08 November 2001
Text: State Department Chronology on Terrorist Incidents 1961-2001
(Details significant terrorist incidents over past 40 years) (5680)
(This State Department-produced chronology, based entirely on public
sources, was prepared for background information and reference
purposes. It is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive account
of all terrorist incidents during these years, and it is not an
official expression of U.S. policy.)
Following is the State Department text of the chronology:
U.S. Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
October 31, 2001
Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2001: A Chronology
1961-1982 First U.S. Aircraft Hijacked, May 1, 1961: Puerto Rican born
Antuilo Ramierez Ortiz forced at gunpoint a National Airlines plane to
fly to Havana, Cuba, where he was given asylum.
Ambassador to Guatemala Assassinated, August 28, 1968: U.S. Ambassador
to Guatemala John Gordon Mein was murdered by a rebel faction when
gunmen forced his official car off the road in Guatemala City and
raked the vehicle with gunfire.
Ambassador to Japan Attacked, July 30, 1969: U.S. Ambassador to Japan
A.H. Meyer was attacked by a knife-wielding Japanese citizen.
Ambassador to Brazil Kidnapped, September 3, 1969: U.S. Ambassador to
Brazil Charles Burke Elbrick was kidnapped by the Marxist
revolutionary group MR-8.
U.S. Agency for International Development Adviser Kidnapped, July 31,
1970: In Montevideo, Uruguay, the Tupamaros terrorist group kidnapped
USAID Police adviser Dan Mitrione; his body was found on August 10.
"Bloody Friday," July 21, 1972: An Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb
attacks killed 11 people and injured 130 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Ten days later, three IRA car bomb attacks in the village of Claudy
left six dead.
Munich Olympic Massacre, September 5, 1972: Eight Palestinian "Black
September" terrorists seized 11 Israeli athletes in the Olympic
Village in Munich, West Germany. In a bungled rescue attempt by West
German authorities, nine of the hostages and five terrorists were
Ambassador to Sudan Assassinated, March 2, 1973: U.S. Ambassador to
Sudan Cleo A. Noel and other diplomats were assassinated at the Saudi
Arabian Embassy in Khartoum by members of the Black September
Consul General in Mexico Kidnapped, May 4, 1973: U.S. Consul General
in Guadalajara Terrence Leonhardy was kidnapped by members of the
People's Revolutionary Armed Forces.
Domestic Terrorism, January 27-29, 1975: Puerto Rican nationalists
bombed a Wall Street bar, killing four and injuring 60; 2 days later,
the Weather Underground claims responsibility for an explosion in a
bathroom at the U.S. Department of State in Washington.
Entebbe Hostage Crisis, June 27, 1976: Members of the Baader-Meinhof
Group and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
seized an Air France airliner and its 258 passengers. They forced the
plane to land in Uganda, where on July 3 Israeli commandos
successfully rescued the passengers.
Assassination of Former Chilean Diplomat, September 21, 1976: In
Washington, exiled Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier was
killed by a car bomb.
Kidnapping of Italian Prime Minister, March 16, 1978: Premier Aldo
Moro was seized by the Red Brigade and assassinated 55 days later.
Iran Hostage Crisis, November 4, 1979: After President Carter agreed
to admit the Shah of Iran into the U.S., Iranian radicals seized the
U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 66 American diplomats hostage.
Thirteen hostages were soon released, but the remaining 53 were held
until their release on January 20, 1981.
Grand Mosque Seizure, November 20, 1979: 200 Islamic terrorists seized
the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, taking hundreds of pilgrims
hostage. Saudi and French security forces retook the shrine after an
intense battle in which some 250 people were killed and 600 wounded.
U.S. Installation Bombing, August 31, 1981: The Red Army exploded a
bomb at the U.S. Air Force Base at Ramstein, West Germany.
Assassination of Egyptian President, October 6, 1981: Soldiers who
were secretly members of the Takfir Wal-Hajira sect attacked and
killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during a troop review.
Murder of Missionaries, December 4, 1981: Three American nuns and one
lay missionary were found murdered outside San Salvador, El Salvador.
They were believed to have been assassinated by a right-wing death
Assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister, September 14, 1982: Premier
Bashir Gemayel was assassinated by a car bomb parked outside his
party's Beirut headquarters.
Colombian Hostage-taking, April 8, 1983: A U.S. citizen was seized by
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and held for ransom.
Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Beirut, April 18, 1983: Sixty-three people,
including the CIA's Middle East director, were killed, and 120 were
injured in a 400-pound suicide truck-bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy
in Beirut, Lebanon. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Naval Officer Assassinated in El Salvador, May 25, 1983: A U.S. Navy
officer was assassinated by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation
North Korean Hit Squad, October 9, 1983: North Korean agents blew up a
delegation from South Korea in Rangoon, Burma, killing 21 persons and
Bombing of Marine Barracks, Beirut, October 23, 1983: Simultaneous
suicide truck-bomb attacks were made on American and French compounds
in Beirut, Lebanon. A 12,000-pound bomb destroyed the U.S. compound,
killing 242 Americans, while 58 French troops were killed when a
400-pound device destroyed a French base. Islamic Jihad claimed
Naval Officer Assassinated in Greece, November 15, 1983: A U.S. Navy
officer was shot by the November 17 terrorist group in Athens, Greece,
while his car was stopped at a traffic light.
Kidnapping of Embassy Official, March 16, 1984: The Islamic Jihad
kidnapped and later murdered Political Officer William Buckley in
Beirut, Lebanon. Other U.S. citizens not connected to the U.S.
Government were seized over a succeeding 2-year period.
Hizballah Restaurant Bombing, April 12, 1984: Eighteen U.S. servicemen
were killed, and 83 people were injured in a bomb attack on a
restaurant near a U.S. Air Force Base in Torrejon, Spain.
Responsibility was claimed by Hizballah.
Golden Temple Seizure, June 5, 1984: Sikh terrorists seized the Golden
Temple in Amritsar, India. One hundred people died when Indian
security forces retook the Sikh holy shrine.
Assassination of Prime Minister Gandhi, October 31, 1984: The Indian
premier was shot to death by members of her security force.
Kidnapping of U.S. Officials in Mexico, February 7, 1985: Under the
orders of narcotrafficker Rafael Cero Quintero, Drug Enforcement
Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar and his pilot were
kidnapped, tortured, and executed.
TWA Hijacking, June 14, 1985: A Trans-World Airlines flight was
hijacked en route to Rome from Athens by two Lebanese Hizballah
terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut. The eight crew members and 145
passengers were held for 17 days, during which one American hostage, a
U.S. Navy sailor, was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers,
the aircraft was returned to Beirut after Israel released 435 Lebanese
and Palestinian prisoners.
Air India Bombing, June 23, 1985: A bomb destroyed an Air India Boeing
747 over the Atlantic, killing all 329 people aboard. Both Sikh and
Kashmiri terrorists were blamed for the attack. Two cargo handlers
were killed at Tokyo airport, Japan, when another Sikh bomb exploded
in an Air Canada aircraft enroute to India.
Soviet Diplomats Kidnapped, September 30, 1985: In Beirut, Lebanon,
Sunni terrorists kidnapped four Soviet diplomats. One was killed, but
three were later released.
Achille Lauro Hijacking, October 7, 1985: Four Palestinian Liberation
Front terrorists seized the Italian cruise liner in the eastern
Mediterranean Sea, taking more than 700 hostages. One U.S. passenger
was murdered before the Egyptian Government offered the terrorists
safe haven in return for the hostages' freedom.
Egyptian Airliner Hijacking, November 23, 1985: An EgyptAir airplane
bound from Athens to Malta and carrying several U.S. citizens was
hijacked by the Abu Nidal Group.
Aircraft Bombing in Greece, March 30, 1986: A Palestinian splinter
group detonated a bomb as TWA Flight 840 approached Athens Airport,
killing four U.S. citizens.
Berlin Discoteque Bombing, April 5, 1986: Two U.S. soldiers were
killed, and 79 American servicemen were injured in a Libyan bomb
attack on a nightclub in West Berlin, West Germany. In retaliation,
U.S. military jets bombed targets in and around Tripoli and Benghazi.
Kimpo Airport Bombing, September 14, 1986: North Korean agents
detonated an explosive device at Seoul's Kimpo Airport, killing five
persons and injuring 29 others.
Bus Attack, April 24, 1987: Sixteen U.S. servicemen riding in a Greek
Air Force bus near Athens were injured in an apparent bombing attack,
carried out by the revolutionary organization known as 17 November.
Downing of Airliner, November 29, 1987: North Korean agents planted a
bomb aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 858, which subsequently crashed
into the Indian Ocean.
Servicemen's Bar Attack, December 26, 1987: Catalan separatists bombed
a Barcelona bar frequented by U.S. servicemen, resulting in the death
of one U.S. citizen.
Kidnapping of William Higgins, February 17, 1988: U.S. Marine Corps
Lt. Col. W. Higgins was kidnapped and murdered by the Iranian-backed
Hizballah group while serving with the United Nations Truce
Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) in southern Lebanon.
Naples USO Attack, April 14, 1988: The Organization of Jihad Brigades
exploded a car bomb outside a USO Club in Naples, Italy, killing one
Attack on U.S. Diplomat in Greece, June 28, 1988: The Defense Attache
of the U.S. Embassy in Greece was killed when a car bomb was detonated
outside his home in Athens.
Pan Am 103 Bombing, December 21, 1988: Pan American Airlines Flight
103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, by a bomb believed to have
been placed on the aircraft in Frankfurt, West Germany, by Libyan
terrorists. All 259 people on board were killed.
Assassination of U.S. Army Officer, April 21, 1989: The New People's
Army (NPA) assassinated Col. James Rowe in Manila. The NPA also
assassinated two U.S. government defense contractors in September.
Assassination of German Bank Chairman, November 30, 1989: The Red Army
assassinated Deutsche Bank Chairman Alfred Herrhausen in Frankfurt.
U.S. Embassy Bombed in Peru, January 15, 1990: The Tupac Amaru
Revolutionary Movement bombed the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru.
U.S. Soldiers Assassinated in the Philippines, May 13, 1990: The New
People's Army (NPA) killed two U.S. Air Force personnel near Clark Air
Force Base in the Philippines.
Attempted Iraqi Attacks on U.S. Posts, January 18-19, 1991: Iraqi
agents planted bombs at the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia's home
residence and at the USIS library in Manila.
Kidnapping of U.S. Businessmen in the Philippines, January 17-21,
1992: A senior official of the corporation Philippine Geothermal was
kidnapped in Manila by the Red Scorpion Group, and two U.S.
businessmen were seized independently by the National Liberation Army
and by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, March 17, 1992: Hizballah
claimed responsibility for a blast that leveled the Israeli Embassy in
Buenos Aires, Argentina, causing the deaths of 29 and wounding 242.
Kidnappings of U.S. Citizens in Colombia, January 31, 1993:
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terrorists kidnapped
three U.S. missionaries.
World Trade Center Bombing, February 26, 1993: The World Trade Center
in New York City was badly damaged when a car bomb planted by Islamic
terrorists explodes in an underground garage. The bomb left six people
dead and 1,000 injured. The men carrying out the attack were followers
of Umar Abd al-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric who preached in the New York
Attempted Assassination of President Bush by Iraqi Agents, April 14,
1993: The Iraqi intelligence service attempted to assassinate former
U.S. President George Bush during a visit to Kuwait. In retaliation,
the U.S. launched a cruise missile attack 2 months later on the Iraqi
Hebron Massacre, February 25, 1994: Jewish right-wing extremist and
U.S. citizen Baruch Goldstein machine-gunned Moslem worshippers at a
mosque in West Bank town of Hebron, killing 29 and wounding about 150.
FARC Hostage-taking, September 23, 1994: FARC rebels kidnapped U.S.
citizen Thomas Hargrove in Colombia.
Air France Hijacking, December 24, 1994: Members of the Armed Islamic
Group seized an Air France Flight to Algeria. The four terrorists were
killed during a rescue effort.
Attack on U.S. Diplomats in Pakistan, March 8, 1995: Two unidentified
gunmen killed two U.S. diplomats and wounded a third in Karachi,
Tokyo Subway Station Attack, March 20, 1995: Twelve persons were
killed, and 5,700 were injured in a Sarin nerve gas attack on a
crowded subway station in the center of Tokyo, Japan. A similar attack
occurred nearly simultaneously in the Yokohama subway system. The Aum
Shinri-kyu cult was blamed for the attacks.
Bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995:
Right-wing extremists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols destroyed the
Federal Building in Oklahoma City with a massive truck bomb that
killed 166 and injured hundreds more in what was up to then the
largest terrorist attack on American soil.
Kashmiri Hostage-taking, July 4, 1995: In India, six foreigners,
including two U.S. citizens, were taken hostage by Al-Faran, a
Kashmiri separatist group. One non-U.S. hostage was later found
Jerusalem Bus Attack, August 21, 1995: Hamas claimed responsibility
for the detonation of a bomb that killed six and injured over 100
persons, including several U.S. citizens.
Attack on U.S. Embassy in Moscow, September 13, 1995: A
rocket-propelled grenade was fired through the window of the U.S.
Embassy in Moscow, ostensibly in retaliation for U.S. strikes on Serb
positions in Bosnia.
Saudi Military Installation Attack, November 13, 1995: The Islamic
Movement of Change planted a bomb in a Riyadh military compound that
killed one U.S. citizen, several foreign national employees of the
U.S. Government, and more than 40 others.
Egyptian Embassy Attack, November 19, 1995: A suicide bomber drove a
vehicle into the Egyptian Embassy compound in Islamabad, Pakistan,
killing at least 16 and injuring 60 persons. Three militant Islamic
groups claimed responsibility.
Papuan Hostage Abduction, January 8, 1996: In Indonesia, 200 Free
Papua Movement (OPM) guerrillas abducted 26 individuals in the Lorenta
nature preserve, Irian Jaya Province. Indonesian Special Forces
members rescued the remaining nine hostages on May 15.
Kidnapping in Colombia, January 19, 1996: Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas kidnapped a U.S. citizen and demanded a
$1 million ransom. The hostage was released on May 22.
Tamil Tigers Attack, January 31, 1996: Members of the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rammed an explosives-laden truck into the
Central Bank in the heart of downtown Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing 90
civilians and injuring more than 1,400 others, including two U.S.
IRA Bombing, February 9, 1996: An Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb
detonated in London, killing two persons and wounding more than 100
others, including two U.S. citizens.
Athens Embassy Attack, February 15, 1996: Unidentified assailants
fired a rocket at the U.S. embassy compound in Athens, causing minor
damage to three diplomatic vehicles and some surrounding buildings.
Circumstances of the attack suggested it was an operation carried out
by the 17 November group.
ELN Kidnapping, February 16, 1996: Six alleged National Liberation
Army (ELN) guerrillas kidnapped a U.S. citizen in Colombia. After 9
months, the hostage was released.
Hamas Bus Attack, February 26, 1996: In Jerusalem, a suicide bomber
blew up a bus, killing 26 persons, including three U.S. citizens, and
injuring some 80 persons, including three other US citizens.
Dizengoff Center Bombing, March 4, 1996: Hamas and the Palestine
Islamic Jihad (PIJ) both claimed responsibility for a bombing outside
of Tel Aviv's largest shopping mall that killed 20 persons and injured
75 others, including two U.S. citizens.
West Bank Attack, May 13, 1996: Arab gunmen opened fire on a bus and a
group of Yeshiva students near the Bet El settlement, killing a dual
U.S.-Israeli citizen and wounding three Israelis. No one claimed
responsibility for the attack, but Hamas was suspected.
USAID Worker Abduction, May 31, 1996: A gang of former Contra
guerrillas kidnapped a U.S. employee of the Agency for International
Development (USAID) who was assisting with election preparations in
rural northern Nicaragua. She was released unharmed the next day after
members of the international commission overseeing the preparations
Zekharya Attack, June 9, 1996: Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a
car near Zekharya, killing a dual U.S./Israeli citizen and an Israeli.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is suspected.
Manchester Truck Bombing, June 15, 1996: An IRA truck bomb detonated
at a Manchester shopping center, wounding 206 persons, including two
German tourists, and caused extensive property damage.
Khobar Towers Bombing, June 25, 1996: A fuel truck carrying a bomb
exploded outside the U.S. military's Khobar Towers housing facility in
Dhahran, killing 19 U.S. military personnel and wounding 515 persons,
including 240 U.S. personnel. Several groups claimed responsibility
for the attack.
ETA Bombing, July 20, 1996: A bomb exploded at Tarragona International
Airport in Reus, Spain, wounding 35 persons, including British and
Irish tourists. The Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) organization
Bombing of Archbishop of Oran, August 1, 1996: A bomb exploded at the
home of the French Archbishop of Oran, killing him and his chauffeur.
The attack occurred after the Archbishop's meeting with the French
Foreign Minister. The Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) is suspected.
Sudanese Rebel Kidnapping, August 17, 1996: Sudan People's Liberation
Army (SPLA) rebels kidnapped six missionaries in Mapourdit, including
a U.S. citizen, an Italian, three Australians, and a Sudanese. The
SPLA released the hostages 11 days later.
PUK Kidnapping, September 13, 1996: In Iraq, Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) militants kidnapped four French workers for
Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres, a Canadian United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official, and two Iraqis.
Assassination of South Korean Consul, October 1, 1996: In Vladivostok,
Russia, assailants attacked and killed a South Korean consul near his
home. No one claimed responsibility, but South Korean authorities
believed that the attack was carried out by professionals and that the
assailants were North Koreans. North Korean officials denied the
country's involvement in the attack.
Red Cross Worker Kidnappings, November 1, 1996: In Sudan, a breakaway
group from the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) kidnapped
three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers,
including a U.S. citizen, an Australian, and a Kenyan. On December 9,
the rebels released the hostages in exchange for ICRC supplies and a
health survey for their camp.
Paris Subway Explosion, December 3, 1996: A bomb exploded aboard a
Paris subway train as it arrived at the Port Royal station, killing
two French nationals, a Moroccan, and a Canadian, and injuring 86
persons. Among those injured were one U.S. citizen and a Canadian. No
one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Algerian extremists are
Abduction of US. Citizen by FARC, December 11, 1996: Five armed men
claiming to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC) kidnapped and later killed a U.S. geologist at a methane gas
exploration site in La Guajira Department.
Tupac Amaru Seizure of Diplomats, December 17, 1996: Twenty-three
members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took several
hundred people hostage at a party given at the Japanese Ambassador's
residence in Lima, Peru. Among the hostages were several U.S.
officials, foreign ambassadors and other diplomats, Peruvian
Government officials, and Japanese businessmen. The group demanded the
release of all MRTA members in prison and safe passage for them and
the hostage takers. The terrorists released most of the hostages in
December but held 81 Peruvians and Japanese citizens for several
Egyptian Letter Bombs, January 2-13, 1997: A series of letter bombs
with Alexandria, Egypt, postmarks were discovered at Al-Hayat
newspaper bureaus in Washington, New York City, London, and Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia. Three similar devices, also postmarked in Egypt, were
found at a prison facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. Bomb disposal
experts defused all the devices, but one detonated at the Al-Hayat
office in London, injuring two security guards and causing minor
Tajik Hostage Abductions, February 4-17, 1997: Near Komsomolabad,
Tajikistan, a paramilitary group led by Bakhrom Sodirov abducted four
United Nations military observers. The victims included two Swiss, one
Austrian, one Ukrainian, and their Tajik interpreter. The kidnappers
demanded safe passage for their supporters from Afghanistan to
Tajikistan. In four separate incidents occurring between Dushanbe and
Garm, Bakhrom Sodirov and his group kidnapped two International
Committee for the Red Cross members, four Russian journalists and
their Tajik driver, four UNHCR members, and the Tajik Security
Minister, Saidamir Zukhurov.
Venezuelan Abduction, February 14, 1997: Six armed Colombian
guerrillas kidnapped a U.S. oil engineer and his Venezuelan pilot in
Apure, Venezuela. The kidnappers released the Venezuelan pilot on
February 22. According to authorities, the FARC is responsible for the
Empire State Building Sniper Attack, February 23, 1997: A Palestinian
gunman opened fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire
State Building in New York City, killing a Danish national and
wounding visitors from the United States, Argentina, Switzerland, and
France before turning the gun on himself. A handwritten note carried
by the gunman claimed this was a punishment attack against the
"enemies of Palestine."
ELN Kidnapping, February 24, 1997: National Liberation Army (ELN)
guerrillas kidnapped a U.S. citizen employed by a Las Vegas gold
corporation who was scouting a gold mining operation in Colombia. The
ELN demanded a ransom of $2.5 million.
FARC Kidnapping, March 7, 1997: FARC guerrillas kidnapped a U.S.
mining employee and his Colombian colleague who were searching for
gold in Colombia. On November 16, the rebels released the two hostages
after receiving a $50,000 ransom.
Hotel Nacional Bombing, July 12, 1997: A bomb exploded at the Hotel
Nacional in Havana, injuring three persons and causing minor damage. A
previously unknown group calling itself the Military Liberation Union
Israeli Shopping Mall Bombing, September 4, 1997: Three suicide
bombers of Hamas detonated bombs in the Ben Yehuda shopping mall in
Jerusalem, killing eight persons, including the bombers, and wounding
nearly 200 others. A dual U.S./Israeli citizen was among the dead, and
seven U.S. citizens were wounded.
OAS Abductions, October 23, 1997: In Colombia, ELN rebels kidnapped
two foreign members of the Organization of American States (OAS) and a
Colombian human rights official at a roadblock. The ELN claimed that
the kidnapping was intended "to show the international community that
the elections in Colombia are a farce."
Yemeni Kidnappings, October 30, 1997: Al-Sha'if tribesmen kidnapped a
U.S. businessman near Sanaa. The tribesmen sought the release of two
fellow tribesmen who were arrested on smuggling charges and several
public works projects they claim the government promised them. They
released the hostage on November 27.
Murder of U.S. Businessmen in Pakistan, November 12, 1997: Two
unidentified gunmen shot to death four U.S. auditors from Union Texas
Petroleum Corporation and their Pakistani driver after they drove away
from the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. The Islami Inqilabi Council, or
Islamic Revolutionary Council, claimed responsibility in a call to the
U.S. Consulate in Karachi. In a letter to Pakistani newspapers, the
Aimal Khufia Action Committee also claimed responsibility.
Tourist Killings in Egypt, November 17, 1997: Al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya
(IG) gunmen shot and killed 58 tourists and four Egyptians and wounded
26 others at the Hatshepsut Temple in the Valley of the Kings near
Luxor. Thirty-four Swiss, eight Japanese, five Germans, four Britons,
one French, one Colombian, a dual Bulgarian/British citizen, and four
unidentified persons were among the dead. Twelve Swiss, two Japanese,
two Germans, one French, and nine Egyptians were among the wounded.
UN Observer Abductions, February 19, 1998: Armed supporters of late
Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia abducted four UN military
observers from Sweden, Uruguay, and the Czech Republic.
FARC Abduction, March 21-23, 1998: FARC rebels kidnapped a U.S.
citizen in Sabaneta, Colombia. FARC members also killed three persons,
wounded 14, and kidnapped at least 27 others at a roadblock near
Bogota. Four U.S. citizens and one Italian were among those kidnapped,
as well as the acting president of the National Electoral Council
(CNE) and his wife.
Somali Hostage-takings, April 15, 1998: Somali militiamen abducted
nine Red Cross and Red Crescent workers at an airstrip north of
Mogadishu. The hostages included a U.S. citizen, a German, a Belgian,
a French, a Norwegian, two Swiss, and one Somali. The gunmen were
members of a subclan loyal to Ali Mahdi Mohammed, who controlled the
northern section of the capital.
IRA Bombing, Banbridge, August 1, 1998: A 500-pound car bomb planted
by the Real IRA exploded outside a shoe store in Banbridge, North
Ireland, injuring 35 persons and damaging at least 200 homes.
U.S. Embassy Bombings in East Africa, August 7, 1998: A bomb exploded
at the rear entrance of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 12
U.S. citizens, 32 Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs), and 247 Kenyan
citizens. About 5,000 Kenyans, six U.S. citizens, and 13 FSNs were
injured. The U.S. embassy building sustained extensive structural
damage. Almost simultaneously, a bomb detonated outside the U.S.
embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing seven FSNs and three
Tanzanian citizens, and injuring one U.S. citizen and 76 Tanzanians.
The explosion caused major structural damage to the U.S. embassy
facility. The U.S. Government held Usama Bin Ladin responsible.
IRA Bombing, Omagh, August 15, 1998: A 500-pound car bomb planted by
the Real IRA exploded outside a local courthouse in the central
shopping district of Omagh, Northern Ireland, killing 29 persons and
injuring over 330.
Colombian Pipeline Bombing, October 18, 1998: A National Liberation
Army (ELN) planted bomb exploded on the Ocensa pipeline in Antioquia
Department, killing approximately 71 persons and injuring at least 100
others. The pipeline is jointly owned by the Colombia State Oil
Company Ecopetrol and a consortium, including U.S., French, British,
and Canadian companies.
Armed Kidnapping in Colombia, November 15, 1998: Armed assailants
followed a U.S. businessman and his family home in Cundinamarca
Department and kidnapped his 11-year-old son after stealing money,
jewelry, one automobile, and two cell phones. The kidnappers demanded
$1 million in ransom. On January 21, 1999, the kidnappers released the
Angolan Aircraft Downing, January 2, 1999: A UN plane carrying one
U.S. citizen, four Angolans, two Philippine nationals, and one
Namibian was shot down, according to a UN official. No deaths or
injuries were reported. Angolan authorities blamed the attack on
National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels.
UNITA officials denied shooting down the plane.
Ugandan Rebel Attack, February 14, 1999: A pipe bomb exploded inside a
bar, killing five persons and injuring 35 others. One Ethiopian and
four Ugandan nationals died in the blast, and one U.S. citizen working
for USAID, two Swiss nationals, one Pakistani, one Ethiopian, and 27
Ugandans were injured. Ugandan authorities blamed the attack on the
Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Greek Embassy Seizure, February 16, 1999: Kurdish protesters stormed
and occupied the Greek Embassy in Vienna, taking the Greek Ambassador
and six other persons hostage. Several hours later the protesters
released the hostages and left the embassy. The attack followed the
Turkish Government's announcement of the successful capture of the
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. Kurds also
occupied Kenyan, Israeli, and other Greek diplomatic facilities in
France, Holland, Switzerland, Britain, and Germany over the following
FARC Kidnappings, February 25, 1999: FARC kidnapped three U.S.
citizens working for the Hawaii-based Pacific Cultural Conservancy
International. On March 4, the bodies of the three victims were found
Hutu Abductions, March 1, 1999: 150 armed Hutu rebels attacked three
tourist camps in Uganda, killed four Ugandans, and abducted three U.S.
citizens, six Britons, three New Zealanders, two Danish citizens, one
Australian, and one Canadian national. Two of the U.S. citizens and
six of the other hostages were subsequently killed by their abductors.
ELN Hostage-taking, March 23, 1999: Armed guerrillas kidnapped a U.S.
citizen in Boyaca, Colombia. The National Liberation Army (ELN)
claimed responsibility and demanded $400,000 ransom. On July 20, ELN
rebels released the hostage unharmed following a ransom payment of
ELN Hostage-taking, May 30, 1999: In Cali, Colombia, armed ELN
militants attacked a church in the neighborhood of Ciudad Jardin,
kidnapping 160 persons, including six U.S. citizens and one French
national. The rebels released approximately 80 persons, including
three U.S. citizens, later that day.
Shell Platform Bombing, June 27, 1999: In Port Harcourt, Nigeria,
armed youths stormed a Shell oil platform, kidnapping one U.S.
citizen, one Nigerian national, and one Australian citizen, and
causing undetermined damage. A group calling itself "Enough is Enough
in the Niger River" claimed responsibility. Further seizures of oil
AFRC Kidnappings, August 4, 1999: An Armed Forces Revolutionary
Council (AFRC) faction kidnapped 33 UN representatives near Occra
Hills, Sierra Leone. The hostages included one U.S. citizen, five
British soldiers, one Canadian citizen, one representative from Ghana,
one military officer from Russia, one officer from Kyrgyzstan, one
officer from Zambia, one officer from Malaysia, a local Bishop, two UN
officials, two local journalists, and 16 Sierra Leonean nationals.
Burmese Embassy Seizure, October 1, 1999: Burmese dissidents seized
the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, taking 89 persons hostage,
including one U.S. citizen.
PLA Kidnapping, December 23, 1999: Colombian People's Liberation Army
(PLA) forces kidnapped a U.S. citizen in an unsuccessful ransoming
Indian Airlines Airbus Hijacking, December 24, 1999: Five militants
hijacked a flight bound from Kathmandu to New Delhi carrying 189
people. The plane and its passengers were released unharmed on
Car bombing in Spain, January 27, 2000: Police officials reported
unidentified individuals set fire to a Citroen car dealership in
Iturreta, causing extensive damage to the building and destroying 12
vehicles. The attack bore the hallmark of the Basque Fatherland and
RUF Attacks on UN Mission Personnel, May 1, 2000: On May 1 in Makeni,
Sierra Leone, Revolutionary United Front (RUF) militants kidnapped at
least 20 members of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra
Leone (UNAMSIL) and surrounded and opened fire on a UNAMSIL facility,
according to press reports. The militants killed five UN soldiers in
the attack. RUF militants kidnapped 300 UNAMSIL peacekeepers
throughout the country, according to press reports. On May 15 in Foya,
Liberia, the kidnappers released 139 hostages. On May 28, on the
Liberia and Sierra Leone border, armed militants released unharmed the
last of the UN peacekeepers. In Freetown, according to press reports,
armed militants ambushed two military vehicles carrying four
journalists. A Spaniard and one U.S. citizen were killed in a May 25
car bombing in Freetown for which the RUF was probably responsible.
Suspected RUF rebels also kidnapped 21 Indian UN peacekeepers in
Freetown on June 6. Additional attacks by RUF on foreign personnel
Diplomatic Assassination in Greece, June 8, 2000: In Athens, Greece,
two unidentified gunmen killed British Defense Attache Stephen
Saunders in an ambush. The Revolutionary Organization 17 November
ELN Kidnpapping, June 27, 2000: In Bogota, Colombia, ELN militants
kidnapped a 5-year-old U.S. citizen and his Colombian mother,
demanding an undisclosed ransom.
Kidnappings in Kyrgyzstan, August 12, 2000: In the Kara-Su Valley, the
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan took four U.S. citizens hostage. The
Americans escaped on August 12.
Church Bombing in Tajikistan, October 1, 2000: Unidentified militants
detonated two bombs in a Christian church in Dushanbe, killing seven
persons and injuring 70 others. The church was founded by a
Korean-born U.S. citizen, and most of those killed and wounded were
Korean. No one claimed responsibility.
Helicopter Hijacking, October 12, 2000: In Sucumbios Province,
Ecuador, a group of armed kidnappers led by former members of defunct
Colombian terrorist organization the Popular Liberation Army (EPL),
took hostage 10 employees of Spanish energy consortium REPSOL. Those
kidnapped included five U.S. citizens, one Argentine, one Chilean, one
New Zealander, and two French pilots who escaped 4 days later. On
January 30, 2001, the kidnappers murdered American hostage Ronald
Sander. The remaining hostages were released on February 23 following
the payment of $13 million in ransom by the oil companies.
Attack on U.S.S. Cole, October 12, 2000: In Aden, Yemen, a small dingy
carrying explosives rammed the destroyer U.S.S. Cole, killing 17
sailors and injuring 39 others. Supporters of Usama Bin Ladin were
Manila Bombing, December 30, 2000: A bomb exploded in a plaza across
the street from the U.S. embassy in Manila, injuring nine persons. The
Moro Islamic Liberation Front was likely responsible.
Srinagar Airport Attack, January 17, 2001: In India, six members of
the Lashkar-e-Tayyba militant group were killed when they attempted to
seize a local airport.
BBC Studios Bombing, March 4, 2001: A car bomb exploded at midnight
outside of the British Broadcasting Corporation's main production
studios in London.
ETA Bombing, March 9, 2001: Two policemen were killed by the explosion
of a car bomb in Hernani, Spain.
Bus Stop Bombing, April 22, 2001: A member of Hamas detonated a bomb
he was carrying near a bus stop in Kfar Siva, Israel, killing one
person and injuring 60.
Tel-Aviv Nightclub Bombing, June 1, 2001: Hamas claimed responsibility
for the bombing of a popular Israeli nightclub that caused over 140
Hamas Restaurant Bombing, August 9, 2001: A Hamas-planted bomb
detonated in a Jeruselum pizza restaurant, killing 15 people and
wounding more than 90.
Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Homeland, September 11, 2001: Two hijacked
airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Soon
thereafter, the Pentagon was struck by a third hijacked plane. A
fourth hijacked plane, suspected to be bound for a high-profile target
in Washington, crashed into a field in southern Pennsylvania. More
than 5,000 U.S. citizens and other nationals were killed as a result
of these acts. President Bush and Cabinet officials indicated that
Usama Bin Laden was the prime suspect and that they considered the
United States in a state of war with international terrorism. In the
aftermath of the attacks, the United States formed the Global
Coalition Against Terrorism.
(This document, based entirely on public sources, was prepared for
background information and reference purposes. It is not intended to
be a complete or comprehensive account of all terrorist incidents
during these years, and it is not an official expression of U.S.
policy. Please email questions or comments to PAHistory@State.gov.)
(end State Department text)
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