CHRONOLOGY OF MAJOR TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST U.S.

1 03 2009

source: terrorism project

Also click here for significant terrorist incidents on US

September 11, 2001 – Terrorists hijack four U.S. commercial airliners taking off from various locations in the United States in a coordinated suicide attack. In separate attacks, two of the airliners crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, which catch fire and eventually collapse. A third airliner crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, causing extensive damage. The fourth airliner, also believed to be heading towards Washington, DC, crashes outside Shanksville, PA., killing all 45 people on board. Casualty estimates from New York put the possible death toll close to 5,000, while as many as 200 people may have been lost at the Pentagon crash site.

Oct. 12, 2000 – A terrorist bomb damages the destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39.

Aug. 7, 1998 – Terrorist bombs destroy the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Nairobi, 12 Americans are among the 291 killed, and over 5,000 are wounded, including 6 Americans. In Dar es Salaam, one U.S. citizen is wounded among the 10 killed and 77 injured.

In response, on August 20 the United States attacked targets in Afghanistan and Sudan with over 75 cruise missiles fired from Navy ships in the Arabian and Red seas. About 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from warships in the Arabian Sea. Most struck six separate targets in a camp near Khost, Afghanistan. Simultaneously, about 20 cruise missiles were fired from U.S. ships in the Red Sea striking a factory in Khartoum, Sudan, which was suspected of producing components for making chemical weapons.

June 21, 1998 – Rocket-propelled grenades explode near the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

July 27, 1996 – A pipe bomb explodes during the Olympic games in Atlanta, killing one person and wounding 111.

June 25, 1996 – A bomb aboard a fuel truck explodes outside a U.S. air force installation in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 U.S. military personnel are killed in the Khubar Towers housing facility, and 515 are wounded, including 240 Americans.

Nov. 13, 1995 – A car-bomb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills seven people, five of them American military and civilian advisers for National Guard training. The “Tigers of the Gulf,” “Islamist Movement for Change,” and “Fighting Advocates of God” claim responsibility.

April 19, 1995 – A car bomb destroys the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding over 600.

February 1993 – A bomb in a van explodes in the underground parking garage in New York’s World Trade Center, killing six people and wounding 1,042.

Dec. 21, 1988 – A bomb destroys Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people aboard the Boeing 747 are killed including 189 Americans, as are 11 people on the ground.

As a result, two Libyan intelligence officers are charged with planting the bomb. They are eventually turned over by the Libyan government and tried. The trial, conducted in the Netherlands under Scottish law, begins in May 2000 and ends in February 2001. Abdelbaset Al Mohmed al-Megrahi is convicted and receives a life sentence. The other defendant, Al-Amin Khalifah Fhimah is acquitted.

April 1986 – An explosion damages a TWA flight as it prepares to land in Athens, Greece. Four people are killed when they are sucked out of the aircraft.

April 5, 1986 – A bomb destroys the LaBelle discotheque in West Berlin. The disco was known to be frequented by U.S. servicemen. The attack kills one American and one German woman and wounds 150, including 44 Americans

In response, on April 15 the United States retaliated in an operation dubbed “El Dorado Canyon.” Approximately 100 aircraft were launched in direct support of the raid. It was an attack against military targets involving land-based bombers from Great Britain together with carrier-based air strikes from ships in the Gulf of Sidra.

On Nov. 13, 2001 a German court convicted four people for the bombing. Verena Chanaa, a German national, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison for selecting the site of the attack and placing the bomb. Yassir Chraidi, a Palestinian working at the Libyan Embassy and suspected of being the main organizer of the attack, was convicted of multiple counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 14 years. Two other embassy employees, Musbah Abdulghasem Eter, a Libyan, and Ali Chanaa, a Lebanese-born German and Verena Chanaa’s former husband, were both convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 12 years. Libya has refused to extradite five other suspects sought by German police, including members of the Libyan secret service.

December 18, 1985 – Simultaneous suicide attacks are carried out against U.S. and Israeli check-in desks at Rome and Vienna international airports. 20 people are killed in the two attacks, including four terrorists.

November 24, 1985 – Hijackers aboard an Egyptair flight kill one American. Egyptian commandos later storm the aircraft on the isle of Malta, and 60 people are killed.

October 7, 1985 – Palestinian terrorists hijack the cruise liner Achille Lauro (in response to the Israeli attack on PLO headquarters in Tunisia) Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly, wheelchair-bound American, is killed and thrown overboard.

August 8, 1985 – A car bomb at a U.S. military base in Frankfurt, Germany kills two and injures 20. A U.S. soldier murdered for his identity papers is found a day after the explosion.

June 19, 1985 – In San Salvador, El Salvador, 13 people are killed in a machine gun attack at an outdoor café, including four U.S. Marines and two American businessmen.

June 14, 1985 – TWA flight 847 is hijacked over the Mediterranean, the start of a two-week hostage ordeal. The hijackers, linked to Hezbollah, demand the release of prisoners being held in Kuwait as well as the release of 700 Shiite Muslim prisoners being held in Israeli and Lebanese prisons. U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem is killed and 39 passengers are held hostage when the demands were not met. The passengers are eventually released in Damascus after being held in various locations in Beirut.

April 12, 1985 – A bomb explodes in a restaurant near a U.S. air base in Madrid, Spain, killing 18, all Spaniards, and wounding 82, including 15 Americans.

November 1984 – A bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia kills a passer-by. The attack was preceded by death threats against U.S. officials by drug traffickers.

September 20, 1984 – A truck bomb explodes outside the U.S. Embassy annex in Aukar, northeast of Beirut. The ambassador is injured and 24 people killed, two of whom were U.S. military personnel.

March 16, 1984 – CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley is kidnaped by militant Islamic extremists in Lebanon. He is said to have died after prolonged torture. His body was found on December 27, 1991 in southern Beirut, nearly eight years after his abduction.

December 12, 1983 – Shiite extremists bombed the French and U.S. Embassies in Kuwait, killing 6 and injuring over 80 people. The suspects were thought to be members of Al Dawa , a group supported by Iran and known for operating against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

October 23, 1983 – A suicide car bomb attack against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut kills 241 servicemen. A simultaneous attack on a French base kills 58 paratroopers.

In response, President Ronald Reagan ordered the battleship USS New Jersey, stationed off the coast of Lebanon, to shell the hills near Beirut.

April 18, 1983 – A suicide car bombing against the U.S. embassy in Beirut kills 63, including 17 Americans.

November 4, 1979 – Fundamentalist Islamic students took 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran.

In response, in April 1980, President Jimmy Carter authorized “Operation Eagle Claw,” a military mission to free the hostages. The mission involved eight USMC RH-53 helicopters, 12 airplanes and personnel who were to be transported from a carrier in the Pakistan Gulf to a point outside Tehran, where they were to spend the night and resume rescue operations the following morning. The operation involved refueling the helicopters at a spot in the Iranian desert dubbed “Desert One.” The operation was aborted April 25 after three of the eight helicopters suffered mechanical failures and one of the helicopters collided with a refueling plane, killing five Air Force personnel, three Marines and injuring dozens. The hostages, after spending 444 days in captivity, were released unharmed just hours after Ronald Reagan’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981.

Christopher Hellman
CDI Senior Analyst
chellman@cdi.org

Victoria Garcia
CDI Research Assistant
vgarcia@cdi.org

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