Chronology of Significant Terrorist Incidents
The State Department historian has released a chronology of significant terrorist incidents from 1961 – 2001. We have archived this list on our site.
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 killed.
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 organization.
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 squad.
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 Front.
North Korean Hit Squad, October 9, 1983: North Korean agents blew up a delegation from South Korea in Rangoon, Burma, killing 21 persons and injuring 48.
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 responsibility.
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.
1984 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.
1986Aircraft 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.
1987Bus 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 U.S. sailor.
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.
1991Attempted 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.
1992Kidnapping 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 City area.
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 capital Baghdad.
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, Pakistan.
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 beheaded.
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.
1996Papuan 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. citizens.
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 intervened.
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 was suspected.
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 suspected.
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 months.
1997Egyptian 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 damage.
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 kidnapping.
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 claimed responsibility.
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.
1998UN 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 boy.
1999Angolan 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 days.
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 in Venezuela.
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 $48,000.
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 facilities followed.
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 effort.
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 December 31.
2000Car 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 Liberty (ETA).
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 followed.
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 claimed responsibility.
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 suspected.
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.
2001Srinagar 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 casualties.
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.