Portal:Terrorism

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Terrorism Portal

Terrorism is the main systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a "lone wolf" attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war. The history of terrorist organizations suggests that they do not select terrorism for its political effectiveness. Individual terrorists tend to be motivated more by a desire for social solidarity with other members of their organization than by political platforms or strategic objectives, which are often murky and undefined. The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political or foreign opponents, and potentially legitimize the state's own use of terror against them. A less politically and emotionally charged, and better defined, term (used not only for terrorists, and not including all those who have been described as terrorists) is violent non-state actor. Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives. It has been practiced by both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. One form is the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual.

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Flag of the Communist Party of Peru
The Communist Party of Peru (Spanish: Partido Comunista del Perú), more commonly known as the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), is a Maoist guerrilla organization in Peru. When it first launched the internal conflict in Peru in 1980, its stated goal was to replace what it saw as bourgeois democracy with "New Democracy." The Shining Path believed that by imposing a dictatorship of the proletariat, inducing cultural revolution, and eventually sparking world revolution, they could arrive at pure communism. The Shining Path also believed that all existing socialist countries were revisionist, and that the Shining Path itself was the vanguard of the world communist movement. The Shining Path's ideology and tactics have been influential on other Maoist insurgent groups, notably the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and other Revolutionary Internationalist Movement-affiliated organizations. Widely condemned for its brutality, including violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, popularly elected officials and the general civilian population, the Shining Path is regarded by Peru as a terrorist organization. The group is on the U.S. Department of State's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and the European Union and Canada likewise regard them as a terrorist organization and prohibit providing funding or other financial support. Since the capture of its leader Abimael Guzmán in 1992, the Shining Path has only been sporadically active. Certain factions of the Shining Path now claim to fight in order to force the government to reach a peace treaty with the rebels. Similar to the larger FARC in Colombia, some factions of Shining Path have reinvented themselves as a highly efficient cocaine smuggling operation, with an ostensibly paternalistic relationship to villagers.

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The skyline of the fort area. The twin towers are the World Trade Centre building and the other tower is the Bank of Ceylon.
Credit: Mystìc

The Central Bank bombing was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks carried out by the LTTE during the Separatist civil war in Sri Lanka between the government and the Tamil Tigers. The attack took place on January 31, 1996, Sri Lankan city of Colombo. A lorry (42-6452) containing about 440 pounds of high explosives crashed through the main gate of the Central Bank, a seaside high-rise which managed most of the financial business of the country. As gunmen traded fire with security guards, the suicide bomber in the lorry detonated the massive bomb, which tore through the bank and damaged eight other buildings nearby.

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The Pentagon, minutes after American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into it
Khalid al-Mihdhar (Arabic: خالد المحضار‎, Khālid al-Miḥḍār; also transliterated Almihdhar) (May 16, 1975 – September 11, 2001) was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which was flown into the Pentagon as part of a coordinated suicide attack on September 11, 2001. Mihdhar was born in Saudi Arabia and fought in the Bosnian War during the 1990s. In early 1999, he traveled to Afghanistan where, as an experienced and respected jihadist, he was selected by Osama bin Laden to participate in the 9/11 attacks plot. Mihdhar arrived in California with fellow hijacker Nawaf al-Hazmi in January 2000, after traveling to Malaysia for the Kuala Lumpur al-Qaeda Summit. At this point, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was aware of Mihdhar, and he was photographed in Malaysia with another al-Qaeda member who was involved in the USS Cole bombing. The CIA did not inform the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when it learned that Mihdhar and Hazmi had entered the United States, and Mihdhar was not placed on any watchlists until late August 2001. Upon arriving in San Diego, California, Mihdhar and Hazmi were to train as pilots, but spoke English poorly and did not do well with flight lessons. In June 2000, Mihdhar left the United States for Yemen, leaving Hazmi behind in San Diego. Mihdhar spent some time in Afghanistan in early 2001 and returned to the United States in early July 2001. He stayed in New Jersey in July and August 2001, before arriving in the Washington, D.C. area at the beginning of September 2001. On the morning of September 11, Mihdhar boarded American Airlines Flight 77, which was hijacked approximately a half-hour after take off. The plane was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon, killing all 64 people aboard the flight, along with 125 on the ground. In the aftermath, intelligence files on Mihdhar indicated to investigators that al-Qaeda was behind the attacks. In the first weeks after the plane crash, some reports suggested Mihdhar and some of the others named as hijackers were alive and at large, but later investigations found these reports were based on mistaken identities, caused by the common Arabic names.

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Jacques Chirac
Terrorism has become the systematic weapon of a war that knows no borders or seldom has a face.

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