The world mourns for the victims who died in the Paris Attacks this month. Global leaders have joined together pledging to put an end to the Islamic State. The blasts and shootings killed 129 people and more than 200 wounded. Since the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush vowed that the United States will lead the world to fight against terror. Global leaders have boosted national security to combat extremism. Terror strikes have left many dead and have changed the lives of people, let’s review some of the worst attacks that have happened in the 21st century.
September 11 2001, United States
On Tuesday morning, 19 militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda hi-jacked four planes to carry out a suicide mission. Two planes struck the World Trade Centre; one hit the Pentagon while the last one collided into a field in Pennsylvania. The attacks left close to 3,000 dead and it prompted the US to declare War on Terror. Washington sent troops to invade Afghanistan and Iraq whom they believed to be sponsoring terrorist activities.
31 July 2002, Hebrew University bombing, Israel
Hamas led a terror attack in a cafeteria at the Mount Scopus campus of the University. The bombings left 9 people dead and around 100 casualties. People in Gaza held celebrations which were condemned by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Bali bombings, 12 October 2002, Indonesia
The attacks happened in the popular tourist destination, Bali. The blasts killed 202 (88 Australians, 38 Indonesians and 20 other nationals) people and injured 204 and the extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah was found to be responsible. Three of the perpetrators were given a death sentence, and it is believed the attacks were under the orders of Osama Bin Laden who wanted to punish Australia for their involvement in East Timor’s independence.
Moscow Theatre Hostage Crisis, 23 October 2002, Russia
Forty armed Chechen separatists took 850 hostages inside the Moscow Theatre and demanded the Russian government to withdraw forces from Chechnya to end the Second Chechen War. The siege lasted nearly three days, with 130 hostages dead along with all the captors.
25 August 2003, Mumbai Bombings, India
The fatal twin car bombings left 54 dead and 244 wounded. The blast occurred outside of the Taj Mahal Hotel. There is no solid evidence to point out who was responsible, but the Pakistan-based radicals, Lashkar-e-Toiba, were blamed. The accused, husband and wife Haneef and Fahmeeda Sayyed and Ashrat Ansari, were apprehended on 31 August and sentenced to death in February 2004.
15 November 2003, Istanbul bombings, Turkey
Two trucks loaded with bombs slammed into the Neve Shalom and Bet Israel synagogues. The first bombings killed 23 people and injured 300. A second explosion occurred at the headquarters of HSBC Bank AS and the British Consulate, leaving 30 dead and wounding 400. Al-Qaeda was found to be responsible for the attacks and Turkish authorities believed Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the bombings.
6 February 2004, Moscow Metro Bombings
In the morning of 08:40 MSK, a male suicide bomber killed 41 people at Avtozavodskaya station. Russian President Vladmir Putin pointed the finger at Chechen separatists but they denied the allegations.
27 February 2004, SuperFerry 14 Bombing, The Philippines
The fatal blasts resulted in the deaths of 116 passengers. A television set containing a hidden bomb was smuggled on board and placed in the lower decks. Authorities arrested members of the Abu Sayyaf group, who carried out the strikes. Abu Sayyaf is an insurgent group that operate in the Basilan and Jolo islands in the Philippines.
11 March 2004, Madrid Train Bombings, Spain
The backpack bombings, allegedly orchestrated by Al-Qaeda, killed 191 people and over 2,000 injured. The attack happened three days before the country’s general elections and it is named as one the worst terrorist attacks of Europe. Three days after the attack, Abu Dujana al-Afghani, the spokesman for Al-Qaeda in Europe, appeared in a video to claim responsibility for the bombings.
7 July 2005 London Bombings, United Kingdom
Four terrorists coordinated four multiple bombings in Central London during peak hour. The blasts killed 56 (including the culprits) and around 700 wounded. The fatal attacks were the worst since the Lockerbie Bombings in 1988. Three of the perpetrators were Pakistani immigrants while one was a Muslim-convert originally from Jamaica. They were unknown to authorities until after the tragedy and their motives are still unclear.
23 July 2005, Sharm el-Sheikh Attacks, Egypt
The deadly strikes happened on the country’s Revolution Day, and left at least 64 dead and over 200 wounded. The Islamist group, Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed they coordinated the blasts on a website. However, Egyptian authorities believed the assailants were the same ones responsible for the Sinai Bombings in 2004.
11 July 2006, Mumbai Train Bombings
Seven bombs exploded in the Suburban Railway that killed 209 people with over 700 injured. Indian authorities issued high security alert across major cities and several railway networks were closed down. Within 36 hours, around 350 were arrested. The Students Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) were the prime suspects. On October 2006, seven men who were thought to be involved in the bombings withdrew their confessions one week after the authorities announced they had found the culprits.
14 August 2007, Yazidi Communities Bombings, Iraq
The horrendous bombings were a series of four coordinated suicide bombings that exploded in the Yazidi towns of Kahtaniya and Jazeera. The death toll is recorded to be over 500, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent. Before the bombings, there were mounting tensions between the Yazidi community, a religious minority, and the Sunni Muslims. It is alleged that Al-Qaeda was behind the blasts.
20 September 2008, Islamabad Mariott Hotel Bombings, Pakistan
The detonations took place during the night when a truck carrying 600kg of explosives set off in front of the hotel which killed at least 54 people and at least 266 hurt. The hotel is an important landmark as it is close to embassies and government buildings. Four suspects: Mohammed Aqeel, Tahseen Ullah, Muhammad Hamid Afzal and Rana IIyas, were apprehended on October but on 5 May 2010, they were cleared of their charges since there was no evidence against them.
10 May 2010 Iraq Attacks
The fatal strikes were a chain of bombing and shootings that occurred across Iraqi cities where 100 people died. The attacks happened after the controversial Iraqi elections. Al-Qaeda was implicated with the violence as the Iraqi government claimed: “Al-Qaeda is trying to…use some gaps created by some political problems.”
18 July 2011, Hotan Attack, China
Eighteen Uighan separatists retaliated against the Chinese government’s controversial plans to ban the Muslim religious garment in Xinjiang autonomous region in Northwest China. Their attacks killed 18 people, and another spate of violence took place on 30 and 31 July in Kashgar where a total of 23 died, including the assailants. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement claimed responsibility.
4 October 2011, Mogadishu Bombing, Somalia
A member of the terrorist network, Al-Shabaab, drove a truck into the Transitional Federal Government’s gate which caused 100 deaths. The war-torn country is locked in a civil war since 2009; the conflict is between the insurgent group Al-Shabaab and the Somalian government.
5 January 2012, 23 February 2012 and 9 September 2012, Iraq
The Islamic State launched a sequence of bombings and shootings in the capital city of Baghdad. The January attacks killed at least 72 while the February bombings left at least 55 dead. The war-torn country suffered another wave of bloodshed in September which led to 108 deaths.
21 September 2013, Westgate Shopping Mall Attack, Nairobi, Kenya
Four Al-Shabaab members launched a chain of bombings and shootings in the Westgate Shopping Mall which killed 67 people (including the gunmen). Described as one of the worst attacks in Kenya, the atrocity happened is possibly due to the Kenyan government’s support of the Somalian government.
14 February 2014, The Borno Massacre, Nigeria
Nigeria’s extremist group, Boko Haram, entered into a village in the Borno State and slaughtered over 120 people. A majority of the victims were Christians whom they see as infidels. Boko Haram’s aim is to impose Sharia Law across the country. The bloodbath was followed shortly by the Nyanya Bombing, where two bombs exploded in a bus station which killed more than 70.
The country suffered another lethal attack on 20 May; the Jos Bombings killed at least 118 dead. Boko Haram was suspected to be the mastermind.
August 2014, ISIL’s massacre of the Al-Shaitat Tribe, Syria
ISIL’s brutal and ruthless extermination on this Sunni tribe, situated in the Deir ez-Zor Governate (eastern Syria), occurred over a period of three days. Al-Shaitat’s revolt against ISIL resulted in 700 deaths.
16 December 2014, Peshawar School Massacre, Pakistan
Seven gunmen with strong affiliations with the Tehrik-i-Taliban opened fire on the school, murdering 141 people, 132 were school children.
8 January 2015, Baga Massacre, Nigeria
Boko Haram launched an offensive against the town of Baga in the state of Borno. The raids started on 3 January when the extremists stormed into the Multinational Joint Task Force headquarters and pushed thousands of locals out of their villages. The number of mortalities is still unconfirmed; it is estimated to be from dozens to 2000.
20 March 2015, Sana’a Mosque Bombings, Yemen
The Islamic State of Iraq launched four suicide attacks which targeted Houthi Shi’a Muslims. The explosion killed 142 people.
10 October 2015, Ankara Bombings, Turkey
Two bombs exploded outside the capital city’s Central railway station, killing 102 people. Turkish authorities arrested 13 suspects, and on 19 October the alleged offender, Yunus Emre Alagoz, was captured. He is also suspected of being involved in ISIL’s attack on the Suruc district in July 2015.