ACTS OF TERRORISM
Added on: 18th Mar 2015
It seems that terrorism goes back to even 2000 years ago when a
Jewish extremist group tried to expel the Romans and their
sympathizers at the beginning of the 1st century AD with the use
of daggers hidden in their cloaks, hence the name “sicarii,”
which means “dagger.” In a public gathering, the zealots pulled their
daggers to attack not only the Romans and their sympathizers, but all
Jewish collaborators including the Herodians and Sadducees.
THE REIGN OF TERROR
Popularly known as ‘The Terror,’ this was an era of violence that
started on September 5, 1793 and ended only on July 28, 1794 during
the French Revolution. The conflict between the Girondins and the
Jacobins had resulted in mass executions including the death of 16, 594
people under the guillotine. This is also the first time that the word
“terrorist” was used by Edmund Burke in 1795.
Orsini was an Italian revolutionary leader of the “Carbonari” who
attempted to assassinate the French Emperor Napoleon III on January
14th, 1858 while he and the Empress Eugénie de Montijo were on their
way to the theatre by throwing three bombs at the royal carriage.
The incident resulted in the death of 8 bystanders while injuring
142 more. He was also a conspirator involved in dethroning the
pope and attempted to assassinate Napoleon III believing that he was
a major impediment to Italian independence. Interestingly enough
his terrorist acts inspired the first Russian terrorist groups.
WALL STREET BOMBING
A terrorist attack that was centred in the Financial District of New York,
this happened on September 16, 1920 and killed 38 people while injuring
400 more resulting in $2 million in damages. The attack involved a
horse-drawn wagon containing 45 kg of dynamite with 230 kg of slugs
detonating and instantly killing the brokers, clerks, messengers and
stenographers working in the area and destroying the interior of the
JP Morgan building. The crime was never solved though it was believed
that the group behind it was the Italian anarchists, Galleanists who were
responsible for a series of bombings that year. It was also tied to labour
struggles, post war social unrest and anti-capitalist aggression.
ST. NEDELYA CHURCH ASSAULT
The assault happened on April 16, 1925 when a group of the Bulgarian
Communist Party (BCP) blew up the dome of the St. Nedelya Church
during the wake of General Konstantin Georgiev, who was
assassinated just two days prior by the same group while heading for
an evening mass at the Sofia church. It killed 150 people, a majority
of them prominent government and military officials, with 500
people wounded. The attack was carried out by the Military Organization
(MO) of the BCP who were tasked to carry out isolated attacks with 25 kg
of explosives mounted in a package above one the columns of the main
dome at the south entrance of the church set to detonate with a
15-m long cable to allow the attackers a chance to escape.
KING DAVID HOTEL BOMBING
On July 22, 1946, the rebellious right-wing Zionist group, Irgun, carried
out an offensive against the British by bombing the British Administrative
Headquarters for Palestine, which was housed at the King David Hotel.
This terrorist campaign concluded with the death of 91 people from
various nationalities and injured 46 others. This is considered the
deadliest terrorist attack to occur during the British Mandate era from
1920 to 1948.
THE CINEMA REX FIRE
The arson, which happened in a cinema in Abadan, Iran on August
19th 1978 cost the lives of 470 individuals, most of them unidentified
due to the extent of the burns. When an Iranian newspaper reported
that it was started by radical Islamists, it was shut down by the Islamic
government, however, it was later found out that anti-Shah militants
were behind the fire.
THE GRAND MOSQUE SEIZURE
This terrorist act, which occurred from November 20, 1979 to
December 5th 1979, was a takeover by the Islamists dissidents of
Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. The insurgents’ leader, Mohammed
Abdullah al-Qahtani, declared that he is the “Mahdi” or “redeemer”
of Islam and all the Muslims should obey him. Hundreds of pilgrims
who were present for the annual “hajj” were taken as hostages and
a number of them were killed along with the rebels in the crossfire that
ensued for the control of the site. The siege ended with the death of
255 pilgrims and militants with 500 injured.
BEIRUT BARRACKS BOMBING
One of the major acts of terrorism in the 1980s, the event happened on
October 23rd 1983 at the height of the Lebanese Civil War, when
two truck bombs exploded near the housing of US and French military
forces. The attack against the multinational forces in Lebanon was
claimed by the organization Islamic Jihad, the nom de guere for
Hezbollah who was receiving help from the Islam Republic of Iran.
The explosives, which were equivalent to 5400 kg of TNT, resulted in the
deadliest single-day death toll for the US Marine Corps with casualties
that included 241 servicemen.