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Portal:Terrorism

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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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1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack
The 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack was the food poisoning of more than 750 individuals in The Dalles, Oregon, United States through the deliberate contamination of salad bars at ten local restaurants with salmonella. A leading group of followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (now known as Osho) had hoped to incapacitate the voting population of the city so that their own candidates would win the 1984 Wasco County elections. The incident was the first bioterrorism attack in the United States, and the single largest bioterrorist attack in United States history. The attack is one of only two confirmed terrorist uses of biological weapons to harm humans. Having previously gained political control of Antelope, Oregon, Rajneesh's followers based in nearby Rajneeshpuram sought election to two of the three seats on the Wasco County Circuit Court which were up for election in November 1984. Fearing they would not gain enough votes, Rajneeshpuram officials decided to incapacitate voters in The Dalles, the largest population center in Wasco County. The chosen biological agent was Salmonella enterica Typhimurium, which was first delivered through glasses of water to two county commissioners, and then delivered on a larger scale at salad bars and in salad dressing. Seven hundred and fifty-one people contracted salmonellosis as a result of the attack, of whom 45 were hospitalized. There were no fatalities. Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer set up an interagency task force between the Oregon State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and executed search warrants in Rajneeshpuram. A sample of bacteria matching the contaminant that had sickened the town residents was found in a Rajneeshpuram medical laboratory. Two leading Rajneeshpuram officials were indicted and served 29 months in a minimum-security federal prison.

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Location of Baghdad in Iraq
Credit: Map of Iraq from CIA Handbook

The 1 February 2008 Baghdad bombings occurred on 1 February 2008, when two suicide bombings occurred in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. A female bomber detonated explosives at about 10:20am at the popular al-Ghazl pet market in the centre of the Iraqi capital. A second bomb exploded at a bird market in southeast Baghdad's al-Jadida district about 20 minutes later. 98 people were killed and about 208 injured by the bomb blasts.

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Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi took responsibility, on several audiotapes, for numerous acts of terrorism in Iraq and Jordan. These acts include suicide bombings, and the killing of soldiers, police officers, and civilians. As an Islamist identified with the Salafi movement, Zarqawi opposed the presence of United States and Western military forces in the Islamic world and opposed the West's support for and the existence of Israel. In September 2005, he reportedly declared "all-out war" on Shia Muslims in Iraq and is believed responsible for dispatching numerous Al-Qaeda suicide bombers throughout Iraq, especially to areas with large concentrations of Shia civilians. As the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq he is suspected of responsibility for thousands of deaths. Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike in June 2006.

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Konrad Raiser (at right)
"The answer to terrorism must be found in redressing the wrongs that breed violence between nations."
Konrad Raiser, letter to UN Secretary General (October 2, 2001)

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