Timeline of al-Qaeda attacks: Wikis


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Al-Qaeda attacks (also al-Qa'ida) began in 1992, with coordinated bombings of two hotels in Aden, Yemen, killing one Australian tourist.[1] In an interview with Abdel Bari Atwan, Bin Laden has claimed al-Qaeda responsibility for the 1993 attack on U.S. troops in Mogadishu, the bombing of the National Guard Training Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1995, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. However, there is no solid evidence to support these claims from Bin Laden, though he may have provided financial support along with inspiration for the attackers.[2]

In 1998, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ayman al-Zawahiri officially joined al-Qaeda. Zawahiri previously led the Egyptian Islamic Group which carried out numerous attacks in Egypt along with assassination attempts against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, possibly with financial support from Osama bin Laden.[3][4] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed also organized attacks prior to joining al-Qaeda, possibly with some financial support from Bin Laden. Al-Qaeda was directly involved in coordinating the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, along with the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, and the September 11 attacks. After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, following the September 11 attacks, training camps were destroyed and al-Qaeda leaders were on the run. Numerous attacks have been carried out since the September 11 attacks. But, they have been much smaller in scale and many of the attackers have been only loosely affiliated or acted independently with inspiration from al-Qaeda, rather than direct coordination and orders from al-Qaeda leaders.

The following list is of acts attributed or claimed by al-Qaeda or its affiliates, or suspected of being influenced by al-Queda or those working on its behalf. Bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda leaders do not take credit for some of them, resulting in ambiguity over how many attacks the group has actually conducted. After the United States declaration of the War on Terrorism in 2001, the U.S. government has sought to highlight any connections between other militant groups and al-Qaeda. Some prefer to attribute to al-Qaedaism actions that might not be directly planned by al-Qaeda as a military headquarters but that are inspired by its tenets and strategies.


Early 1990s

On December 29, 1992,[5] the first attack by Al Qaeda was carried out in Aden, Yemen.[1][6][7] That evening, a bomb went off at the Gold Mohur hotel, where U.S. troops had been staying while en-route to Somalia, though the troops had already left when the bomb exploded. The bombers targeted a second hotel, the Aden Movenpick, where they believed American troops might also be staying. That bomb detonated prematurely in the hotel car park, around the same time as the other bomb explosion, killing two Australian tourists.[5][6] Bin Laden later claimed responsibility for the 1992 Yemen attack.[1]

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when Ramzi Yousef parked a rented van full of explosives in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center. The explosion claimed six victims, and over one thousand people were wounded. Ramzi Yousef, the nephew of 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had trained in Afghanistan, although Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did not join Al Qaeda until 1998. Yousef worked in cooperation with the blind sheikh Abdul Rahman who was living across the Hudson, in Jersey City, at the time of the attack. The FBI later turned up evidence that Osama bin Laden provided financial support to the blind sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman.[8]

Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (prior to joining with Al Qaeda) planned Operation Bojinka, a plot to destroy airplanes in mid-Pacific flight using explosives.[9] They tested their attacks in November 1994 on the Philippine Airlines Flight 434, which also involved Abu Sayyaf (a Southeast Asia affiliate of Al Qaeda).[10] An apartment fire in Manila, Philippines exposed the plan before it could be carried out. Yousef was arrested, but Mohammed evaded capture until 2003.[11]

March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings

It is thought that al-Qaeda was responsible for the bombing of the Madrid commuter train system, 911 days after the 9/11 attacks. However, the group did not claim any responsibility of this attack.

2007 Algiers bombings

Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb claimed to have been responsible for the April 11, 2007 Algiers bombings. Two bombs exploded within a short time of each other, one at the prime ministers office and the other at a police station. The blasts killed 33 people. It was the first time a bombing had occurred in the capital in more than a decade.[12]

2008 Danish-embassy bombing

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan on 2 June 2008. A car bomb killed six people and injuring several.[13] Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, a high-ranking member of Al-Qaeda, issued a statement after the bombing, claiming that the attack was a response to the 2005 publication of the Muhammed Cartoons.[14]

2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting

On June 1, 2009, Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad opened fire in a drive-by shooting on a United States military recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing one US soldier and wounding another. At the time he stated that the act was "for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military" and law enforcement authorities concluded "there doesn't appear to be a wider conspiracy or, at this point in time, any indication that he's a part of a larger group or a conspiracy". However he later professed that he had conducted a "Jihadi attack" as part of Al Qaeda.[15]

2009 Northwest Airlines Flight 253

Shortly after the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the December 25, 2009 bombing attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, the suspect reportedly told officials he had traveled to Yemen for training by Al-Qaeda, although British counterterrorism officials dismissed the claims. [16] . President Barack Obama's top security official Janet Napolitano on December 27 stated "Right now we have no indication it's part of anything larger", warning it would be "inappropriate to speculate" that Al-Qaeda had sent Abdulmutallab on a suicide mission. On December 28, President Obama called it an "attempted terrorist attack" and promised to "to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia...".[17]. That same day, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack.[18]. The group released photos of Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab smiling in a white shirt and white Islamic skullcap with the Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula banner in the background. On January 8, 2010, President Barack Obama took responsibility for security lapses exposed by the attack, declaring in televised remarks "We are at war against Al-Qaeda", noting "our adversaries will seek new ways to evade them, as was shown by the Christmas attack"[19] By February 2010, the suspect told federal investigators that cleric Anwar al-Awlaki gave him orders to carry out the attack. Al-Jazeera reported that Awlaki issued a statement that "Brother mujahed Umar Farouk - may God relieve him - is one of my students, yes... We had kept in contact, but I didn't issue a fatwa to Umar Farouk for this operation,". [20]


  1. ^ a b c Wright 2006, p. 174
  2. ^ Wright 2006, p. 246
  3. ^ Wright 2006, p. 213-219
  4. ^ Wright 2006, p. 255-258
  5. ^ a b "Bomb blasts rock two hotels in Yemen". Reuters / The Globe and Mail. 1992-12-30. 
  6. ^ a b Scheuer, Michael (2002). Through Our Enemies' Eyes. Brassey's. pp. 135. 
  7. ^ MacLeod, Scott (2008-09-17). "In Yemen, a Massacre of Americans Is Averted". TIME Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1842045,00.html?xid=feed-cnn-topics. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  8. ^ Wright, Lawrence (2006). "Chapter 9, The Silicon Valley". The Looming Towers. Alfred P. Knopf. 
  9. ^ "Pakistanis Arrest Qaeda Figure Seen as Planner of 9/11". The New York Times. 2003-03-02. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE4DA1E3CF931A35750C0A9659C8B63. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  10. ^ "Terrorism in Southeast Asia". Parliamentary Library. Parliament of Australia. http://www.aph.gov.au/library/intguide/FAD/sea.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  11. ^ Boner, Raymond; Benjamin Weiser (2006-08-11). "Echoes of Early Design to Use Chemicals to Blow Up Airliners". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/11/world/europe/11manila.html. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  12. ^ "Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Algiers bombings". ABC. 2007-04-12. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/04/12/1894940.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  13. ^ "Al Qaeda linked to Danish embassy attack". CNN. 2008-06-03. http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/06/03/pakistan.blast/index.html. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  14. ^ "Danish embassy bomber "from Mecca"-al Qaeda leader". Reuters. 2008-07-22. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSSP66665. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  15. ^ Dao, James (January 21, 2010). "Man Claims Terror Ties in Little Rock Shooting". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/22littlerock.html?hp. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  16. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/07/airline-bomb-plot-alqaida-london Airline bomb plot accused 'joined al-Qaida in London'
  17. ^ Transcript of Obama remarks on airline security and terror watch lists
  18. ^ CBS News Dec. 28, 2009 Al Qaeda: We Planned Flight 253 Bombing Terrorist Group Says It Was In Retaliation for U.S. Operation in Yemen; Obama Orders Reviews of Watchlist and Air Safety
  19. ^ Obama Orders New Security Measures, Takes Responsibility For Lapse January 8, 2010
  20. ^ CBS News Feb. 5, 2010 Abdulmutallab: Cleric Told Me to Bomb Jet


  • Wright, Lawrence (2006). The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 037541486X. 


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