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Terrorism is at its heart a disputed term, as very few of those labeled terrorists would ever use the label to describe themselves. Terrorism has been with us for centuries[1] and can be described as being as old as civilisation itself[2]. This article aims to cover those events, groups and individuals that have contributed to or shared striking similarities to what is commonly regarded today as terrorism. As such the article covers a wide range of disparate groups, with wide ranging political objectives from religious to nationalistic to anarchistic.



See also "Definition of terrorism" for an indepth article on the various attempts to define terrorism and the etymology of the word itself.

Ancient and medieval events and groups

Scholars dispute whether the roots of terrorism date back to the Sicarii Zealots in the first century, the Al-Hashshashin in the eleventh century and the Narodnaya Volya in 1878, or somewhere in between.[3][4] The first-century Zealots used "propaganda of the deed" by publicly murdering Jews who collaborated with Roman rule.[3][5][6] The Al-Hashshashin focused more on the assassination of prominent political leaders, which is different from "propaganda of the deed," because by killing a political leader one is primarily enacting change directly (by eliminating the person whose policies one disagrees with) rather than enacting change indirectly (by committing some act to intimidate the enemy or make others rally against the enemy).[3][7][8 ]


Sicarii Zealots

In the 1st century CE, the Jewish Zealots were a primarily political group which rebelled against Roman rule in the Iudaea Province. According to the contemporary historian Josephus, in 6 C.E. Judas of Galilee led a small, more extreme group of Zealots to found an offshoot which would later be known as the Sicarii, meaning "dagger men."[8 ] Like the Zealots, the Sicarii believed that paying tribute to Rome was a violation of Jewish religious law.[9] The Sicarii saw the Jewish high priests of the day as collaborators with the Romans, and therefore thought it permissible to use violence to remove them.[10 ] Led by Judas' grandson Menahem ben Jair, the Sicarii began agitation in the late 50s, becoming prominent only in the 60s, when they began to murder and kidnap to support their cause.[11] Their efforts were mainly directed not against the Romans, but against Jewish “collaborators” such as priests of the temple, Sadducees, Herodians, and other wealthy elites who had profited from working with the Romans.[12] According to Josephus, the Sicarii would hide short daggers under their cloaks, mingle with crowds at the great festivals, murder their victims, and then disappear into the crowd during the ensuing panic. Their most successful assassination was that of the high priest Jonathan.[8 ]


Artistic rendering of Hassan-i Sabbah.

In the 11th century CE, the Hashshashin (a.k.a. the Assassins) were an offshoot of the Ismā'īlī sect of Shia Muslims.[10 ] Led by Hassan-i Sabbah and opposed to Fatimid rule, the Hashshashin militia seized Alamut and other fortress strongholds across Persia in the late eleventh century.[13] The Hashshashin did not have a large enough army to challenge their enemies directly, so they assassinated city governors and military commanders to curry favor among more militarily powerful neighbors: they murdered Janah al-Dawla, ruler of Homs, to please Ridwan of Aleppo; they killed Mawdud, Seljuk emir of Mosul, as a favor for the regent of Damascus; they attacked Crusader troops in 1126 as a means of cooperating with Tughtigen of Damascus; and they assassinated Marquis Conrad of Montferrat, King of Jerusalem, allegedly on orders from the King of England.[14]

The Hashshashin carried out assassinations as retribution: Ibn Badi, military commander in Aleppo, had executed Hashshashin leader Abu Tahrir and refused to provide the group with a castle; Buri, ruler of Damascus, had incited the mob killing of thousands of Hashshashin; Dahhak, chief of Wadi al-Tayun, had attacked and defeated the Hashshashin at Hasbayya in 1128.[15] Sometimes the Hashshashin murdered to seize a town (Khalaf of Afamiya, 1106) or to weaken the leadership of their Fatamid enemies (Army commander Al-Afdal, 1121; Fatimid Caliph Al-Amir, 1130), but never as a means to indirectly bring about political change by changing public opinion towards their cause or striking fear into the populace.[16]

Modern events and groups

Early modern events and groups

Gunpowder Plot

In 1605 on the 5th of November, a group of conspirators led by Guy Fawkes attempted to destroy the English Parliament on the State Opening, by detonating a large quantity of gunpowder placed beneath the building. The purpose of this plot was to implement a coup by killing King James I and the members of both houses of Parliament. The conspirators planned to make one of the king's children a puppet crown and then restore the Catholic faith to England. The plan was betrayed and thwarted. The conspirators' intended act has been found to parallel the '9/11' attack on the World Trade Center,[17] though a violent attempted coup may not be an act of terrorism.[18] The event has become known as the Gunpowder Plot and is annually commemorated in Britain on 5 November with fireworks displays and large bonfires.[19]

Sons of Liberty

The Sons of Liberty were a group in the American colonies opposed to the Stamp Act and later to British rule who committed several attacks, most famous among them the Boston Tea Party.[20] The group was a secret organization of American patriots which originated in the Thirteen Colonies prior to the American Revolution. The British authorities and their supporters, known as Loyalists, considered the Sons of Liberty seditious rebels, referring to them as "Sons of Violence" and "Sons of Iniquity." Patriots attacked the apparatus and symbols of British authority and power such as the property of the gentry, customs officers, East India Company tea, and, as the war approached, vocal supporters of the Crown.[20]

19th century events and groups

McKinley shortly before his assassination.

Prior to the 19th century terrorism had been associated with the Reign of Terror in France where the ruling Jacobins sometimes referred to themselves as terrorists[21]. Modern scholars, however, do not consider the Reign of Terror itself terrorism in part because it was carried out by the French state.[22][23]. It was during the 19th century that the common meaning came into use, as terrorism came to be associated with non-governmental groups[24]. Anarchists were the most prominent group to be associated with terrorism during the 19th century,[25] with the emergence of militancy within nationalist groups, developing over the course of the century. The disjointed attacks of various anarchist groups led to the assassination of Russian Tsars and US Presidents but had little real political impact.[26]. In mid-19th century Russia, the intelligentsia grew impatient with the slow pace of Tsarist reforms and anarchists like Mikhail Bakunin maintained that progress was impossible without destruction.[27] With the development of sufficiently powerful, stable, and affordable explosives, the gap closed between the firepower of the state and the means available to dissidents.[28][29] Inspired by Bakunin and others, Narodnaya Volya was founded in 1878, and used bombs to kill state officials in an effort to incite state retribution and mobilize the populace against the government.[30 ] Inspired by Narodnaya Volya, several nationalist groups in the ailing Ottoman Empire began using propaganda of the deed and terrorism in the 1890s, including the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO).[31 ]Dynamite, in particular, inspired American and French anarchists, and it was central to their strategic thinking.[32] Inspired by Bakunin and others, Narodnaya Volya was founded in 1878, and used dynamite-packed bombs to kill state officials in an effort to incite state retribution and mobilize the populace against the government.[30 ] Inspired by Narodnaya Volya, several nationalist groups in the ailing Ottoman Empire began using propaganda of the deed and violence against public figures in the 1890s, including the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO).[31 ]

John Brown, abolitionist

John Brown (1800–1859) was an abolitionist who advocated armed opposition to slavery. He committed several attacks between 1856 and 1859, and was also involved in the illegal smuggling of slaves. His most famous attack was in 1859 on the armory at Harpers Ferry. Local forces soon recaptured the fort and Brown, trying and executing him for treason[33]. His death made him a martyr to the abolitionist cause, one of the origins of the American Civil War, and a hero to the Union forces that fought in it.

Ku Klux Klan

A cartoon threatening the KKK will lynch carpetbaggers, in the Independent Monitor, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1868.

In 1865, The original Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was created after the end of the American Civil War on December 24, 1865, by six educated, middle-class Confederate veterans from Pulaski, Tennessee.[34] Although a founder of the group boasted that the Klan was a nationwide organization of 550,000 men and that he could muster 40,000 Klansmen within five days' notice, as a secret or "invisible" group, it had no membership rosters, no chapters, and no local officers. It was difficult for observers to judge its actual membership. It had created a sensation by the dramatic nature of its masked forays and because of its many murders. The Klan has advocated what is generally perceived as white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, anti-Catholicism, homophobia, and nativism[35 ]. The group has often used terrorism, violence and acts of intimidation such as cross burning to oppress African Americans and other groups.,[35 ][36] From its creation to the present day, it has at times wielded much political influence and has also generated great fear among African Americans and their supporters. At one time the KKK controlled the governments of Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon, in addition to some of the Southern U.S. legislatures.

Irish Republican Brotherhood

In 1867 the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a revolutionary Irish nationalist group with support from Irish-Americans[37] , carried out attacks in England[38]. These are considered the first acts of "republican terrorism", which became a recurrent feature of British and Irish history. The Fenians are considered the precursor of the Irish Republican Army[39].

Narodnaya Volya

From 1878 to 1883, Narodnaya Volya (Народная Воля in Russian, known as People’s Will in English) was a group founded in Russia in 1878.[30 ] Inspired by Sergei Nechayev and by Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane (author of the “propaganda of the deed” theory),[3] the group assassinated prominent political figures with shootings and bombings in an effort to spark a revolutionary overthrow of Russia’s Tsarist regime.[3] On March 13, 1881, the group assassinated Russia’s Tsar Alexander II. The assassination of the Tsar failed to spark the expected revolution and the ensuing crackdown by Russian authorities brought the group to an end.[40] Narodnaya Volya developed certain ideas that were to become the hallmark of subsequent terrorism in many countries: they believed in the targeted killing of the 'leaders of oppression' and they were convinced that the developing technologies of the age - symbolized by bombs and bullets - enabled them to strike directly and discriminately.[29]

Armenian Revolutionary Federation


The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (in Armenian Dashnaktsuthium, or “The Federation”) was a nationalist revolutionary movement founded in Tiflis (Russian Transcaucasia) in 1890. It was founded by Christopher Mikaelian, and many of its members had been part of Narodnaya Volya or the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party.[41] The group published newsletters, smuggled arms, and hijacked buildings because it sought—like the Hunchacks—to bring about the European intervention that could force the Ottoman Empire to surrender control of the Armenian territories.[42] On August 24, 1896, 17-year old group member Babken Suni led twenty-six Dashnaks in capturing the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Constantinople. They demanded that an Armenian state be created and threatened to blow the bank up. The ensuing crackdown by the Ottoman government destroyed the group.[43]

Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization

From 1893 to 1903, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was a nationalist revolutionary movement founded in the Ottoman-controlled Macedonian territories in 1893.[44] It was founded by Hristo Tatarchev, who was inspired by Narodnaya Volya.[45] The group sought to coerce the Ottoman government into creating a Macedonian nation. To do this, the IMRO assassinated prominent political figures (as Narodnaya Volya had) and tried to provoke uprisings (just like the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party).[46] On July 20, 1903, the group incited the Ilinden uprising in the Ottoman villayet of Monastir. As part of the uprising, the IMRO declared the town’s independence and sent demands to the European Powers that Macedonia be freed.[47] The demands were ignored and the 27,000 rebels in the town were crushed by Turkish troops two months later. The group then split into two factions: one in favor of uniting the future nation of Macedonia to Bulgaria and one against such a plan. The pro-Bulgaria faction had effectively turned into a tool of the Bulgarian government by 1912.[48]

Parisian anarchists in the 1890s

In 1893, Auguste Vaillant, a French anarchist, threw a bomb in the French Chamber of Deputies. No one was seriously hurt, but he was executed.[49] In 1894, a struggling intellectual called Émile Henry sought to avenge Vaillant's death, by throwing his own bomb into a Paris cafe. He was caught and guillotined.[50]

20th century events and groups

Following the example of the Irish Republican Army's campaign against the British in the 1910s, the Zionist groups Hagannah, Irgun and Lehi fought the British throughout the 1930s in the then mandate of Palestine, with the aim of creating an Israeli state.[51][52] Like the IRA and the Zionist groups, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood used bombings and assassinations in an attempt to free its country from British control.[53]

Early 20th century events and groups

Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand

On June 28 of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot and killed in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins. The murders produced widespread shock across Europe. The Austro-Hungarian Empire presented to Serbia a list of demands which became known as the July Ultimatum. Included were demands aimed at ending the funding and operation of organizations which arguably had provided support for the assassination, and demands that Serbia suppress "propaganda" against Austria-Hungary in Serbia, even by private persons. Some have claimed that the ultimatum was designed to create a casus belli to enable Austria-Hungary to invade Serbia.[54] After receiving a telegram of support from Russia, Serbia mobilized its army and replied that it would agree to and partially accept some of the demands but that it would reject the rest. Austria-Hungary rejected Serbia's conditional acceptance and broke off diplomatic relations. Austria-Hungary soon declared war and this set into motion a series of events which led to World War I.

The Easter Rising and the Irish Republican Army
Michael Collins, IRA leader

On April 24, 1916, members of the Irish Volunteers, led by Patrick Pearse joined the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly to seize the Dublin General Post Office and several other buildings and proclaim an Irish Republic independent of Britain.[55] The action, which came to be known as the Easter Rising or Easter Rebellion, was a failure militarily, but it turned into a success for physical force Irish republicanism after the British government had the leaders of the uprising executed by firing squad, thereby making them into celebrated Irish heroes.[56]

From 1916 to 1923, the Irish Volunteers joined forces with the Irish Citizen Army to form the beginnings of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Michael Collins helped found the IRA in Dublin shortly after the Easter Rising. They carried out coordinated attacks on over 300 police stations in a single day, as part of their campaign to establish an independent Irish state.[57] On November 21, 1920, the IRA carried out an attack which came to be known as Bloody Sunday, publicly killing a dozen police officers and simultaneously burning down the Liverpool docks and warehouses.[58] After two years of street fighting between the IRA, the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Black and Tans and the British Auxiliaries, London agreed to a 1921 Anglo-Irish treaty that gave Dublin authority over an independent Irish nation which encompassed 26 of the island's 32 counties.[59]

Collins and the IRA's tactics were an inspiration to other groups, such as those in Israel.[60] The IRA also served as an inspiration for the British[61] who emulated and improved upon the IRA's tactics during the Second World War.[62][63].

The King David Hotel after the bombing

From 1931 to 1948, Irgun was a clandestine militant Zionist group. They splintered off from Hagannah in 1931 and operated in Palestine until 1948.[64] The group was founded by Avraham Tehomi (Irgun leader from 1931 to 1937), who was inspired by Ze'ev Jabotinsky and his theory that only Jewish armed force would ensure the establishment of a Jewish state.[65] The group was a non-socialist, more aggressive alternative to Hagannah.[66] It sought to reduce the threat of Arab attacks on Jewish settlements by launching retaliatory attacks. These tactics, including bombing a crowded Arab market, are considered some of the first examples of terrorism against civilians.[67 ] The Irgun also sought to bring to an end the British mandatory rule[68 ] by assassinating police and capturing British government buildings and arms. Like the Hagannah, the Irgun also sabotaged British railways in Palestine, in addition to smuggling Jews into Palestine. This occurred mainly between 1945 and 1947. Their goal was to force the British to relax policies restricting Jewish immigration and, ultimately, to force them to withdraw, creating the opportunity to create a Jewish state in Palestine as quickly as possible.[69] Their most famous attack was the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel, the British Military headquarters in Jerusalem. Ninety-one people, both soldiers and civilians, were killed.[70] After the creation of Israel two years later, Menachem Begin (Irgun leader from 1943 to 1948) transformed the group into the political party Herut, which later became part of Likud.[71]


From 1940 to 1948, Lehi (Lohameni Herut Yisrael, a.k.a. “Freedom Fighters for Israel,” a.k.a. Stern Gang) was a revisionist Zionist group. They splintered off from the Irgun in 1940.[67 ] When the Irgun made a truce with the British in 1940, Abraham Stern led disaffected Irgun members to break off and form Lehi.[68 ] Like People’s Will, Lehi used the tactics of assassinating prominent politicians. On November 6, 1944, Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East.[72]

The assassination caused a massive stir among the Hagannah, Irgun, and Lehi, with Hagannah sympathizing with the British and launching a massive man-hunt against the other two splinter groups. After the founding of the Israeli state in 1948, Lehi was formally dissolved and its members were integrated into the newly formed Israeli Defense Forces.[73] Yitzhak Shamir and his fellow underground fighters greatly admired the Irish Republicans and sought to emulate their anti-British struggle. Shamir himself took the nickname "Michael" after Michael Collins.[60]

Muslim Brotherhood

In 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was founded as a nationalist group in British-controlled Egypt. Its leader, Hassan al-Banna, founded the Muslim Brotherhood as both a social-welfare organization and a political-activist movement.[74] In the late 1940s the Muslim Brotherhood began carrying out attacks on British soldiers and police stations, and assassinations of prominent politicians.[75] In 1948, the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Nuqrashi.[76] Egypt’s British-friendly government was overthrown in the military coup of 1952, but shortly thereafter the Muslim Brotherhood had to go underground in the face of a massive crackdown.[77] IN the contemporary era, the Muslim Brotherhood is still operating in modern day Egypt.

World War II events and groups

The vast array of guerilla, partisan, and resistance movements that were organised and supplied by the Allies during World War II used tactics that can be considered terrorist in nature[78]. The British Special Operations Executive (SOE)[79] successfully conducted operations in every theatre of the war and provided an invaluable contribution to allied victory[80]. On the eve of D-Day it organised with the French resistance the complete destruction of the rail[81] and communication infrastructure of western France[82] perhaps the largest coordinated attack of its kind in history. The SOE drew its inspiration from the IRA[61][62], Colin Gubbins, a key leader within the SOE, put to use the lessons he'd learned first hand in Ireland first to establish a resistance army in waiting and then at the SOE. The SOE effectively perfected modern terrorism,[62] pioneering most of the tactics, techniques and technologies that are the mainstays of terrorism we know today.[83] As the Nazis pushed East many disperate bands of soviet partisans formed in the chaos after operation Barbarossa, notable among these was the Young Guard of Krasnodon.

Mid 20th century events and groups

After the end of World War II, there was a rise in nationalist and anti-colonial campaigns, and the European empires collapsed. Many of the resistance groups of World War II became nationalist groups. The Viet Minh which had previously fought against the Japanese now fought against the returning French (and later the Americans), and elements of the Malayan resistance turned on their former British allies and fought against them during the Malayan Emergency. In the 1950s, for example, the National Liberation Front (FLN) in French-controlled Algeria, the EOKA in British-controlled Cyprus, and the ETA in Spain waged guerilla and open war against what they considered occupying forces.[84 ]

Aftermath of the 1964 Brinks Hotel bombing

In the 1960s, inspired by Mao’s Chinese revolution of 1949 and Castro’s Cuban revolution of 1959, national independence movements in formerly colonized countries often fused nationalist and socialist impulses in the 1960s. This was the case with Spain's ETA, the Front de Liberation du Quebec, and the Palestine Liberation Organization.[85 ]

In the 1970s, leftist groups on the rise in the 1970s Turkey’s PKK, and Armenian’s ASALA.[85 ] In Japan, Europe, and the U.S., leftist student groups such as the Japanese Red Army, the German Red Army Faction, the Italian Red Brigade, and the American Weather Underground sympathized with the Third World and sought to spark anti-capitalist revolutions with bombings and assassinations.[86] Nationalist groups such as the Provisional IRA and the Tamil tigers also began operations during this decade.

Throughout the Cold War, both sides made extensive use of violent nationalist organizations to carry on a war by proxy. For example, Soviet and Chinese military advisers provided training and support to the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.[87] The US funded groups such as the Contras in Nicaragua[88], while the Soviet Union provided aid to Nicaragua's Sandinistas. Ironically, many 21st century Islamic militants were trained in the 1980s by the US and the UK to fight against the USSR in Afghanistan.[89][90] Also during the Cold War, NATO ran a Europe-wide network called Operation Gladio which committed false flag terrorism and would have launched insurgent attacks in the event of a Soviet invasion of Europe.[91]

Front de Liberation National

From 1954 to 1962, the Front de Liberation National (FLN) was a nationalist group founded in French-controlled Algeria in 1954.[92] The group was actually a large scale resistance movement against French occupation, and terrorism was only one facet of its operations. The FLN leaders, inspired by the Indochinese rebels who had made French troops withdraw from their country, started out with support from Egypt’s President Nasser.[93] The FLN was one of the first ideological groups to use compliance terror on a grand scale. The FLN would establish control over a rural Algerian village and coerce the peasants of that village to execute the loyalists among them.[84 ] On the night of October 31, 1954 the FLN attacked French military installations and the homes of Algerian loyalists when it set off a coordinated wave of seventy bombings and shootings that is now known as the Toussaint attacks.[94] Through the tactics of coercion terrorism, the FLN gained significant support for a 1955 uprising against loyalists in Philipville. This uprising—and the heavy-handed response of the French government—convinced many Algerians to support the FLN and the independence movement. The FLN eventually secured Algerian independence from France in 1962, and transformed itself into Algeria’s ruling party.[95]

Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston

From 1955 to 1959, the Greek National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, or EOKA) was a nationalist group founded in British-controlled Cyprus in 1955.[96] Its founder, George Grivas, was covertly supported by the Greek government.[97] The group sought the expulsion of British troops from the island, self-determination, and union with Greece.[98] To achieve these ends, EOKA carried out a four year spree of IRA style shootings of British soldiers and police.[84 ] EOKA also organized Hagannah style attacks on civilians.[99] In December 1958 a cease-fire was declared and in 1960 Cyprus achieved independence from the United Kingdom; however, the settlement explicitly denied the possibility of a union between Cyprus and Greece.[100]

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna

From 1959 to the present, the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (or ETA (Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom" pronounced [ˈɛːta])) is an armed Basque nationalist separatist organization.[101] Founded in 1959 in response to General Francisco Franco's suppression of the Basque language and culture, ETA evolved from an advocate of traditional cultural ways into an armed revolutionary Marxist group demanding Basque independence.[102] Many of ETA's victims are government officials. The group's first known victim was a police chief who was killed in 1968. In 1973, ETA operatives killed Franco’s apparent successor, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, by planting an underground bomb below his habitual parking spot outside a Madrid church.[103] In 1995, an ETA car bomb almost killed Jose Maria Aznar, then the leader of the conservative Popular Party, who later served as Spain’s prime minister. The same year, investigators disrupted a plot to assassinate King Juan Carlos.[104] More recently, in March 2008, ETA killed a former city councilman in northern Spain two days before an election. In 2003, the Spanish Supreme Court banned the Batasuna political party, which was considered the political arm of ETA, and successive efforts by Spanish governments to negotiate with ETA have failed.[105]

Palestine Liberation Organization and factions

From 1959 to the present, Fatah was organized as a Palestinian nationalist group in 1959. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was organized as an umbrella organization for secular Palestinian nationalist groups in 1964, and began armed operations in 1965.[106] The PLO's membership is made up of separate and possibly contending paramilitary and political factions, the largest of which are Fatah, PFLP, and DFLP.[107][108] Factions of the PLO have advocated or carried out acts of terrorism.[109] Fatah leader and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat publicly renounced terrorism in December 1988 on behalf of the PLO, but Israel has stated it has proof that Arafat continued to sponsor terrorism until his death in 2004.[110][111]

Plaque in front of the Israeli athletes' quarters commemorating the victims of the Munich massacre.

Abu Iyad organized the Fatah splinter group Black September in 1970. The group is best known for seizing eleven Israeli athletes as hostages at the September 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. All the athletes and five Black September operatives later died during a gun battle with the West German police, in what was later known as the Munich massacre.[112][113][114] The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was founded in 1967 by George Habash.[115] On September 6, 1970 the group hijacked three international passenger planes, landing two of them in Jordan and blowing up the third.[116] Founded in 1968, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) is presently led by Abu Nidal al-Ashqar.[117] The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was founded in 1969. The PFLP, DFLP, and PFLP-GC lost influence and resources with the rise of Hamas in the 1990s.[118]

Front de Liberation du Quebec

From 1963 to 1971, the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) was a Marxist nationalist group that sought to create an independent, socialist Québec.[119] Georges Schoeters, who founded the group in 1963, had been inspired by Che Guevara and the FLN.[120] The group sought the overthrow of the Quebec government, the independence of Quebec from Canada, and the establishment of a French-Canadian workers society. It organized bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations against politicians, soldiers, and civilians.[121] On October 5, 1970, the FLQ kidnapped James Richard Cross, the British Trade Commissioner. Shortly afterwards, on October 10, group members kidnapped the Minister of Labor and Vice-Premier of Québec, Pierre Laporte, and killed him a week later. The events of October 1970 contributed to the loss of support for violent means to attain Québec independence, and increased support for the political party, the Parti Québécois, which took power in 1976.[122]

Colombian and Peruvian paramilitary groups

Several paramilitary groups formed in Colombia in the 1960s and afterwards. In 1983 President Fernando Belaúnde Terry of Peru describe terrorist-type attacks against his nation's anti-narcotics police. In the original context, narcoterrorism is understood to mean the attempts of narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of a government or a society through violence and intimidation, and to hinder the enforcement of the law and the administration of justice by the systematic threat or use of such violence. Pablo Escobar's ruthless violence in his dealings with the Colombian and Peruvian governments is probably one of the best known and best documented examples of narcoterrorism.

These groups include the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC).

Originally created as leftist revolutionary groups (except for the AUC), all have conducted numerous attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and are widely viewed in the West as terrorist organizations.[123][124]

Provisional IRA
IRA political poster from the 1980s.

From 1969 to 2005, the Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish nationalist movement founded in December 1969 when several militants including Seán Mac Stíofáin broke off from the Official IRA and formed a new organization.[125] Led by Mac Stíofáin in the early 1970s and by a group around Gerry Adams since the late 1970s, the Provisional IRA sought to create an all-island Irish state. Between 1969 and 1997, during a period known as the Troubles, the group conducted an armed campaign, including bombings, gun attacks, assassinations and even a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street.[126] On July 21, 1972, in an attack later known as Bloody Friday, the group set off twenty-two bombs, killing nine and injuring 130. On July 28, 2005, the Provisional IRA Army Council announced an end to its armed campaign.[127][128] The IRA is believed to have been a major exporter of terrorism selling arms and providing training to other groups such as the FARC in Columbia[129] and the PLO [130]. In the case of the latter there has been a long held solidarity movement, which is evident by the many murals around Belfast.[131]

The Jewish Defense League

From 1969 to the present, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) was founded in 1969 by Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York City, with its declared purpose the protection of Jews from harassment and antisemitism.[132] Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show that, from 1980 to 1985, 15 attacks were attempted in the U.S. by members of the JDL.[133] The National Consortium for the Study of Terror and Responses to Terrorism states that, during the JDL's first two decades of activity, it was an "active terrorist organization."[132][134]. Kahane later founded the far-right Israeli political party Kach, which was banned from elections in Israel on the ground of racism[135]. The group's present-day website condemns all forms of terrorism.[8]

People's Mujahedin of Iran

The PMOI or Mujahedin-e Khalq, is a socialist islamic group that has actively resisted the theocratic rule of Iran since the revolution. The group was founded originally to oppose the capitalism and what they perceived as western exploitation of Iran under the Shah. The group would go on to be a key part of his overthrow but was unable to capitalize on this in the following power vacuum. The group is suspected of having a membership of between 10,000 and 30,000. The group renounced violence in 2001 but remains a proscribed terror organization in Iran and the USA, The EU however has removed the group from its terror list. The PMOI is accused of supporting other groups such as the Jundallah.

Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional

From 1974 to the present, the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN, “Armed Forces of National Liberation”) was a nationalist group founded in Puerto Rico in 1974. Over the next decade, the group used bombings and targeted killings of civilians and police to try to create an independent Puerto Rico. On April 3, 1975, FALN took responsibility for four nearly simultaneous bombings in New York City, by leaving their Communique No. 4 for the Associated Press at a phone booth.[136] The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies the FALN as a terrorist organization.[137]

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia

From 1975 to 1986, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) was founded in 1975 in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War by Hagop Tarakchian and Hagop Hagopian with the help of sympathetic Palestinians. At the time, Turkey was in political turmoil, and Hagopian believed that the time was right to avenge the Armenians who died during the Armenian Genocide and to force the Turkish government to cede to them the territory of Wilsonian Armenia for the purpose of unification with the existing Armenian SSR. In its most famous Esenboga airport attack, on 7 August 1982, two ASALA rebels opened fire on civilians in a waiting room at the Esenboga International Airport in Ankara. Altogether, nine people died and 82 were injured. By 1986, the ASALA had virtually ceased all attacks.[138]

Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan

From 1978 to the present, the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers Party) was a nationalist movement founded in Turkey by Abdullah Ocalan in 1978. Ocalan was inspired by the Maoist theory of people's war--like Mao, Ocalan had a little book outlining his views—and like the FLN he advocated the use of compliance terror. The group seeks to create an independent Kurdish state that consists of parts of south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Iraq, north-eastern Syria and north-western Iran. Starting in 1984, the PKK transformed itself into a paramilitary organisation and launched conventional attacks as well as bombings against Turkish governmental installations. In 1999, Turkish authorities captured Öcalan. He was tried in Turkey and sentenced to life imprisonment. The PKK has since gone through a series of name changes.[139]

Red Army Faction
Red Army Faction Founders

From 1968 to 1998, the Red Army Faction was a New Leftist group founded by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof in West Germany in 1968. Inspired by Che Guevara, Maoist socialism, and the Vietcong, the group sought to raise awareness of the Vietnamese and Palestinian independence movements through kidnappings, taking embassies hostage, bank robberies, assassinations, bombings, and attacks on US air bases. The group is best known for the “German Autumn”.

The buildup of events to German Autumn began on April 7, when the RAF shot Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback. This was followed on July 30, they shot Jurgen Ponto, then head of the Dresdner Bank in a failed kidnapping attempt; and on September 5, they kidnapped Hanns Martin Schleyer (former SS and one of the most powerful industrialists in West Germany) and executed him four weeks later, on October 19.[140] The hijacking of Lufthansa aeroplane "Landshut" by the PFLP is also consider to be part of the German Autumn.


From 1969 to 1977, the American Weather Underground (a.k.a. the Weathermen) was an extremist faction of the leftist Students for a Democratic Society organization. In 1969, the Students for a Democratic Society organization collapsed and was taken over by the Weathermen group. The Weathermen leaders, inspired by the Maoist revolution, the Black Panthers, and the 1968 student revolts in France, sought to raise awareness of its revolutionary anti-capitalist and anti-Vietnam War platform. It did this by destroying symbols of government power in Hunchakian style. On October 7, 1969, the group held an anti-war demonstration in downtown Chicago and blew up a statue dedicated to the police officers who died in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. Over the next five years, the Weathermen bombed corporate offices, police stations, and DC government sites such as the Pentagon. But after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, most of the group disbanded.[141 ]

Italian Red Brigade

From 1970 to 1989, the Italian Red Brigade was a New Leftist group founded by Renato Curcio in 1970. With PLO support, the group sought to create a revolutionary state and to separate Italy from the Western Alliance. On 16 March 1978, the Brigade kidnapped former Prime Minister Aldo Moro and murdered him 56 days later. The murder of Moro began an all-out assault against the Brigade by Italian law enforcement and security forces. The murder of a popular political figure also drew condemnation from Italian left-wing radicals and even from the imprisoned ex-leaders of the Brigade. The Brigade lost most of its social support and public opinion turned strongly against it. In 1984, the ailing Brigade split into two factions: the majority faction of the Communist Combatant Party (Red Brigades-PCC) and the minority of the Union of Combatant Communists (Red Brigades-UCC). The members of these groups carried out a handful of assassinations before almost all of them were arrested in 1989.[142]

Japanese Red Army

From 1971 to 2001, the Japanese Red Army was a New Leftist group,. It was founded by Fusako Shigenobu in Japan in 1971. With support from the PFLP, the group murdered, hijacked a commercial Japanese aircraft, and sabotaged a Shell oil refinery in Singapore in an attempt to overthrow the Japanese government and start a world revolution. On May 30, 1972, Kōzō Okamoto and other group members launched a machine gun and grenade attack on Israel's Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, killing 26 people and injuring 80 others. Two of the three attackers then killed themselves with grenades.[143]

Tamil Tigers

From 1976 to 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (also called "LTTE" or Tamil Tigers) is a militant Tamil nationalist political and paramilitary organization based in northern Sri Lanka.[144] Since it was founded in 1976, it has actively waged a secessionist resistance campaign that seeks to create an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. The origin of the conflict occurred when the majority Sinhalese changed the country's administrative language from English to Sinhalese these and other measure were perceived as attempts to marginalise the Tamil minority and several precursor groups to the tigers were formed some even received support from Indian states [145]. This campaign has evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War, one of the longest-running armed conflicts in Asia.[146] Since its formation, the LTTE has been headed by its founder, Velupillai Prabhakaran.[147] The group has carried out a number of bombings, including a car bomb attack carried out on April 21, 1987 at a bus terminal in Colombo which killed 110 people.[148] The Tigers are the only major non religious group to employ suicide bombings [145]. The JVP was a Sinhalese group that formed in response to the Tigers, it launched a guerilla war in the countryside and a campaign of political assassinations[145]. In 2009 the Sri Lankan military launched a major military offensive against the guerrilla wing of the movement and claimed that it had been effectively destroyed upon completion of that operation, in which most of the leadership of the group was killed.

Umkhonto we Sizwe

From 1961 to 1990 in South Africa, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was the military wing of the African National Congress. It was opposed to the racist apartheid policies of the South African government[149]. MK launched its first guerrilla attacks against government installations on 16 December 1961. It was subsequently classified as a terrorist organization by the South African government and was banned. It waged a guerrilla campaign and was responsible for many bombings. Its first leader was Nelson Mandela and he was tried and imprisoned for his involvement in such acts[150]. With the end of apartheid in South Africa, the Umkhonto we Sizwe was incorporated into the South African armed forces.

Contemporary era events and groups

In the contemporary era, the Ku Klux Klan, the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Jewish Defense League, the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, and the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan still exist and are active in the present. Other groups have also been formed and are presently conducting operations.

Late 20th century events and groups

In the 1980s, religious groups that committed violent acts in pursuit of their goals were increasing in number. Many of them drew inspiration from Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, especially Hezbollah. Other well-known Islamic groups include Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Al-Qaeda.[151]

In the 1990s, acts of terrorism were attempted by Aum Shinrikyo and the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building was committed by Christian extremists. Secular nationalist groups also carried out attacks, most famously the Chechnyan separatists and the Tamil Tigers.[151]


Beginning in 1982, Hezbollah (“Party of God”) is an Islamist revolutionary movement founded in Lebanon shortly after that country’s 1982 civil war. Inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the Iranian revolution, the group has sought an Islamic revolution in Lebanon, the destruction of the State of Israel, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon. Led by Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah since 1992, the group has carried out kidnappings and suicide bombings against the Israeli military.[152]

Shining Path

The Shining Path or Sendero Luminoso is a maoist group in Peru. It was formed in the 1980s, since then its periods of active have been sporadic but bloody with many acts of horrifying violence being associated with them group.[153]

Egyptian Islamic Jihad

Beginning in 1980, Egyptian Islamic Jihad (a.k.a. Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiyya) is a militant Egyptian Islamist movement dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government and to the establishment of an Islamic state in its place. It is led by Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is accused of participating in the World Trade Center 1993 bombings. The group began as an umbrella organization for militant student groups and was formed after the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s. In 1981, the group assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. On, November 17, 1997, the group carried out an attack on tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut (Deir el-Bahri) in Luxor, in which a band of six men dressed in police uniforms machine-gunned 58 Japanese and European vacationers and four Egyptians, in what became known as the Luxor massacre.[154]


Beginning in 1987, Hamas (حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah, meaning "Islamic Resistance Movement") is an Islamic Palestinian group. Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories.[155] Between February and April 1988, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin raised several million dollars from the Gulf states, which had withdrawn their funding from Fatah following its official support of Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War. Beginning in 1993, Hamas launched numerous suicide bombings against Israel and, on March 27, 2002, it bombed the Netanya hotel, killing 30 and wounding 140.[156] Hamas ceased the suicide attacks in 2005 and renounced them in April, 2006.[157] Hamas has also been responsible for Israel-targeted rocket attacks, IED attacks, and shootings, but it reduced most of those operations in 2005 and 2006.[158] Since June 2007, Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories.[159]


Beginning in 1988, Al-Qaeda (Arabic: القاعدة‎, meaning "The Base") is an international Sunni Islamist extremist movement founded by Osama bin Laden in 1988 to end foreign influence in Muslim countries and to create a new Islamic caliphate. On October 12, 2000, Al-Qaeda carried out the USS Cole bombing, suicide bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole while it was harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden and killed seventeen U.S. sailors.[160]

On September 11, 2001, nineteen men[161] affiliated with al-Qaeda[162] hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon. As a result of the attacks, both of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers completely collapsed. Not including the hijackers, nearly 3,000 people died during the attacks.

Lockerbie bombing
Nose section of Clipper Maid of the Seas

In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was the Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) third daily scheduled transatlantic flight from London's Heathrow International Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. On December 21, 1988 it was destroyed by a Libyan mid flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. The bombing was widely regarded as an assault on a symbol of the United States, and with 189 of the victims being Americans, it stood as the deadliest attack against the United States until the September 11 attacks. Pan Am filed for bankruptcy partly as a result of the attack. On January 31, 2001, Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted by a panel of three Scottish judges of bombing the flight. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the attack. In 2002 Libya offered financial compensation to the families of the victims in exchange for the lifting of UN and U.S. sanctions. In 2007 al-Megrahi was granted leave to appeal his conviction, and in August 2009 was released on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Executive due to his terminal cancer[163].

East Turkestan Liberation Organization

The ETLO is a Uyghur secessionist movement which wants independence for the Chinese region of Xinjiang, and has engaged in both bombing campaigns and armed attacks to achieve this goal.

Aum Shinrikyo

Between 1990 and 1995, Aum Shinrikyo, now known as Aleph, was a Japanese religious group founded by Shoko Asahara. Aum Shinrikyo started in 1984 as a yogic meditation group, but it later transformed into a very different organization. Seeking to "demonstrate charisma" to attract a larger audience and to make the group more influential politically, Asahara began issuing bold and controversial statements. In 1990, Asahara and 24 other members stood for the General Elections for the House of Representatives under the banner of Shinri-tō (Supreme Truth Party). After none of them were voted in, the group began to militarize. Between 1990 and 1995, the group attempted several apparently unsuccessful acts of biological terrorism using botulin toxin and anthrax spores.[164]

On June 28, 1994, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas from several sites in the Kaichi Heights neighborhood of Matsumoto, Japan, killing eight and injuring 200 in what became known as the Matsumoto incident.[164] in the Kaichi Heights neighborhood.

Seven months later, on March 20, 1995, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas in a co-ordinated attack on five trains in the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 commuters and damaging the health of about 5000 others[165] in what became known as the subway sarin incident (地下鉄サリン事件, chikatetsu sarin jiken). In May 1995, Asahara and other senior leaders were arrested and the group's membership rapidly decreased.


Beginning in 1991, Lashkar-e-Taiba (Urdu: لشکرطیبہ laškar-ĕ ṯayyiba; translated as Army of the Righteous) is a militant organization currently based near Lahore, Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba members have carried out major attacks against India and its objective is to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to "liberate" Muslims residing in Indian administered Kashmir.[166]

Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
Flag of the Kach and Kahane Chai.

In 1994, Baruch Goldstein (December 9, 1956 – February 25, 1994), an American-born Israeli physician, perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, in which he shot and killed between 30 and 54 Muslim worshippers inside the Ibrahimi Mosque (within the Cave of the Patriarchs), and wounded another 125 to 150 victims.[167] Goldstein was lynched and killed in the mosque.[167] Goldstein was a supporter of Kach, an Israeli political party founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane that advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian Territories.[168] In the aftermath of the Goldstein attack and Kach statements praising it, Kach was outlawed in Israel.[168] Today, Kach and a breakaway group, Kahane Chai, are considered a terrorist organisations by Israel,[169] Canada,[170] the European Union,[171] and the United States.[172]

Chechnyan separatists

Beginning in 1994 and led by Shamil Basayev, Chechnyan separatists carried out several attacks from the 1994 until 2006.[173] In the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis, Basayev-led separatists took over 1,000 civilians hostage in a hospital in the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk. When Russian special forces attempted to free the hostages, 105 civilians and 25 Russian troops were killed.[174] In the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis, 50 Chechnyan separatists took 850 hostages in a Moscow theater, demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War.[175] On September 1, 2004, in what became known as the Beslan school hostage crisis, 32 Chechnyan separatists took 1,300 children and adults hostage at Beslan’s School Number One. When Russian authorities did not comply with the rebels’ demands that Russian forces withdraw from Chechnya, 20 of the adult male hostages were shot. After two days of stalled negotiations, Russian special forces stormed the building. In the ensuing melee, approximately 300 hostages were killed, along with 19 Russian servicemen and all but one of the rebels. Shamil Basayev is believed to have participated in organizing the attack. Like Basayev’s hospital and theater hijackings, the attack at the Beslan school was propaganda of the deed.[176]

Oklahoma City bombing

In 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing was considered a terrorist act against the U.S. Government.[177] The attack on April 19, 1995 was aimed at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a U.S. government office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The attack claimed 168 lives and left over 800 injured.[178]

It may be questioned whether the bombing was a terrorist act or not since the target was a government installation. But perhaps the strongest argument against calling it a terrorist act is that the actions of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted and executed for his role in the bombing, seem to have been based more on a desire to get his revenge on the government rather than on any real political goal. He stated, "What the U.S. government did at Waco and Ruby Ridge was dirty. And I gave dirty back to them at Oklahoma City,"[179]

21st century terrorism

Major terrorist events after the September 11, 2001 Attacks include the Moscow Theatre Siege, the 2003 Istanbul bombings, the Madrid train bombings, the Beslan school hostage crisis, the 2005 London bombings, the October 2005 New Delhi bombings, and the 2008 Mumbai Hotel Siege.

September 11 attacks
September 11, 2001 - The North and South towers of the World Trade Center burn.

In 2001, the September 11 attacks, nineteen attackers[180] affiliated with al-Qaeda[181] hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon.

As a result of the attacks, both of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers completely collapsed. Not including the hijackers, nearly 3,000 people died during the attacks, and the attacks prompted drastic changes in United States foreign and domestic policy and security protocol, and placed national security at the forefront of American political dialogue. The War on Terrorism is the ongoing US military response to the attack, which is now the focus of American security and foreign policy.


Formed in 2003 the Jundallah are Sunni insurgent group from the Baloch region that have committed numerous attacks within Iran, their stated goal is fighting for the rights of the Sunni minority in Iran. The group rarely uses suicide bombing instead using tactics similar to groups like the IRA such as the 2007 Zahedan bombings. In 2005 the group attempted to assassinate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this led to the death of at least one of his bodyguards. Iran claims the group is merely a front for or supported by a range of nations, particularly the USA, UK, Saudia Arabia and Pakistan. Jundallah has received aid from Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization. The group is also accused of involvement in Narcotraffiking and the poppy trade.

Table of non-state groups accused of terrorism

Hashshashin Persia 1090 1256 Hassan-i Sabbah assassinations
Narodnaya Volya Russian Empire 1878 1883 bombings, assassinations Assassinated Tsar Alexander II, 1881
Hunchakian Revolutionary Party Ottoman Empire 1887 1896 Avetis Nazarbekian Destroyed Ottoman coat of arms, 1890 Narodnaya Volya
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Ottoman Empire 1890 1897 Christopher Mikaelian Held hostages at Ottoman Bank, 1896 Hunchakian Revolutionary Party
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization Ottoman Empire 1893 1903 Hristo Tatarchev Led Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising, 1903 Narodnaya Volya
Irish Republican Army Ireland 1916 1923 Michael Collins Bloody Sunday, 1920 Irish Republican Brotherhood;
Irgun Palestine 1931 1948 Avraham Tehomi Menachem Begin bombings King David Hotel bombing, 1946 Irish Republican Army
Lehi Palestine 1940 1948 Abraham Stern Yitzhak Shamir assassinations Lord Moyne assassination, 1944 Irish Republican Army
Muslim Brotherhood Egypt 1928 Hassan al-Banna assassinations Assassinated former PM Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi, 1948
Front de Liberation National Algeria 1954 1962 Toussaint Rouge attacks, 1954 Indochina rebels
EOKA Cyprus 1955 1959 George Grivas
ETA Spain 1959 bombings, assassinations Assassinated “President” Blanco, 1978
Fatah Palestine 1959 Yasser Arafat Munich Olympics massacre, 1972 Algerian rebels
PLO Palestine 1964 Yasser Arafat
PFLP Palestine 1967 Black September skyjacking, 1970 Che Guevara
PFLP-GC Palestine 1968 Hangglider shooting, 1970
DFLP Palestine 1969 Avivim school bus massacre, 1970
Front de Liberation du Quebec Quebec 1963 1971 Georges Schoeters bombings, kidnappings, assassinations October Crisis kidnappings, 1970 Che Guevara; the FLN
Provisional IRA Ireland 1969 2005 Seán Mac Stíofáin Gerry Adams bombings, assassinations Bloody Friday bombings, 1972
FALN Puerto Rico 1974 bombings Four NYC bombs, 1975
ASALA Turkey 1975 1986 Hagop Tarakchian Attack on Ankara airport, 1982
PKK Turkey 1978 Abdullah Ocalan Assassinated former Prime Minister Nihat Erim, 1980 Mao; FLN
Red Army Faction Germany 1968 1998 Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof German Autumn killings, 1977 Che Guevara; Mao; Vietcong
Weathermen U.S.A. 1969 1977 Chicago police statue bombing, 1969 Mao; Black Panthers
Italian Red Brigade Italy 1970 1989 Renato Curcio Assassinated former Prime Minister Aldo Moro, 1978
Japanese Red Army Japan 1971 2001 Fusako Shigenobu Lod Airport Massacre, 1972
Tamil Tigers Sri Lanka 1976 Columbus bus terminal bombing, 1987
Hezbollah Lebanon 1982 Hassan Nasrallah Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Egyptian Islamic Jihad Egypt 1980 Omar Abdel-Rahman Luxor massacre, 1997
Hamas Gaza 1987 Sheikh Ahmed Yassin Muslim Brotherhood
Al-Qaeda Saudi Arabia 1988 Osama bin Laden 9/11 attacks, 2001
East Turkestan Liberation Organization China 1990
Aum Shinrikyo Japan 1990 1995 Shoko Asahara Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, 1995
Lashkar-e-Taiba Pakistan 1991 Mumbai train bombings, 2006 and 2008 Mumbai attack.
Chechnyan Separatists Russia 1994 Shamil Basayev Beslan school hostage crisis, 2004
Jundallah Iran 2003 Abdolmalek Rigi Zahedan bombings, 2007


  1. ^ Laqueur, New Terrorism
  2. ^ Clutterbuck, Guerrillas and Terrorists p11
  3. ^ a b c d e History of Terrorism article by Mark Burgess
  4. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 17
  5. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 83
  6. ^ Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.56
  7. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 84
  8. ^ a b c Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.68
  9. ^ Stern, Jessica. Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. New York: Ecoo, 2003. p.xxi.
  10. ^ a b Rapoport, David. “Fear and Trembling: Terrorism in Three Religious Traditions.” American Political Science Review, 1984. p.658
  11. ^ Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. Berkeley, University of California Press, 2001. p.24
  12. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 167
  13. ^ Willey, Peter. The Castles of the Assassins. New York: Linden Press, 2001. p.19
  14. ^ Daftary, Farhad. The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma'ilis. London: I. B. Tauris, 1995. p.42
  15. ^ Hodgson, Marshall G. S. The Secret Order of Assassins: The Struggle of the Early Nizari Ismai'lis Against the Islamic World. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. p.83
  16. ^ Waterson, James. The Ismaili Assassins. London: Frontline, 2008.
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  25. ^ The Dynamite Club by John Merriman
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  28. ^ Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.124
  29. ^ a b Adam Roberts on new weapon technologies available to anarchists
  30. ^ a b c Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 5
  31. ^ a b Ross, Jeffrey Ian. Political Terrorism: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New York: Peter Lang Press, 2006. p.34
  32. ^ ”A History of Terrorism’’, by Walter Laqueur, Transaction Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0765807998, p. 92 [1]
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  34. ^ Horn, 1939, p. 9. The founders were John C. Lester, John B. Kennedy, James R. Crowe, Frank O. McCord, Richard R. Reed, and J. Calvin Jones
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  36. ^ "Terrorism 2000/2001". Retrieved 2009-03-08.  
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  38. ^ Irish Freedom, by Richard English Publisher: Pan Books (2 Nov 2007), ISBN 0330427598 p180
  39. ^ Irish Freedom, by Richard English Publisher: Pan Books (2 Nov 2007), ISBN 0330427598 p3
  40. ^ Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.133
  41. ^ Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response. New York: Harper Perennial, 2004. p.104
  42. ^ Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.193
  43. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. Page 51.
  44. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 11
  45. ^ Kaplan, Robert. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History. New York: Picador, 2005. p.56
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  47. ^ Danforth, Loring. The Macedonian Conflict. Princeton University Press, 1997. p.87
  48. ^ Kaplan, Robert. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History. New York: Picador, 2005. p.57
  49. ^ "The Guillotine's Sure Work; Details of the Execution of Vaillant, the Anarchist", The New York Times, 1984-02-06.
  50. ^ Was this man the first terrorist of the modern age?, BBC News, 7 October 2009
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  53. ^ Lia, Brynjar. The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: The Rise Of an Islamic Mass Movement 1928-1942. Ithica Press, 2006. p.53
  54. ^ BBC - History - The Changing Faces of Terrorism
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  56. ^ BBC retrospective on the Easter Rising
  57. ^ Chaliand, p.185: "Just before Easter 1920, the IRA simultaneously attacked more than 300 police stations..."
  58. ^ Hart, Peter. Mick: The Real Michael Collins. p.241 “The Dublin Special Branch was indeed responsible for numerous acts of murder and torture, but the hush-hush men did not begin murdering and torturing until after a dozen of them were killed in their homes by the IRA on the morning of 21 November 1920 — a day that became known as "Bloody Sunday". Bloody Sunday was meant to be part of a cross-channel ‘spectacular’ involving both the crippling of British intelligence in Dublin and the simultaneous sabotaging of Liverpool docks and warehouses…”
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  60. ^ a b Colin Shindler, The Land Beyond Promise:Israel, Likud and the Zionist Dream, I.B.Tauris, 2001 p.177
  61. ^ a b Hugh Dalton letter to Lord Halifax 2/7/1940
  62. ^ a b c,opinion,how-churchill-helped-britain-perfect-terrorism article by Matthew Carr Author The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism
  63. ^ The Irish [thanks to the example set by Collins and followed by the SOE] can thus claim that their resistance provide the originating impulse for resistance to tyrannies worse than any they had to endure themselves. And the Irish resistance as Collins led it, showed the rest of the world an economical way to fight wars the only sane way they can be fought in the age of the Nuclear bomb. M.R.D Foot, as quoted in The Irish War, by Tony Geraghty
  64. ^ Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.212
  65. ^ Zadka, Saul. Blood in Zion: How the Jewish Guerrillas Drove the British Out of Palestine. London: Brassey Press, 2003. p.42
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  68. ^ a b Sachar, Howard. A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time. New York: Knopf, 2007. p.247
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  70. ^ Morris, Benny. Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001. New York, Vintage, 2001. p.179
  71. ^ Howard Sachar: ''A History of the State of Israel, pps 265-266
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  73. ^ Pedahzur, Ami The Israeli Response to Jewish terrorism and violence. Defending Democracy. New York: Manchester University Press, 2002 p.77
  74. ^ Lia, Brynjar. The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: The Rise Of an Islamic Mass Movement 1928-1942. Ithica Press, 2006. p.35
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  76. ^ Mitchell, Richard. The Society of the Muslim Brothers. Oxford, 1993. p.74
  77. ^ "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood." Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine.
  78. ^ Resistance - An Analysis of European Resistance to Nazism 1940-1945, by M.R.D Foot
  79. ^ We must recognise that our response to the scourge of terrorism is compromised by what we did through SOE. The justification... That we had no other means of striking back at the enemy... is exactly the argument used by the red brigades, the baader meinhoff gang, the PFLP, the IRA and every other half articulate terrorist organisation on Earth. Futile to argue that we were a Democracy and Hitler a Tyrant. Means besmirch ends. SOE besmirched Britain., John Keegan as quoted in The Irish War, by Tony Geraghty
  80. ^ In May 1945 General Eisenhower wrote that 'the disruption of enemy rail communications, the harassing of German road moves and the continual and increasing strain placed on German security services throughout occupied Europe by the organised forces of Resistance, played a very considerable part in our complete and final victory.'
  81. ^
  82. ^ SOE in France. An Account of the Work of the British Special Operations Executive in France 1940-1944, By M.R.D Foot(1966)
  83. ^ Churchill's Secret Army, Channel 4 television UK
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  85. ^ a b Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.227
  86. ^ [3]
  87. ^ Vietnam: A History, Stanley Karnow,1983
  88. ^
  89. ^ The Power of Nightmares, BBC, 2004
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  93. ^ Galula, David. Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958. RAND Corporation Press, 2006. p.14
  94. ^ Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.216
  95. ^ S. N. Millar, 'Arab Victory: Lessons from the Algerian War (1954-62),' British Army Review No 145 Autumn 2008, p.49
  96. ^ Mallinson, William. Cyprus: A Modern History. I. B. Tauris, 2008. p.27
  97. ^ Papadakis, Yiannis, ed. Divided Cyprus: Modernity, History, And an Island in Conflict. Indiana University Press, 2006. p.38
  98. ^ Weinberg, Leonard. Global Terrorism: A Beginner's Guide. New York: Oneworld, 2008. p.32
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  100. ^ Byford-Jones, W. Grivas and the story of EOKA. New York, 1959.
  101. ^ Kurlansky, Mark. The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation. New York: Penguin, 2001. p.224
  102. ^ "What is the MNLV (3)"
  103. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 191
  104. ^ Weinberg, Leonard. Global Terrorism: A Beginner's Guide. New York: Oneworld, 2008. p.43
  105. ^ Chaliand, Gerard. The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. p.251
  106. ^ Rubin, Barry. Revolution Until Victory?: The Politics and History of the PLO. Harvard University Press, 1996. p.7[4]
  107. ^ Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. p. 47
  108. ^ Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
  109. ^ Palestine Liberation Oganization (PLO)
  110. ^ Palestine Liberation Oganization (PLO) Federation of American Scientists
  111. ^ [December 2005 Terrorism Havens: Palestinian Authority] Council on Foreign Relations Updated December, 2005
  112. ^ Reeve, Simon. One Day in September: The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge Operation. Arcade, 2006. p.32
  113. ^ Klein, Aaron. Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response. Random House, 2007. p.64
  114. ^ Cooley, John K. Green March, Black September: The Story of thePalestinian Arabs. London: Frank Cass, 1973.
  115. ^ Hoffman, p.46
  116. ^ Cobban, Helena.The Palestinian Liberation Organisation: People, Power and Politics. Cambridge, 1985. p.147
  117. ^ Die linke Opposition in der PLO und in den besetzten Gebiete
  118. ^ [5]
  119. ^ Hoffman, p.16
  120. ^ Chaliand, p.227
  121. ^ See Canadian Soldier
  122. ^ FLQ entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia
  123. ^
  124. ^ Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)
  125. ^ Chaliand, p.250
  126. ^ [6]
  127. ^ Chaliand, p.251
  128. ^ Coogan, p.356
  129. ^
  130. ^
  131. ^
  132. ^ a b Anti-Defamation League on JDL
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  134. ^ name="MIPT">JDL group profile from National Consortium for the Study of Terror and Responses to Terrorism
  135. ^
  136. ^ Gina M. Pérez. Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN). Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved on 2007-09-05
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  140. ^
  141. ^ The Weather Underground, produced by Carrie Lozano, directed by Bill Siegel and Sam Green, New Video Group, 2003, DVD.
  142. ^ Ed Vulliamy, Secret agents, freemasons, fascists... and a top-level campaign of political 'destabilisation', The Guardian, December 5, 1990
  143. ^ Japanese Red Army (JRA) Profile The National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism Terrorism Knowledge Base (online)
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  145. ^ a b c Globalisation, Democracy and Terror, Eric Hobsbawm
  146. ^ Chaliand, p.353
  147. ^ Hoffman, p.139
  148. ^ "Sri Lanka - Living With Terror". Frontline (PBS). May 2002. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  149. ^ "Manifesto of Umkhonto we Sizwe". African National Congress. 16 December 1961. Retrieved 2006-12-30.  
  150. ^ Statement of Nelson Mandela at Rivonia trial
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  152. ^ Jamail, Dahr (2006-07-20). "Hezbollah's transformation". Asia Times. Retrieved 2007-10-23.  
  153. ^ Globalisation Democracy and Terrorism, Eric Hobsbawm
  154. ^ Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower, Knopf, 2006, p.123
  155. ^ Chaliand, p.356
  156. ^ Levitt, Matthew Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. Yale University Press, 2007.
  157. ^ "Hamas in call to end suicide bombings" The Observer. April 9, 2006
  158. ^ HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
  159. ^ Hider, James (2007-10-12). "Islamist leader hints at Hamas pull-out from Gaza". London: The Times Online. Retrieved 2009-01-28.  
  160. ^ United States District Court, Southern District of New York (February 6, 2001). "Testimony of Jamal Ahmad Al-Fadl". United States v. Usama bin Laden et al., defendants. James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Retrieved 2008-09-03.  
  161. ^ Terrorists Hijack 4 Airliners, Destroy World Trade Center, Hit Pentagon; Hundreds Dead
  162. ^ Bin Laden claims responsibility for 9/11
  163. ^
  164. ^ a b CDC website, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aum Shinrikyo: Once and Future Threat?, Kyle B. Olson, Research Planning, Inc., Arlington, Virginia
  165. ^
  166. ^ The evolution of Islamic Terrorism by John Moore, PBS
  167. ^ a b 1994: Jewish settler kills 30 at holy site BBC On This Day
  168. ^ a b In the Spotlight: Kach and Kahane Chai Center for Defense Information October 1, 2002
  169. ^ Terror Label No Hindrance To Anti-Arab Jewish Group New York Times, 19 December 2000
  170. ^ Kahane Chai (KACH) Public Safety Canada
  171. ^ Council Decision of 21 December 2005 implementing Article 2(3) of Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism and repealing Decision 2005/848/EC Official Journal of the European Union, 23 December 2005
  172. ^ Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) U.S. Department of State, 11 October 2005
  173. ^ Hoffman, p.154
  174. ^ Smith, Sebastian. Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya. Tauris, 2005. p.200
  175. ^ Hughes, James. Chechnya: From Nationalism to Jihad. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. p.150
  176. ^ Jonathan Steele (July 11, 2006). "Shamil Basayev -Chechen politician seeking independence through terrorism". Obituary (Guardian Unlimited).,,1817558,00.html. ""one-time guerrilla commander who turned into a mastermind of spectacular and brutal terrorist actions ... served for several months as prime minister""  
  177. ^ Opening statement of prosecutor Joseph Hartzler in the Timothy McVeigh trial
  178. ^ The Oklahoma City Bombing, 2004-8-9
  179. ^ McVeigh Remorseless About Bombing
  180. ^ Terrorists Hijack 4 Airliners, Destroy World Trade Center, Hit Pentagon; Hundreds Dead
  181. ^ Bin Laden claims responsibility for 9/11


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