during the rush hour, killing 12 people, severely injuring 50 and causing permanent or temporary vision problems for over 1,000 others. The attack was directed against trains passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatachō, home to the Japanese government. It is the most serious attack to occur in Japan since the end of World War II. The prosecution later said that it was an attempt to bring down the government and install Shoko Asahara, the group's founder, as the "emperor" of Japan.
Shortly after the attack, Aum lost its status as a religious organization, and many of its assets were seized. The Diet (Japanese parliament) rejected a request from government officials to outlaw the group, which continues to exist today although it has officially renounced violence.
Oklahoma City bombing
The Oklahoma City bombing was a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
Carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the bombing destroyed one-third of the building, killed 168 people, and injured more than 680 others. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius, and destroyed or burned 86 cars, causing an estimated $652 million worth of damage. Within 90 minutes of the explosion, McVeigh was stopped by police for driving without a license plate and arrested for illegal weapons possession. Forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Nichols to the attack; Nichols was arrested, and within days both were charged.
McVeigh, a U.S. militia movement sympathizer, had detonated a rental truck full of explosives parked in front of the building. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation. Motivated by his hatred of the U.S. federal government and angered by its handling of the 1993 Waco siege, McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison in 2004.
It was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil until the September 11 attacks and still remains the deadliest domestic terrorism incident in United States history.
Colombo Central Bank bombing, Sri Lanka
One of the deadliest attacks carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or the Tamil Tigers) during the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009).
The bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber driving a lorry which contained 440 pounds of high explosive, killing 91 and injuring 1,400 others. The Tamil Tigers were separatist fighters, aiming for an independent state in the north and east of the island. Ultimately they were defeated in 2009 by the Sri Lankan military.
Over the course of its operations, the LTTE carried out many attacks and assassinations, including those of the former Indian Prime Minister in 1991 and the Sri Lankan President in 1993.
According to the FBI, the LTTE were the first organization to use suicide belts.
Arndale Centre, Manchester
The 1996 Manchester bombing was an attack carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) in Manchester, England.
The 3,300-pound (1,500kg) bomb, placed in a van on Corporation Street in Manchester city centre, targeted the city's infrastructure and economy and caused widespread damage, estimated by insurers at £700 million (£1.2 billion as of 2016).
The IRA had sent telephoned warnings about 90 minutes before the bomb detonated. The area was evacuated, but the bomb squad were unable to defuse the bomb in time. Two hundred and twelve people were injured, but there were no fatalities.
Although Manchester had been the target of IRA bombs before, it had not been subjected to an attack on this scale; the biggest bomb detonated in Great Britain since World War II. The bombing was condemned by the British and Irish governments. Five days after the blast the IRA issued a statement in which it claimed responsibility, but regretted causing injury to civilians.
US Embassy bombings, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam
The 1998 United States embassy bombings occurred on 7 August 1998; over 200 people were killed in truck bomb explosions in two East African cities, at the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.
The attacks, which were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, brought Osama bin Laden and the terrorist organization al-Qaeda to the attention of the American public for the first time, and resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) placing bin Laden on its ten most-wanted fugitives list.
The bombings are widely believed to have been revenge for American involvement in the extradition, and alleged torture, of four members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) who had been arrested in Albania in the two months prior to the attacks.
213 people were killed in the Nairobi blast, while 11 were killed in Dar es Salaam. An estimated 4,000 in Nairobi were wounded, and another 85 in Dar es Salaam.
In response to the bombings, President Bill Clinton ordered a series of cruise missile strikes on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan, announcing the planned strike in a prime time address on American television.
The Omagh bombing was a car bombing that took place in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
It was carried out by the Real Irish Republican Army, a Provisional Irish Republican Army splinter group who opposed the IRA's ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement. The bombing ultimately killed 31 people (including a mother pregnant with twins) and injured some 220 others, the highest death toll from a single incident during the Troubles. Telephoned warnings had been sent about 40 minutes beforehand, but were inaccurate and police had inadvertently moved people towards the bomb.
The bombing caused outrage both locally and internationally, spurred on the Northern Ireland peace process, and dealt a severe blow to the 'dissident' republican campaign. The Real IRA apologized and declared a ceasefire shortly after. The victims included people from many backgrounds: Protestants, Catholics, a Mormon teenager, five other teenagers, six children, a mother pregnant with twins, two Spanish tourists, and other tourists on a day trip from the Republic of Ireland. Both unionists and Irish nationalists were killed and injured.
1999 London nail bombings
David Copeland, who became known as the “London nail bomber” let off three nail bombs over successive weekends in Brixton, Brick Lane and finally Soho.
The bombs resulted in three deaths and over 100 injuries and were targeted at London’s black, South Asian and gay communities. Copeland, a Neo-Nazi and former member of the British Nationalist Party and the then Nationalist Socialist Movement, placed holdalls filled with up to 1,500 four-inch nails at each target location.
Despite being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and pleading for manslaughter he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
The first bomb, in Electric Avenue (the site of Brixton market), may have resulted in more severe injuries had it not been moved by a young trader -who grew suspicious of the unattended bag- away from the central market area. This trader realized the bag was actually a bomb and notified the police, but just as they were arriving the bomb detonated. The second bomb was picked up by a man on Brick Lane and brought to the police station, which was shut, and exploded in the boot of his car. The third and final bomb detonated on Friday evening at a pub in the centre of London’s gay scene, causing three deaths.
11 September attacks
19 terrorists from al-Qaeda, hijacked four commercial airplanes, deliberately crashing two of the planes into the upper floors of the North and South towers of the World Trade Centre complex and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington.
The Twin Towers ultimately collapsed because of the damage sustained from the impacts and the resulting fires, which weakened the support columns. After learning about the other attacks, passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, DC.
In total the attacks killed 2,977 people, 2,753 people were killed in New York, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon and 40 people were killed on Flight 93. When the towers were struck, between 16,400 and 18,000 people were in the WTC complex, as many of these rushed out, emergency services were rushing in to try and save those injured or trapped. (For further information on 9/11, it’s causes and consequences, please see the other resources on our website).
The shoe bomber
On December 22nd 2001, only months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Richard Reid, also known as the ‘shoe bomber’ attempted to detonate an explosive device packed into the shoes he was wearing, while on American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami.
Reid, a British citizen of British and Jamaican decent, was involved in petty crime and converted to Islam while in prison; later becoming radicalised. In 2001 Reid is believed to have travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan to receive training with Al-Qaeda.
It was in Afghanistan that Reid was given 'shoe bombs'; footwear laden with explosives adapted to be smuggled onto planes, as part of al-Qaeda’s broader strategy to target aviation.
While aboard passenger flight 63 from Paris to Miami, Reid caught the attention of crew and passengers while trying to light matches in order to detonate the explosives in his shoes. It took several passengers to restrain Reid, and the flight was immediately diverted to the nearest US airport - Logan International, Boston, where Reid was arrested upon landing.
On 16th January 2002, Reid was charged with eight criminal counts related to terrorism, to which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 3 life sentences with no possibility of parole.
During his trial, Reid stated he was an enemy of the United States and in league with Al-Qaeda, as well a soldier of God under the command of Osama Bin Laden.
A suicide bombing, known as the Passover massacre, was carried out by Hamas, at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel on 27 March 2002 during the Passover Seder.
A Palestinian bomber, Abdel-Basset Odeh, disguised himself as a woman and entered the hotel carrying a suitcase containing explosives. He successfully passed the security guards and detonated the bomb. 30 people were killed and 140 were injured.
The Bojaya massacre occurred against the backdrop of violent conflict between the rebel militant left wing group FARC and the paramilitary group AUC.
The AUC were positioned in a church in the Colombian town of Bojaya and were using civilians as a human shield. FARC fired gas cylinder bombs into the city, one bomb exploded in the church and killed 119 civilians. A UN investigation found FARC guilty of breaking international humanitarian law with regards to failing to distinguish between civilian and combatant and causing unnecessary civilian casualties. AUC were found guilty of using civilians as human shields and failing to protect civilians from the effect of their military operations.
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali.
The attack killed 202 people (including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, and people from more than 20 other nationalities). A further 209 people were injured. Various members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted in relation to the bombings, including three individuals who were sentenced to death.
The attack involved the detonation of three bombs: a backpack-mounted device carried by a suicide bomber; a large car bomb, both of which were detonated in or near popular nightclubs in Kuta; and a third much smaller device detonated outside the United States consulate in Denpasar, causing only minor damage. An audio-cassette purportedly carrying a recorded voice message from Osama bin Laden stated that the Bali bombings were in direct retaliation for support of the United States' war on terror and Australia's role in the liberation of East Timor.
Podshipnikov Zavod Theatre hostage crisis, Moscow
The Moscow theatre hostage crisis was the seizure of a crowded Dubrovka Theatre by 40 to 50 armed Chechens on 23 October 2002 that involved 850 hostages and ended with the death of at least 170 people.
The attackers claimed allegiance to the Islamist militant separatist movement in Chechnya. They demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War. The attackers had numerous explosives, with the most powerful in the centre of the auditorium, that, if detonated, could have brought down the ceiling.
After the murder of two female hostages two-and-a-half days in, Spetsnaz operators from Federal Security Service (FSB) Alpha and Vega Groups, supported by a Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) SOBR unit, pumped an undisclosed chemical agent into the building's ventilation system and raided it. All 40 of the attackers were killed, with no casualties among Spetsnaz; about 130 hostages died, including nine foreigners, due to adverse reactions to the gas. All but two of the hostages who died during the siege were killed by the toxic substance pumped into the theatre to subdue the militants. The use of the gas was widely condemned as heavy-handed.
Madrid train bombs
The 2004 Madrid train bombings were nearly simultaneous, coordinated bombings against the commuter train system of Madrid, Spain, three days before Spain's general elections.
The explosions killed 192 people and injured around 2,000. The official investigation by the Spanish judiciary found that the attacks were directed by an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell, although no direct al-Qaeda participation has been established. The Spanish judiciary stated that a loose group of Moroccan, Syrian, and Algerian Muslims and two Guardia Civil and Spanish police informants were suspected of having carried out the attacks. On 11 April 2006, the courts charged 29 suspects for their involvement in the train bombings.
Bombing in Ba`qubah, Iraq
The 2004 Baqubah bombing occurred next to a local market and a police station on 28 July 2004, in Baquba, Diyala Governorate in Iraq, targeting civilians that were lined up waiting to sign up as police volunteers.
According to witnesses, a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into the queue outside the building and detonated the explosive charges. The force of the blast was huge and destroyed a minivan that was parking nearby, killing all 21 people inside. A total of 68 Iraqis perished in the attack and scores more were wounded. The city of Baqubah was declared to be the centre of operations for Al-Qaeda in Iraq in late 2003 - early 2006, then it became a major location for Islamic State, before US troops moved in and forced the group to relocate. It was the site of almost daily incidents, including major attacks in 2004-2005, 2008 and 2010.
Beslan school siege, North Ossetia
The Beslan school siege started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), and ended with the death of at least 385 people.
A group of armed Islamist terrorists, mostly Ingush and Chechen, occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, in the Russian region of North Ossetia. The hostage-takers demanded recognition of the independence of Chechnya, and UN and Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building with the use of tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons. At least 330 hostages were killed, including 186 children, with a significant number of people injured and reported missing.
In the wake of Beslan, the government proceeded to toughen laws on terrorism and expand the powers of law enforcement agencies. The raid on Beslan had more to do with the Ingush involved than the Chechens, but was highly symbolic for both nations. One spokesman for the Chechen independence cause stated, "Such a bigger blow could not be dealt upon us...People around the world will think that Chechens are monsters if they could attack children".
London Transport Bombings
The 7 July 2005 London bombings, often referred to as 7/7, were a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bomb attacks in central London which targeted civilians using the public transport system during the morning rush hour.
Four Islamist extremists separately detonated three bombs in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two civilians were killed and over 700 more were injured in the attacks, the United Kingdom's worst terrorist incident since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing as well as the country's first ever Islamist suicide attack. The 52 victims were of diverse backgrounds; among them were several foreign-born British nationals, foreign exchange students, parents, and one British couple of 14 years. All but one were London residents. Three of the bombers were British-born sons of Pakistani immigrants; the other was a convert born in Jamaica.
Mumbai railway bombings
The Mumbai railway bombings were a series of seven bomb blasts that took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the nation's financial capital.
The bombs were set off in pressure cookers on trains on the Western line of the Suburban Railway network. 209 people were killed and over 700 were injured. A state of high alert was declared in India's major cities and both of Mumbai’s airports. Some 350 people were detained 36 hours after the incident in Maharashtra; police claim that these were people rounded up for investigations.
On 14 July, Lashkar-e-Qahhar, a terrorist organisation possibly linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), claimed responsibility for the bombings. In an e-mail to an Indian TV channel, the outfit says it organised the bombings using 16 people who are all "safe". According to the e-mail, the main motive seems to have been a retaliation to the situation in the Gujarat and Kashmir regions, possibly referring to the alleged oppression of Muslim minorities in certain parts of the region.
Yazidi community bombings
These were four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks in the Yazidi towns of Kahtaniya and Jazeera in the Iraqi province of Ninawa.
The coordinated bombings involved a fuel tanker and three cars. Iraqi Red Crescent's estimated the bombs killed 500 and wounded 1,500 people, making this the Iraq War's deadliest car bomb attack during the period of major American combat operations. For several months leading up the attack, tensions had been building up in the area, particularly between Yazidis and Sunni Muslims. Leaflets were distributed denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic" and warning them that an attack was imminent. The blasts targeted the Yazidi, a religious minority in Iraq. The coordinated bombings involved a fuel tanker and three cars.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, accused Iraqi Sunni insurgents of the bombings, pointing at the history of Sunni violence against Yazidis. US authorities suspected the involvement of Al-Qaeda in Iraq/Islamic State in Iraq.
Mercaz HaRaz shooting
On 6 March 2008, a lone Palestinian gunman shot at multiple students at the Mercaz HaRaz yeshiva, a religious school in Jerusalem, Israel.
Eight students were killed and a further eleven seriously injured before the perpetrator was shot dead by a part-time student and off-duty Israel Defence Forces Captain. The attack was committed by Alaa Abu Dhein, a resident of East Jerusalem who worked as a driver that made deliveries to the yeshiva. He entered the school with several magazines, shooting over 500 rounds within a twenty-minute period, before being shot twice by the part-time student.
Many of the students at the school are on courses that combine religious study with service in combat units in the Israeli Army. The shooting was criticised by the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who described it as a “savage attack”.
Siege of Mumbai
In November 2008, 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist militant organisation based in Pakistan, carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai.
Transport terminals, cafes, hotels, cinemas and a hospital were targeted. LeT reiterated its aim to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to "liberate" Muslims residing in Indian Kashmir. The attacks drew widespread global condemnation, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308. On 29 November, India's National Security Guards (NSG) conducted 'Operation Black Tornado' to flush out the remaining attackers; it resulted in the deaths of the last remaining attackers at the Taj Hotel and ending all fighting in the attacks. The Government of India said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan. On 7 January 2009, Pakistan confirmed the sole surviving perpetrator of the attacks was a Pakistani citizen.
The 2011 Norway attacks were two sequential terrorist attacks by Anders Behring Breivik against the government, the civilian population, and a Workers' Youth League (AUF)-run summer camp.
The attacks claimed a total of 77 lives. The first attack was a car bomb explosion in Oslo. The van was placed next to the tower block housing the office of the Prime Minister, killing eight people and injuring at least 209 people, twelve of them seriously. The second attack occurred less than two hours later at a summer camp on the island of Utøya. The camp was organized by the AUF, the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party. Breivik, dressed in a homemade police uniform and showing false identification, took a ferry to the island and opened fire at the participants, killing 69 of them, and injuring at least 110 people. It was the deadliest attack in Norway since World War II, and a survey found that one in four Norwegians knew "someone affected by the attacks".
According to his attorney, Breivik has acknowledged that he is responsible for both the bomb and the shooting during interrogation but denies culpability, as he asserts that his actions were "atrocious but necessary". He held Islamophobic views and a hatred of Islam, and considered himself as a knight dedicated to stemming the tide of Muslim immigration into Europe.
Maymana mosque bombing
At least 32 people were killed in this suicide bombing of a mosque in northern Afghanistan just as worshippers held morning prayers at the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Most provincial government officials were also at the mosque, which was crowded on the first day of the four-day holiday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings were commonly used by Taliban Islamists trying to topple the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai. Northern Afghanistan was relatively peaceful, with the Taliban, who were ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001, concentrating their operations in the south and east of the country. Between 2007 and 2014 over 20,000 people were killed by terrorist attacks in Afghanistan; this mosque bombing is one of many tragic attacks over this period.
Kunming mass stabbing
A gang of eight knife wielding attackers left 29 people dead and many more injured at Kunming railway station in Yunnan province, south-west China.
The attackers were dressed in black, according to eyewitnesses, who also said they targeted civilians indiscriminately. Six of the eight were men, the other two women, all hailed from Xinjiang, a province in northwest China that is home to many ethnic minority groups. The region is on edge and has seen violence for decades as the Uyghur ethnic minority fight for greater independence. It is claimed the attack was partly in response to police suppressing a demonstration there against the closure of a mosque. Four of the assailants were killed at the scene, three were later sentenced to death and one was sentenced to life in prison.
Boston Marathon bombing
The Boston Marathon bombing was a terrorist attack, and related shootings, that occurred when two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon in April 2013.
The bombs exploded about 12 seconds and 190m apart near the marathon's finish line. The explosion killed 3 civilians and injured an estimated 264 others. The FBI took over the investigation and, on April 18, released photographs and a surveillance video of two suspects. The suspects were identified later that day as Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Shortly after the FBI released identifying images, the suspects killed a policeman, carjacked a civilian car, and initiated an exchange of gunfire with the police in nearby Watertown. During the firefight, a two police officers were injured; one dying from his wounds nearly a year later. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot several times in the firefight and his brother subsequently ran him over with the stolen car in his escape. Tamerlan died shortly after arriving at hospital. Dzhokhar said they were motivated by extremist Islamist beliefs and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that they were self-radicalized and unconnected to any outside terrorist groups.
The murder of Lee Rigby
On Wednesday 22 May 2013, 25-year-old British Army soldier, Fusilier Lee Rigby of the Royal regiment of Fusiliers, was killed near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, Southeast London.
Rigby was off duty when his attackers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, hit him with a car before using knives and a cleaver to stab him to death in the middle of the street. The men stood by Rigby’s dead body and told passers-by that they were avenging the killing of Muslims by the British armed forces. Adebolajo and Adebowale were both raised as Christians but converted to Islam. Both men were found guilty of Lee Rigby’s murder and sentence to life imprisonment. Sue Hemming, head of special crime and counter terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, described the attack as an “appalling terrorist murder”, which was “brutal and calculated; it was also designed to advance extremist views”.
Westgate Mall shootings, Nairobi
On Saturday 21 September 2013, unidentified gunmen attacked Westgate shopping mall, the most expensive shopping centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
The attack resulted in at least 67 deaths, and more than 175 people were reportedly wounded in the mass shooting. The extremist Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the incident, which it characterised as retribution for the Kenyan military's deployment in the group's home country of Somalia. Many media outlets also suspected the insurgent group's involvement in the attack based on earlier reprisal warnings it had issued in the wake of Operation Linda Nchi from 2011 to 2012. Kenyan authorities arrested dozens of people in the aftermath of the attack, but had not announced any suspects directly related to the siege.
Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping
On the night of 14-15th April 2014, 276 female students (aged 16-18) were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria.
Boko Haram, an extremist and terrorist organization based in Northeast Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Of the 276 children, 53 were able to escape at the beginning of May. In May 2016, Amina Ali, one of the missing girls, was found. She said that the girls were still being held, but that six of them had died. Ali also revealed that the girls are being held in Sambisa forest, where they are being starved and had resorted to eaten raw maize, that some had died in captivity, broken bones or gone deaf from being too close to explosions.
Three videos have been released by Boko Haram. A video released on 14 August 2016 showed approximately fifty of the girls, and demanded the release of imprisoned militants in exchange for the girls. It also said that some of the girls have been killed or injured by government air strikes. Another video was released in April 2016, while the first video was released in May 2014, and shows around 130 of the girls reciting the Koran together.
Boko Haram (which means “non-Islamic education is a sin”) have been involved in an armed rebellion against the Nigerian government since 2009, with violence at its height in 2014, when the conflict resulted in over 10,000 deaths.
Peshawar school massacre
Seven militants from the Pakistani Taliban attacked an army-run school in the north-west of Pakistan, killing 132 children and nine adults.
The victims were mostly aged between 12 and 16 and were gunned down in their classrooms by the militants. This was the deadliest ever terror attack to occur in Pakistan and resulted in the death penalty being reinstated for six of the attackers (the seventh and mastermind, Omar Khorasani, was killed in a drone attack in 2016), all of whom were foreign nationals. The massacre sent shockwaves through the country and the Pakistani Taliban was widely condemned. Parallels in the nature and preparation of the attack have been drawn with the Beslan school siege in North Ossetia, Russia, in 2004.
Charlie Hebdo shootings
Two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Armed with assault rifles and other weapons, they killed 11 people and injured 11 others in the building. After leaving, they killed a French National Police officer outside the building. The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen, who took responsibility for the attack and blamed Islamophobic cartoons and jokes published in the newspaper. Several related attacks followed in the Île-de-France region, where a further five were killed and 11 wounded. France raised its Vigipirate terror alert and deployed soldiers in Île-de-France and Picardy.
A major manhunt led to the discovery of the suspects, who exchanged fire with police. The brothers took hostages at a signage company in Dammartin-en-Goële on 9 January and were shot dead when they emerged from the building firing. On 11 January, about two million people, including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity, and 3.7 million people joined demonstrations across France. The phrase Je suis Charlie became a common slogan of support at the rallies and in social media.
Hyper Cacher kosher deli siege
Two days after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Amedy Coulibaly attacked the people in a kosher food shop in Porte de Vincennes in Paris.
Four people were killed in this attack, all of whom were Jewish, as fifteen others were held hostage. In an interview during a stand off with police, Coulibaly said that he had specifically targeted Jews. Coulibaly's wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, was a suspected accomplice. The siege was ended when the police stormed the store, and Coulibaly was shot and killed.
It was later revealed that Coulibaly had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and was a close friend of the Charlie Hebdo shooters, Saïd Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi, after meeting them in jail in 2005.
Sousse beach attack
On 28th June 2015, 23 year old electrical engineering student, Seifeddine Regzui, committed a massacre in which 38 people lost their lives, and a further 39 were injured.
At around noon, Regzui, strolled along the beach outside the Imperial Marhaba hotel in the popular tourist resort area of Port El Kantaoui, 10km north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia. Regzui opened fire at tourists on the beach, after pulling out a Kalashnivok assault rifle which he had concealed in a parasol, as well as throwing grenades. As holidaymakers fled for their lives, the gunman continued his attack, entering the hotel via the pool area and shooting at more victims. The gunman then left the hotel and began firing in the street before police arrived and returned fire, killing Regzui – an hour after the attack began.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. Rezgui is believed to have trained at an Islamic State camp in Libya, alongside gunmen who had committed an attack at the Bardo National Museum also in Tunisia, just 3 months before the Sousse attack.
According to an Interior Ministry spokesman, it is believed that others helped the attacker at the scene though were not involved directly.
The attack received worldwide condemnation. 30 of the victims were British, making it the largest loss of British life in a terrorist attack since the 2005 London bombings. The nationalities of the other victims included 3 Irish, 2 German, 1 Russian, 1 Belgian and 1 Portuguese victim(s).
It was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of modern Tunisia.
On 17 August 2015, a bomb exploded in Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, killing 20 people and injuring 125.
CCTV footage showed a man, believed to be the bomber, leaving a bag on the floor in the shrine and walking out before the bomb exploded. Adem Karadag was arrested and accused of being the bomber. Police also gave an account of a network of around 17 people who they believed helped to plot, prepare and plant the bomb.
The death toll of 103 civilians outside Ankara Central railway station on 10 October was the deadliest terror attack in Turkey’s history.
The two bombs that detonated were seemingly targeted at a peace march that was protesting against the growing conflict between the Turkish Army and the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It was also timed to be close to the upcoming general election to cause maximum disruption. Although no organization claimed responsibility for the attacks, both bombers had links to ISIL, who the Turkish government in turn placed the blame.
Metrojet flight 9268
Metrojet Flight 9268 disintegrated above the northern Sinai on 31 October 2015 on route from Egypt to Russia. The aircraft was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members; all of whom were killed.
Of those aboard, mostly tourists, there were 219 Russians, four Ukrainians, and one Belarusian. The possibility that a bomb was put on the aircraft at Sharm el-Sheikh led several countries to suspend flights to that airport. Although the cause was initially unclear, shortly after the crash, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)'s Sinai Branch, claimed responsibility for the incident. By November, British and American authorities suspected that a bomb was responsible for the crash and the Russian Federal Security Service announced on 17 November that they were sure that it was a terrorist attack, caused by an improvised bomb.
Another major attack from ISIL in a short space of time – sandwiched between the Metrojet bomb and the Paris attack and received less media attention as a result.
Two men wearing suicide vests were responsible for the attack which killed 43 and injured over 200 civilians; this was the biggest terrorist attack in Beirut since the end of the Lebanese Civil War, 25 years before. The targets were Shi’a Muslims, with the aim of dividing Lebanon, which was facing political unrest at the time. ISIL were also attempting to pressurize Hezbollah (a Shi’a paramilitary group and political party based in Lebanon) into withdrawing from Syria where they are helping to fight ISIL. A national day of mourning was held on the day after the attack.
Three suicide bombers struck near the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, followed by suicide bombings and mass shootings at cafés, restaurants and a music venue in central Paris.
The attackers killed 130 people, including 89 at the Bataclan theatre, where they took hostages before engaging in a stand-off with police. Another 368 people were injured, 80–99 seriously. Seven of the attackers also died.
The attacks were the deadliest on France since World War II, and the deadliest in the European Union since the Madrid train bombings in 2004. France had been on high alert since the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish supermarket in Paris that killed 17 people and wounded 22, including civilians and police officers. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that it was retaliation for the French airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq. The President of France, François Hollande, said the attacks were an act of war by ISIL planned in Syria, organised in Belgium, and perpetrated with help from citizens of France. All of the known Paris attackers were EU citizens who had fought in Syria. Some of them had returned to Europe among the flow of migrants and refugees.
San Bernardino shooting
On December 2nd 2015, a terrorist attack consisting of a mass shooting and attempted bombing, killed 14 and seriously injured 22 in San Bernardino, California.
The perpetrators were 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook, a U.S born citizen of Pakistani descent and 27-year-old, Pakistani-born Tashfeen Malik, who lawfully came to the United States to marry Farook in 2014. The couple had a 6-month-old daughter and were living in the city of Redlands, CA, with Farook’s mother at the time of the attack.
Farook, who worked at the San Bernardino County Health Department, was attending a holiday party for the department at the Inland Regional Centre, where he left after a dispute and later returned with his wife to carry out the attack.
After killing two people outside the building, Farook then opened fire on the 80 employees in attendance. He was followed by Malik - both wore ski masks and black tactical gear and were armed with semi-automatic pistols and rifles. They fired up to 75 rounds before fleeing in a rented SUV.
The 14 victims all died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The perpetrators left behind three home-made explosive devices, described as pipe bombs, that failed to detonate. Authorities believe they were meant to target the emergency personnel responding to the scene.
Four hours later, after having identified Farook from an interview given by a co-worker, police pursued their vehicle and both Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout. Authorities discovered 1,600 rounds of ammunition in the rented SUV; as well as 4,000 rounds of ammunition and bomb-making equipment at the couple’s home.
According to the FBI’s investigation, the perpetrators were “homegrown violent extremists” inspired by foreign terrorist groups.
On the morning of 22 March 2016, three coordinated nail bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels.
In these attacks, 32 victims and three perpetrators were killed, and over 300 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks. The bombings were the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium's history. Two suicide bombers, carrying explosives in large suitcases, attacked a departure hall at Brussels Airport. A third bomb was found in a search of the airport and was later destroyed by a controlled explosion.
Belgium's federal prosecutor confirmed that the suicide bombers had detonated nail bombs.
Another explosion took place just over an hour later in the middle carriage of a three-carriage train at Maalbeek metro station, located near the European Commission headquarters in the centre of Brussels. A total of five attackers were involved, with three of them dying in suicide bombings and the remaining two arrested in the weeks after. All had involvement in the planning and organization of the November 2015 Paris attacks.
Orlando nightclub shooting
On 12 June 2016, Omar Mateen, committed a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando, Florida. The shooting killed 49 people and injured 53 others.
In a phone call to 911 shortly after the shooting began, Mateen swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and stated that the shooting was triggered by the US killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq in May. Mateen was shot and killed by the police following a three-hour standoff. The attack was the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in US history, and the deadliest attack in America since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The CIA found no links between Mateen and ISIL.
Jo Cox Murder
On 16th June 2016, one week before the EU referendum, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed multiple times. Cox was on her way to a meeting with voters, at the library in Bristall when the attack took place.
Thomas Mair, was found guilty of her terrorist murder. While attacking her, Mair is reported to have yelled: “Britain first, keep Britain independent, Britain will always come first and this is for Britain”
A local man, Bernard Kenny, 77, was also injured in the attack as he tried to fend off the attacker.
Mair was sentenced to whole-life imprisonment. The judge claimed that the murder was inspired by ‘admiration for Nazism, and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds’.
Dhaka bakery attack
Six militants attacked a bakery and held hostages in Dhaka on the evening of 1 July 2016. 22 civilians were killed, 18 of whom were foreigners, making this the worst terrorist attack in Bangladesh’s history.
A commando battalion set up a perimeter in the early hours of the next morning and launched a raid to rescue the remaining hostages. 13 hostages were saved, whilst five of the militants were killed during the counter-attack. Whilst ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, the Bangladeshi government blamed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, an Islamic fundamentalist organization that operates in Bangladesh. All the attackers were in their late teens or early 20s and identified as wealthy men from the elite, having attended private schools and universities in Bangladesh and educated with western curricula.
Saudi Arabia bombings
Four suicide bombings exploded across Saudi Arabia on 4 July 2016.
Four people were killed when a bomb exploded in the parking lot of the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi. The second and third suicide bombers targeted the Shia mosque in Qatif, but no one else was harmed. The final explosion occurred after police tried to arrest the suicide bomber near the US consulate in Jeddah. Two Saudi Arabian police officers were injured. The attack was the first ever terror attack that occurred in Medina. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but ISIS is suspected.
On the evening of 14 July 2016, a 19-tonne cargo truck drove into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. 86 people were killed and a further 434 were injured.
The driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was shot and killed by the police during an exchange of gunfire. Two agencies linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed that the attack was inspired by the organisation. Prosecutor François Mollins stated that the attack had been planned for months and that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had help from accomplices. In August, at least five people were taken into custody on charges of terror offense. In September, 8 more suspects were arrested.
A truck was deliberately driven into the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, leaving 12 people dead and 56 injured.
One of the victims was the original driver, Lukasz Urban, from Poland, who was found shot dead in the passenger seat. The subsequent investigation found that the driver had been killed several hours before the truck was driven into the market. The perpetrator was Anis Amri, a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia. Amri had previously been sentenced to four years in prison for violence and robbery, which he served in two jails in Sicily. He was then told to return to Tunisia, but the authorities there refused to accept him, around this time (in 2015) it is believed he went to Germany. After a four day manhunt, Amri was killed in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy.
Istanbul nightclub shooting
A lone gunman killed 39 and injured 70 more at the Reina nightclub in the Besiktas district of Istanbul at around 01:15 on New Year's Day, 2017. The attacker escaped a police cordon on the night, but was later arrested in the city on January 17, ISIL claimed credit for his actions.
2016 had seen heightened tensions between ISIL and Turkey, as Turkish forces had used military force in Syria against ISIL for the first time. Istanbul had also been subject to several terror attacks, such as an attack on their airport and the Vodafone Arena, which had killed 48 and 46 people respectively. 17,000 police officers were on duty in the city, including one that was shot dead as the perpetrator stormed the nightclub.
In the aftermath of the attack, the Turkish government ordered a temporary media blackout, citing concerns over security and public order. The Turkish police forces arrested dozens of individuals before capturing Abdulkadir Masharipov in a residential district of Istanbul on January 17. The Turkish military also carried out attacks against ISIL targets in the Syrian town of al-Bab, killing 22 people.
Security sources indicated thatMasharipov was well trained, believed to have received militant instruction in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he is also thought to have had combat experience in Syria. Masharipov is an Uzbek national, who is able to speak four languages. After his arrest, he stated he was directed by ISIL to stage his attack at Taksim Square, but after conducting surveillance, he changed the location of his attack to the Reina nightclub.
A car was deliberately driven into pedestrians on the pavement along the south side of Westminster Bridge, killing three and injuring 50.
After the car crashed into a perimeter fence at the Westminster side of the bridge, the attacker abandoned it and ran into New Palace Yard where he fatally stabbed an unarmed police officer. A nearby firearms police officer, seeing the attack, shot and killed the assailant. The attack lasted just 82 seconds in total.
The perpetrator of the attack was Khalid Masood, a 52 year-old British man who changed his name and converted to Islam in 2005. He had previously served two prison sentences; for grievious bodily harm in 2000 and for posession of an offensive weapon in 2003.
Whilst MI5 did know of Masood - in 2010 he had been investigated as a potential Islamist extremist - he was described as a "peripheral" figure and not considered a terrorist threat. The Metropolitan Police said he was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack.
ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, but this has been questioned by UK investigative authorities who believe he acted alone, although Masood is believed to have had an interest in jihad.
The attack condemned across the UK and the world. On 23 March, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faith leaders met officers at Scotland Yard to discuss responses to the attack. In the evening of 23 March there was a public candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square to honour victims of the attack. It was led by the Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn and the Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
Manchester Arena bombing
On 22 May 2017, a suicide bombing occurred at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, following a concert by American singer Ariana Grande.
The attacker was 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi. Abedi detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb at the exit of the arena after the show. Twenty-two people were killed - including victims as young as eight years old. A further 119 were injured, 23 critically. Abedi was initially suspected of working within a terrorist network, and various people were arrested in connection with the incident. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attacks though police later said they believed he had acted largely alone.
This attack came just weeks after an attack on Westminster and one week before 8 people were killed in a van and knife attack on London Bridge.
London Bridge attack
In the late hours on the evening of 3rd June 2017, three Islamist terrorists: ringleader Khuram Shahzad Butt, Youssef Zaghba and Rachid Redouane committed the third major terrorist incident in the United Kingdom of the year.
Two of the three men were known to police. Butt was a Pakistani born British citizen, an investigation had been opened on him by counter-terrorism officers following reports of him attempting to radicalise children. He was also featured on a Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door.
Zaghba, born in Morocco to a Moroccan father and Italian mother, was living in east London and held a dual Moroccan and Italian citizenship. He was monitored continuously whilst living in Italy and had been placed on a watch list that was shared with several countries including the UK.
Redouane was not previously known to police and was claimed to be either Moroccan or Libyan.
The three men drove a hired white Renault van into pedestrians on London Bridge, mounting the pavement and killing three. Armed with 30cm kitchen knives tied to their wrists using leather straps, they then fled the van and ran to the Borough market area, where they stabbed four people. The attackers were shot dead within 8 minutes of the incident by City of London and Metropolitan police services. They were also discovered to have been wearing fake bomb vests.
In total, eight people lost their life; a Briton, Spaniard, Canadian, 2 Australians and 3 French citizens, with a further 48 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the following day.
There was a resonance of praise for the emergency services following the incident for their quick and effective response. A vigil was held to remember the victims led by London mayor, Sadiq Khan. Khan was quoted saying – “by standing together as a city we will send a powerful message here and around the world - that Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”
Finsbury Park attack
On 19th June 2017, as large crowds of worshippers were leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque after their nightly prayers in the holy month of Ramadan, they were struck by a hired van, driven by Darren Osborne, a father of four from Wales. Osborne was not known to police, and was not described as suspicious or racist by his neighbours, friends or relatives, but is said to have been troubled for some time.
He drove over 150 miles throughout the evening in the hired van to north London, and mounted the pavement in a similar fashion to the London Bridge attack just weeks before. He was detained by members of the public present before the police arrived.
The attacker acted alone and was self-radicalised against Muslims following the recent Islamist attacks in London and Manchester. He was quoted as shouting “I want to kill Muslims” and “this is for London Bridge”. The attack has been treated as a terrorist incident by police and terrorism charges have been applied.
One person died of multiple injuries, who was already being treated at the scene when the attack happened. A further 10 were injured. The mosque claims to have received letters containing death threats since the incident, and members of the Muslim community as well as politicians have described the attack as evidence of rising Islamophobia in the country.
A candlelight vigil was held the same day, and messages of condolences were left at the scene. Prime minister, Theresa May described the attack as “every bit as sickening” as other recent attacks.
Barcelona & Cambrils attacks
On the afternoon of 17th August 2017, a van was driven into pedestrians, crashing for about 550m, on La Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. The attack claimed the lives of 13 victims, and injured a further 130. The driver then fled on foot and hijacked a car, by stabbing and killing his 14th victim.
Nine hours later, on the 18th of August 2017 in nearby Cambrils, five men in an Audi A3, thought to be linked to the van attacker, drove the car into a crowd of people before it overturned. The 5 men then exited the vehicle wearing fake suicide vests and began to attack bystanders with knives. Police shot dead all five assailants, who killed one woman and injured 6 others.
Younes Abouyaaqoub, believed to be the driver of the van used in Barcelona attack, was shot and killed by police four days later on 21 August, near a gas station in Subirats about 25 miles from Barcelona.
The overall death toll rose to 16 after a woman died of her injuries in hospital on 27th August 2017. More than a 100 people from over 34 nations were also injured, 15 critically, in the attacks.
Parsons Green explosion
On 15 September 2017, at around 8:20am BST, a partial explosion occurred on a busy London Underground train, at Parsons Green tube station, in London, England. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident through its news outlet, Amaq.
The explosion was the result of a homemade bomb, that had been left in a bucket inside a shopping bag. It is believed parts of the device were bought online. In the aftermath wires could be seen hanging out as well as a black towel. It was reported that the device also had a timer attached and was packed with knives and screws.
Security minister, Ben Wallace, said the bomb contained TATP, the same explosive used in the 2005 London Underground bombings and the November 2015 Paris attacks.
The improvised device sent a fireball through the carriage during the Friday morning rush hour, leaving some passengers with flash burns and others with crush injuries as a result of the rush to leave the scene.
30 people were injured, 19 of whom were taken to hospital by ambulance, to be treated for mostly burn related injuries.
Seven people were arrested following the attack and one charged.
On the afternoon of Sunday 1st October 2017, in the Southern French port city of Marseille, two young women, Mauranne, 20, a medical student rom Marseille, and Laura, 21, a trainee nurse from Lyon, were stabbed to death outside Saint-Charles train station. The attack was claimed by Islamic State’s media arm, Amaq
The suspect arrived at the main station at 13.32 and sat on a bench in the square outside. At 13.45 he approached his first victim whom he stabbed several times, after which he fled the scene only to return and claim his second victim, whom he also stabbed repeatedly. Witnesses reported him shouting “Allahu Akbar” before each attack.
Soldiers patrolling the station then shot the attacker dead as he ran towards them. It is believed he had multiple fake identities that he had been using in France and North African Countries since 2005, but was officially named by police as Ahmed Hanachi, a 29-year-old Tunisian illegal immigrant.
On 14th October 2017, Somalia witnessed the worst terrorist attack in its history when a blast caused by a truck bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, killed over 350 people and injured over 400.
Two attackers, driving a Toyota minivan and large truck carrying both homemade and military style explosives intended to bomb an airport compound in the Somali capital where international peace keeping organisations are based.
After the minivan was detained at a checkpoint, the truck detonated earlier than planned, in the heart of the capital.
The al-Qaeda linked Jihadist group, Al-Shabaab, are believed to be behind the deadly attack, though no official claim has been made by the organisation.
The incident drew international condemnation and Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared three days of mourning following the attack. This was then met with strong protests from the public in a show of defiance.
New York attack
On 31st October 2017, shortly after 3pm local time, a rented vehicle struck cyclists and pedestrians in New York, as it drove down a cycle path on West Houston Street, Lower Manhattan. It was driven for many blocks before hitting a school bus and coming to a halt.
The driver exited the vehicle holding what appeared to be two hand guns before he was shot in the abdomen by a police officer.
The incident killed 8 people and injured 12 (including the suspect). It was the worst act of terror New York has seen since 9/11.
The attacker was named as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek Immigrant who claimed to be inspired by Islamic State.
Videos containing Islamic State propaganda were found on his phone. The attack fits the recent pattern of vehicle attacks perpetrated by Islamic State.
Saipov appeared in federal court in a wheelchair the next day where he did not enter a plea, and was then transferred from hospital to prison.
New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, called the incident “a particularly cowardly act of terror”.
Sinai mosque attack
On 24th November 2017, as worshippers were gathered for Friday prayers in the al-Rawda mosque, in Bir al-Abed, a suicide bomb was detonated. It is reported up to 30 attackers then opened fire on people trying to flee. The attackers also set parked vehicles in the vicinity on fire to block access to the mosque, and fired at ambulances trying to help victims.
The attack resulted in a death toll of 305, with a further 128 people injured, and was the country’s deadliest attack in recent history.
In response to the attack, the nation set aside three days of mourning, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered the armed forces to build a memorial for the victims.
Airstrikes were also launched in retaliation by the military at targets in the Sinai, as the president promised to respond with ‘brute force’.
Islamic state has been linked to the attack. According to eye-witnesses, the Islamic State flag was carried by some of the assailants.
Many of the worshippers are believed to be Sufi Muslims; Sufism is seen as heretical by many Jihadist groups, including Islamic State.