Terrorism in the United States: Wikis


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A common definition of terrorism is the systematic use or threatened use of violence to intimidate a population or government and thereby effect political, religious, or ideological change.[1][2]



Attacks by date


  • May 21, 1856: Sacking of Lawrence—Pro-Slavery forces enter Lawrence, Kansas to disarm residents and destroy the town's presses and the Free State Hotel.
  • May 24, 1856 – May 25, 1856: Pottawatomie Massacre—In response to the sacking of Lawrence, John Brown leads a group of abolitionists in the murders of five pro-slavery Kansas settlers.
  • April 14, 1865: Abraham Lincoln assassination — Part of a conspiracy by confederate supporters John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward in Washington, DC to create chaos for the purpose of overthrowing the Federal Government. Booth succeeded in assassinating Lincoln at Ford's Theater, Seward survived numerous stabbings by Powell who stabbed others as he was chased out of Seward's home, Atzerodt failed to carry out the planned murder of Johnson. Booth was killed by soldiers when he failed to surrender. Eight conspirators were tried and convicted by for their role in the conspiracy by a military tribunal. Four defendants were executed for their roles including Mary Surratt the first women ever to be hanged by the U.S. government.
  • May 4, 1886: Haymarket affair—Anarchists at Haymarket Square in Chicago detonate a bomb during a labor rally, the police respond with gunfire killing twelve people.


  • 1901 September 6: President William McKinley assassinated by Michigan born Russian-Polish anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, in Buffalo, New York.
  • 1910 October 1: Los Angeles Times bombing. The Los Angeles Times building in Los Angeles is destroyed by dynamite, killing 21 workers. The bomb was apparently placed due to the paper's opposition to unionization of its employees;[3] the McNamara brothers were found guilty.
  • 1915, July 2: Frank Holt (also known as Eric Muenter), a German professor who wanted to stop American support of the Allies in World War I, exploded a bomb in the reception room of the U.S. Senate. The next morning he tried to assassinate J.P. Morgan, Jr. the son of the financier whose company served as Great Britain’s principal U.S. purchasing agent for munitions and other war supplies. Muenter was overpowered by Morgan in Morgan's Long Island home before committing suicide in prison on July 7.[4][5]
  • 1916 July 22: The Preparedness Day bombing kills ten people and injures 40 in San Francisco. The identity of the bombers has never been proven. Radical union leaders were suspected.
  • 1917, November 24: A bomb explodes in a Milwaukee police station, killing nine officers and a civilian. Anarchists were suspected.[6][7]
  • 1919: 1919 United States anarchist bombings
  • 1920 September 16: The Wall Street bombing occurred in the finance district of New York City, killing 38 and injuring 400. Anarchists were suspected.
  • 1921 May 31: During the Tulsa Race Riot there were reports that whites dropped dynamite from airplanes onto a black ghetto in Tulsa. The riot killed 39-300 people and destroyed more than 1,100 homes. This account is heavily disputed, however.[8]
  • 1927 May 18: The Bath School Disaster (bombings) killed 45 people and injured 58. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–12 years of age) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in U.S. history. The perpetrator was school board member Andrew Kehoe.
  • 1933, October 10, A Boeing 247 is destroyed in midflight over Indiana by a nitroglycerin bomb. All seven people aboard are killed. This incident is the first proven case of air sabotage in the history of aviation. The identity of the perpetrator and his rationale for the attack are unknown.
  • 1940 4 July: Two New York City policemen killed and two critically wounded examining a bomb they had found at the British Pavilion at the World's Fair
  • 1940–1956: George Metesky, the Mad Bomber, placed over 30 bombs in New York City in public places such as Grand Central Station and The Paramount Theatre injuring ten during this period in protest of the high rates of a local electric utility. He also sent many threatening letters to various high profile individuals.
  • 1941 December 6: The Bombing of Pearl Harbor. Carried out by the Japanese Government.
  • 1958 October 12: Bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple of Atlanta, Georgia. The acts were carried out by white racists.



  • 1970 August 24: Sterling Hall bombing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in protest of the Army Mathematics Research Center and the Vietnam War, killing one. Bombers Karleton Armstrong, Dwight Armstrong, David Fine, and Leo Burt claimed the death of physicist Robert Fassnacht was unintentional but acknowledged that they knew the building was occupied when they planted the bomb.
  • 1970 November 21: Bombing of the City Hall of Portland, Oregon in an attempt to destroy the state's bronze Liberty Bell replica. The late night explosion destroyed the display foyer, blew out the building doors, damaged the council hall, and blew out windows more than a block away. The night janitor was injured in the blast. The crime remains unsolved, though a number of local anti-war and radical leftist groups of the era remain the primary suspects.
  • 1970: Jewish Defense League linked with a bomb explosion outside of Aeroflot's New York City office in protest of treatment of Soviet Jews
  • 1971: Jewish Defense League linked to a detonation outside of Soviet cultural offices in Washington and rifle fire into the Soviet mission to the United Nations
  • 1971 March 1: The radical leftist group Weatherman explode a bomb in the United States Capitol to protest the U.S. invasion of Laos.
  • 1973 June 1: Yosef Alon, the Israeli Air Force attache in Washington, D.C., was shot and killed outside his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Palestinian militant group Black September is suspected, though the case remains unsolved.[16]
  • 1974 June 13: The 29th floor of the Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was bombed with dynamite at 9:41 p.m. resulting in no injuries. The radical leftist group Weatherman took credit, but no suspects have ever been identified.
  • 1974 Summer: "Alphabet Bomber" Muharem Kurbegovich bombs the Pan Am Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport killing three and injuring eight. He also fire bombed the houses of a judge and two police commissioners as well as one of the commissioner’s cars. He burned down two Marina Del Rey apartment buildings and threatened Los Angeles with a gas attack. His bomb diffused at the Greyhound Bus station was the most powerful the LAPD bomb squad had handled up until that time. His personal vendetta against a judge and the commissioners grew into demands for an end to immigration and naturalization laws, as well as any laws about sex.[17]
  • 1975 December 29: A bomb at New York's LaGuardia Airport kills 11 and injures 75. The bombing remains unsolved.[18]
  • 1976 September 11: Croatian terrorists hijack a TWA airliner diverting it to Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, and then Paris demanding a manifesto be printed. One police officer was killed and three injured during an attempt to defuse a bomb that contained their communiques in a New York City train station locker.[19] Zvonko Bušić who served 32 years in prison for the attack was released and returned to Croatia to a heroes welcome in July 2008.[20]
  • 1976 September 21: Orlando Letelier, a former member of the Chilean government, was killed by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. along with his assistant Ronni Moffitt. The killing was carried out by members of the Chilean DINA.




  • 2000 October 13, Firebombing of Temple Beth El (Syracuse)
  • 2000: 2000 New York terror attack Three young men of Arab descent hurled crude Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in The Bronx, New York to "strike a blow in the Middle East conflict between Israel and Palestine".[24]
  • 2001 May 21 The Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington burned. Replacement building cost $7,000,000. Earth Liberation Front members pleads guilty.[29][30]
  • 2001 September 11: September 11, 2001 attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda. The attacks were carried out by Islamic fundamentalists using hijacked commercial airplanes to damage the twin towers of the World Trade Center, ultimately destroying both 110-story skyscrapers. The Pentagon near Washington, D.C. is also severly damaged. Building 7 of the World Trade Center was also destroyed but was not hit with a plane. A fourth plane crashed prematurely in Pennsylvania.
  • 2001 September 18: November - 2001 anthrax attacks. Letters tainted with anthrax kill five across the United States, with politicians and media officials as the apparent targets. On July 31, 2008 Bruce E. Ivins a top biodefense researcher committed suicide.[31] On August 6, 2008 the FBI concluded that Ivins was solely responsible for the attacks and suggested that Ivins wanted to bolster support for a vaccine he helped create and that he targeted two lawmakers because they were Catholics who held pro choice views.[32]
  • May 2002 Mailbox Pipe Bomber: Lucas John Helder rigged pipe bombs in private mailboxes to explode when the boxes were opened. He injured 6 people in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and Iowa. His motivation was to garner media attention so that he could spread a message denouncing government control over daily lives and the illegality of marijuana as well as promoting astral projection.
  • 2002 July 4: 2002 Los Angeles Airport shooting Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, a 41-year-old Egyptian national, kills two Israelis and wounds four others at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport. The FBI concluded this was terrorism, although they found no evidence linking Hadayet to any terrorist group.[33]
  • October 2002 Beltway Sniper Attacks: During three weeks in October 2002 John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo killed 10 people and critically injured three others in Washington D.C, Baltimore, and Virginia. An earlier spree by the pair had resulted in 3 deaths in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, California, Arizona, and Texas to bring the total to 16 deaths. No motivation was given at the trial but evidence presented showed an affinity to the cause of the Islamic jihad.
  • 2006 March 5: Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar injured 6 when he drove an SUV into a group of pedestrians at UNC-Chapel Hill to "avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world".[34]
  • 2006 July 28: Seattle Jewish Federation shooting, Egyptian shoots six Jewish women
  • 2007 October 26: A pair of improvised explosive devices were thrown at the Mexican Consulate in New York City. The fake grenades were filled with black powder and detonated by fuses causing very minor damage. Police were investigating the connection between this and a similar attack against the British Consulate in New York in 2005.[35]
  • 2008 February: In the first reported incident of animal-rights extremists physically assaulting the family members of animal researchers, six masked activists attempted to force their way into the home of a University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher and injured the researcher's husband.[36][37]
  • 2008 March 3: Four multimillion-dollar show homes place in Woodinville, Washington are torched. The Earth Liberation Front is suspected in the fires.[38]
  • 2008 May 4 Multiple nail laden pipe bombs exploded at a Federal Courthouse in San Diego at 1:40 AM causing "considerable damage" to the entrance and lobby and sending shrapnel two blocks away. The F.B.I. is investigating links between this attack and an April 25 explosion at the FedEx building also in San Diego.[39][40]
  • 2008 July 27 Jim D. Adkisson opened fire in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville,Tennessee killing two and injuring seven before being tackled to the ground by congregation members. A note found in his SUV indicated this was intended as a suicide attack and said the church was apparently targeted because of its support of liberal social policies.[41]
  • 2008 August 2, August 3 University of California-Santa Cruz molecular biologist David Feldheim's home was firebombed. A car belonging to another researcher from that University was destroyed by a firebomb in what is presumed to be related. FBI is investigating incidents as domestic terrorism related to animal rights groups.[42][43]
  • 2009 April 8: According to a report in the Wall Street Journal intruders have left malware in power grids, water and sewage systems that could be activated at a later date. While the attacks which have occurred over a period of time seem to have originated in China and Russia it is unknown if they are state sponsored.[44]
  • 2009 May 31: Assassination of George Tiller. Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who provided late term abortions was shot to death in a Wichita, Kansas church. Tiller was shot previously in 1993 and his abortion clinic had been bombed in 1985. Alleged assassin Scott Roeder, who believes in justifiable homicide of abortion providers, has been arrested for the killing.[45][46]
  • 2009 May 25: Crude bomb explodes in a Starbucks in Manhattan's Upper East Side. On July 14 Kyle Shaw age 17 is arrested and pleaded not guilty. He is being held pending $300,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail. Police allege his motive was to emulate "Project Mayhem" a series of assaults on corporate America portrayed in the movie Fight Club.[47]
  • 2009 June 1: Arkansas recruiting office shooting One military recruiter was killed and another critically injured by gunshot at a Little Rock, Arkansas Army/Navy Career Center. The suspect Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad said he was upset over U.S. killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.[48]
  • 2009 June 10: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting. A gunman identified as 88 year old James Wenneker von Brunn walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and shot a guard who later died. Wenneker von Brunn was critically wounded when security guards immediately returned fire .[49] On January 6, 2010 Wenneker von Brunn died of natural causes at a hospital near where he was imprisoned.[50] Wennecker von Brunn was described as a white supremacist and a neo-Nazi.[51]
  • 2009 July 4: A denial of service attack of unusual length and sophistication affected United States and South Korean government websites as well as websites for the Washington Post and NASDAQ. Websites for several U.S. government agencies were shut down for up to 3 days. A sophisticated organization or nation was suspected according to the National Intelligence Service.[52][53]
  • 2010 February 18: Joseph Stack flew a small plane into an IRS building in Texas, believed to be in retaliation to the U.S. Government.

Attacks by type

Organized KKK violence

Puerto Rican nationalists

Black militancy

  • 1970 October 22: An antipersonnel time bomb explodes outside a San Francisco church, showering steel shrapnel on mourners of a patrolman slain in a bank holdup; no one is injured. The Black Liberation Army is suspected.[60]
  • 1971: During this year the Black Liberation Army is suspected of killing three policemen one at his desk in San Francisco, shooting four others and opening fire on three patrol cars and rolling a grenade which heavily damages a police car and injures two officers. An attempt is made to bomb a police station. These incidents happen in various cities around the country. In August the group runs a one month long guerrilla warfare school in Fayetteville, Georgia. Seven are arrested in January 2007 in connection with the San Francisco desk shooting incident.[60][61]
  • 1972 January 22: Two St. Louis policemen, Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie, are shot in the back by at least three persons; four suspects in the case are members of the Black Liberation Army; one suspect is later killed in a street battle with police; the recovered pistol matches Laurie's.[60]
  • 1972 December 28: A Brooklyn, New York bartender is held for $12000 ransom by the Black Liberation Army.[60]
  • 1973 January 7: After shooting a police officer a week earlier Mark Essex a former Black Panther party member shoots nineteen people, ten of them police officers, in retaliation for police killings in and around a Howard Johnsons hotel in New Orleans. He also set fires in the hotel before being killed by police.
  • 1973: A New York City transit detective is killed and ten law enforcement personnel are shot four by machine gun during the year mostly in and around New York City by the Black Liberation Army. Also two members of that organization are arrested with a car full of explosives. In the next few years there are a number of violent incidents involving this organization but they are more criminal in nature.[60]

Islamic and Islamist terrorism

Failed attacks

Alleged and proven plots

  • 1940 January: The Christian Front is shut down by the F.B.I. after it was discovered they were arming themselves for in regards to a plot to "murder Jews, communists, and 'a dozen Congressmen'" for the purpose of establishing a government modeled after Nazi Germany.[78][79]
  • 1943 March 31: Clarence Cull arrested and charged with attempting to assassinate President Franklin D. Roosevelt by suicide bombing. Cull blamed Roosevelt for lost convoys of Merchant Ships.
  • 1995 November 9: Oklahoma Constitutional Militia members arrested while in the planning stages for bombings of Southern Poverty Law Center,gay bars and abortion clinics.[70]
  • 1996 January 1: Members of the Viper Team militia are arrested after they caught surveying government buildings in Arizona.[70]
  • 1996 November 11: Seven members of the Mountaineer Militia are arrested in plot to blow up the FBI fingerprint records center in West Virginia.[70]
  • 1997 July 4: Members of the splinter militia group the Third Continental Congress are arrested while planning attacks on military bases which they believed were being used to train United Nations troops to attack U.S. citizens.[70]
  • 1998 March 18: Members of the North American Militia are arrested in plot to bomb Federal Buildings in Michigan, a television station and an interstate highway intersection.[70]
  • 1999 December 5: Members of the San Joaquin Militia are arrested on charges of plotting to bomb critical infrastructure locations in hopes of sparking an insurrection. The leaders of the group plead guilty to charges of plotting to kill a Federal judge.[70]
  • 1999 December 8: The leader of the Southeastern States Alliance militia group is arrested in plot to bomb energy faculties with the goal of causing power outages in Florida and Georgia.[70]
  • 2000 March 9: The former leader of the Texas Militia is arrested in a plot to attack the Federal Building in Houston.[70]
  • 2002 February 8: Two members of Project 7 are arrested plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officials in order to kick off a revolution.[70]
  • 2002 May 8: José Padilla accused by John Ashcroft of plotting to attack the United States with a dirty bomb, declared as an enemy combatant, and denied habeas corpus. No material evidence has been produced to support the allegation.
  • 2002 July 26 2002 White supremacist terror plot: Two white supremacists were convicted of conspiring to start a race war by bombing landmarks associated with Jews and Blacks.[80]
  • 2002 September 3: An Idaho Mountain Militia Boys plot to kill a judge an a police officer and break a friend out of jail is uncovered.[70]
  • 2003 April 24: William Krar is charged for his part in the Tyler poison gas plot, a white supremacist related plan. A sodium cyanide bomb was seized with at least 100 other bombs, bomb components, machine guns, and 500,000 rounds of ammunition. He faces up to 10 years in prison.[81][82]
  • 2003 May 1: Iyman Faris pleas guilty to providing material support to Al Qaeda and plotting to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge by cutting through cables with blowtorches. He had been working as a double for the FBI since March, but in October was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • 2005 August 31 2005 Los Angeles bomb plot:Kevin James, founder of radical Islamic group J.I.S (Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh), Hammad Samana, Gregory Patterson, and Levar Washington were indicted on charges to wage war against the U.S. government through terrorism in California. James later pled guilty to the conspiracy charge.
  • 2006 February 21: The Toledo terror plot where three men were accused of conspiring to wage a "holy war" against the United States, supply help to the terrorist in Iraq, and threatening to kill the US president.
  • 2006 June 23: The Miami bomb plot to attack the Sears Tower where seven men were arrested after an FBI agent infiltrated a group while posing as an al-Qaeda member. No weapons or other materials were found. On May 12, 2009 after two mistrials due to hung juries five men were convicted and one acquitted on charges related to the plot. Narseal Batiste the groups ringleader was convicted on four charges the only defendant to be convicted on all four charges brought against the defendants.[83]
  • 2006 July 7: Three suspects arrested in Lebanon for plotting to blow up a Hudson River tunnel and flood the New York financial district.
  • 2006 November 29 Demetrius Van Crocker a white supremacist from rural Tennessee was sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempting to acquire Sarin nerve gas and C-4 explosives that he planned to use to destroy government buildings.[84]
  • 2006 December 8: Derrick Shareef, 22, a Muslim convert who talked about his desire to wage jihad against civilians was charged in a plot to set off four hand grenades in garbage cans December 22 at the CherryVale Mall in Rockford, Illinois.[85]
  • 2007 March 5 A Rikers Island inmate offered to pay an undercover police officer posing as a hit man to behead New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly and bomb police headquarters in retaliation for the controversial police shooting of Sean Bell. The suspect wanted the bombing to be considered a terrorist act.[86][87]
  • 2007 May 1: Five members of a self styled Birmingham, Alabama area anti-immigration militia were arrested for planning a machine gun attack on Mexicans.[88]
  • 2007 May 7: Fort Dix attack plot Six men inspired by Jihadist videos arrested in a failed homegrown terrorism plot to kill soldiers. Plot unravels when Circuit City clerk becomes suspicious of the DVDs the men had created and report it to authorities who place an informant in the group. In October 2008 one man pleaded guilty to charges related to the plot. On December 22, 2008 five other men were convicted with conspiracy to kill American soldiers but were acquitted of attempted murder.[89] Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka were sentenced to life iin prison.[90]
  • 2007 June 3: John F. Kennedy International Airport terror plot Four men indicted in plot to blow up jet-fuel supply tanks at JFK Airport and a 40-mile connecting pipeline. One suspect is a U.S. citizen and one, Abdul Kadir, is former member of parliament in Guyana. All The airport was targeted because one of the suspects saw arms shipments and missiles being shipped to Israel from that locale. In a recorded conversation one of the suspects allegedly told an informant that "Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow.... They love JFK -- he's like the man". Plot unraveled when a person from law enforcement was recruited.[91][92][93]
  • 2008 March 26: Michael S. Gorbey who was detained in January 2008 for carrying a loaded shotgun two blocks from the Capitol Building has been charged planning to set off a bomb after a device containing can of gunpowder duct-taped to a box of shotgun shells and a bottle containing buckshot or BB pellets was found in the pickup truck he was driving. The pickup truck was moved to a government parking lot where for a three week period the device inside it went unnoticed.[94] Michael Gorbey gets 22 years prison, but he insisted that police planted weapons.[95]
  • 2008 October 27 Federal agents claim to thwarted a plot by two white power skinheads to target an African American High School and kill 88 blacks and decapitate 14 more (the numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic to white supremacists) and although expecting to fail try to assassinate Barack Obama.[96]
  • 2009 May 20: 2009 New York City bomb plot Three U.S. citizens and one Haitian from Newburgh, New York were arrested in a plot to bomb a Riverdale Temple and a Riverdale Jewish Center in The Bronx, New York City in an alleged homegrown terrorist plot. It was also alleged that they planed to shoot down military planes operating out of Stewart Air National Guard Base also in Newburgh. One of the suspects whose parents are from Afghanistan was said to be "unhappy that many Muslim people were being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the United States Military forces."[97][98][99]
  • 2009 September: Najibullah Zazi of Denver was indicted on charges of trying to build and detonate a weapon of mass destruction by purchasiing hydrogen peroxide, acetone and other chemicals. On February 22, 2010 Zazi plead guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization. Zazi said he was recruited by al-Qaida as part of a "martyrdom plan" against the United States and the plot targeted a location he refused to specify on the New York subway.[100]. Several days later Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay high school classmates of Zazi were indicted and plead not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization.[101]
  • 2009 August - September: On September 24 William Boyd and Hysen Sherifi charged with "conducting reconnaissance of the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia and obtaining armor-piercing ammunition with the intent to attack Americans". Boyd, two of his sons and several other suspects had been charged on international terrorism charges in August, but at the time there was no indication that they wanted to plot a United States attack. An audio tape of Boyd decrying the U.S. military, discussing the honor of martyrdom, and bemoaning the struggle of Muslims was played at a August hearing. It is the first case of a ring of homegrown terrorists having specific targets.[102][103].
  • 2009 September 24: Michael Finton/Talib Islam a 29 year old man from Illinois charged with trying to kill federal employees by detonating a car bomb at the federal building in Springfield, Illinois. Charges based on F.B.I. sting operation.[102] He is said to idolize American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh.[104]
  • 2009 September 24: Hosam Maher Husein Smadi a 19 year old illegal immigrant from Jordan charged with trying the bomb the 60 story Fountain Place office tower in Dallas, Texas. Charges are based on F.B.I. sting operation in which agents posed as members of an Al Queda sleeper cell.[102][104]
  • 2009 October 21: Tarek Mehanna a pharmacist from suburban Boston arrested on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The federal charge alleges a plot to obtain atomic weapons, shoot up two mails, and assassinate two unnamed former members of the executive branch of the federal government. The alleged plot was repotedly inspired by the 2002 Beltway Sniper Attacks. The suspect allegedly went abroad on a failed trip to buy weapons.[105]

See also

External resources


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