From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A lone wolf or lone-wolf
fighter is someone who commits violent and/or non-violent
acts in support of some group, movement, or ideology, but does so
alone, outside of any command structure.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the term
"lone wolf" was popularized by white
supremacists Alex Curtis and Tom Metzger in the late 1990s:
On Curtis: Curtis encouraged fellow racists to
act alone in committing violent crimes so that they would not
incriminate others. He called for the elimination of nonwhites by
"whatever means necessary" and promoted assassination, illegal drug
sales and biological warfare as useful
strategies. He popularized the so-called "5 words" - "I have
nothing to say" - which he urged extremists to use whenever
questioned by police as a highly effective means of obstructing
On Metzger: One of the most influential aspects
of Metzger's right-wing activism has been his advocacy of the "lone
wolf " or "leaderless resistance" model of
extremism, which favors
individual or small-cell underground activity, as opposed to
above-ground membership organizations.
The term "lone wolf" was subsequently adopted by US law enforcement
agencies and by media to refer to individuals following this
strategy. The FBI and San Diego Police
operation to investigate Curtis' activities was named Operation
Lone Wolf, "largely due to Curtis' encouragement of other white
supremacists to follow what Curtis refers to as 'lone wolf'
Currently, the term "lone-wolf terrorism" now refers to any acts
that take place outside a command structure, regardless of
Usually, the lone-wolf terrorist shares an ideological or
philosophical identification with an extremist group, but does not
communicate with the group he or she identifies with. While the
lone wolf's actions are motivated to advance the group's goal, the
tactics and methods are conceived and directed solely by the lone
wolf, without any outside command or direction. In many cases, as
in the tactic as envisioned by Curtis, the lone wolf never even has
any personal contact with a larger group. Because of this,
lone-wolf terrorism poses a particular problem for counter-terrorism officials, as it is
considerably more difficult to gather intelligence on lone-wolves,
compared to conventional terrorists.
In the United
States, lone-wolves may present a greater threat than organized
groups. According to the Christian
Science Monitor, "With the exception of the attacks on
the World Trade Center ... the major terrorists attacks in the
have been perpetrated by deranged individuals who were sympathetic
to a larger cause - from Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh
to the Washington area sniper John Allen Muhammad".
Relatedly, anti-abortion militants The Army of God use "leaderless resistance" as its
Lone wolves in the United
McVeigh is often given as a classic example of the "lone wolf".
Nichols was convicted of conspiring with him, McVeigh planned
the bombing and threatened Nichols with harm to himself and/or his
family if he did not co-operate in helping him mix the fertilizer
and other bomb ingredients. He (McVeigh) was convicted and executed for the 19 April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which
killed 168 people and injured hundreds with a truck bomb.
- Between 1978 and 1995, Theodore Kaczynski, known as the "Unabomber", engaged in a campaign of
sending mail bombs to various people, killing three
and wounding 23. He threatened to continue the bombings unless his
anti-industrial manifesto was published by the New York Times, which acquiesced.
- Between 1996 and 1998, Eric Robert Rudolph, a Christian
Identity adherent, engaged in a series of attacks against
civilians in the Southern United States,
resulting in the deaths of three people and injuries to at least
150 others. His targets included abortion clinics, gay nightclubs, and the 1996
Olympics in Atlanta.
- On February 23, 1997, Ali Hassan Abu
Kamal opened fire in the observation deck of the Empire
State Building, killing one and wounding six others before
- On 10 August 1999, Buford O. Furrow, Jr., a member
of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations,
attacked a Jewish daycare in Los
Angeles, injuring five, and subsequently shot dead a Filipino
American mail carrier.
- On 3 March 2006, Mohammed Reza
Taheri-azar drove a Jeep Cherokee into a crowd of students at
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, injuring nine people. Press
accounts have said that he "matches the modern profile of the
unaffiliated, lone-wolf terrorist"
- On 28 July 2006, Naveed Afzal Haq, saying "I am a
Muslim American, angry at Israel", perpetrated the Seattle Jewish
Federation shooting in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, killing
one woman and wounding five other women.
- Anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder has been arrested and
charged with the 31 May 2009 murder of obstetrician George
- On 1 June 2009 Abdulhakim
Mujahaid Muhammad, an American who had converted to Islam opened fire on a United States military recruiting office in
Little Rock, Arkansas, known as
the 2009 Little
Rock recruiting office shooting. Abdulhakim has been indicted
on one count of capital murder
in the death of Private William Long and 15 counts of terrorism. Private Quinton
Ezeagwula was also wounded in the attack.
Preliminary investigation (as of 12 June 2009) indicated that
Muhammad acted alone.
- On 10 June 2009 James von
Brunn, Holocaust Museum shooter.
wolves in Europe
- From 1991 to 1992, John Ausonius, a Swedish petty criminal,
carried out a series of shootings mainly targetting immigrants.
Dubbed the Laserman by the press as he used a
rifle fitted with a laser sight for some of his attacks, Ausonius
killed 1 man and injured 10 others.
- Between 1993 and 1997, Franz Fuchs, a xenophobic Austrian, engaged in a campaign against
foreigners and organizations and individuals whom he believed to be
friendly to foreigners. He killed four people and injured 15, some
of them seriously, using three improvised explosive
devices and five waves of 25 mailbombs in total.
- In April 1999, neo-Nazi David Copeland became known as the
"London nailbomber" after a 12-day bombing campaign aimed at London's black, Asian and gay
communities, killing three and injuring 129.
Lone wolves in the Middle
- On 24 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a former member of
the Jewish Defence League and follower of the
opened fire inside the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, killing 29 people and
injuring at least 100.
- On 4 November 1995, Yigal Amir, a follower of Meir Kahane,
assassinated Israeli Prime
Rabin and injured a security guard at a rally held in support of the Oslo Accords in Tel Aviv, and was sentenced
to life plus 14 years in prison. Amir was a law student
at Bar-Ilan University and a right-wing activist who had
strenuously opposed Rabin's signing of the Accords.
- On March 19, 2005, Egyptian national Omar Ahmad Abdullah Ali
detonated a car bomb outside a theatre filled with Westerners in Doha, Qatar, killing a British director and injuring 12
others. Police believe he was acting alone.
- On 4 August 2005, Eden Natan-Zada, another alleged Kahanist,
killed four Israeli Arabs on a bus and wounded 12
before being killed by other passengers.
Natan-Zada was a 19-year-old soldier who had deserted his unit
after he refused to remove settlers from the Gaza Strip. Less than two
weeks later, on 17 August 2005, Asher Weisgan, a 40-year old Israeli
bus-driver, shot and killed four Palestinians and injured two
others in the West Bank
settlement of Shiloh.
- Nabil Ahmad Jaoura, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, opened
fire on tourists at the Roman Amphitheatre in Amman, Jordan, on September 4, 2006. One British
tourist died and six others, including five tourists, were injured.
Police said he was not connected with any organized group but was
angered by Western and Israeli actions in the Middle East.
- On 6 March 2008, Alaa Abu Dhein opened fire on a
Jewish seminary in Jerusalem, killing eight and injuring 11
before he himself was shot to death. His family denied he was a
member of any militant group, although they said he was intensely
- On 2 July, 2008, Husam Taysir Dwayat attacked
several cars with a front-end loader. He killed three and injured
dozens more before being shot to death. He was not a member of any