A history of violence: Major terror incidents involving US targets

Published: 30th September 2012 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th October 2012 11:58 AM   |  A+A-


November 1979: Iranian militants seize US embassy in Tehran, taking 90 hostages. Fifty-two people are held captive for 444 days. A US commando mission to rescue the hostages in April 1980 is abandoned in the desert with the loss of eight lives when a helicopter collides with a tanker aircraft. The hostages are released on January 20, 1981, the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as president.

April 1983:  The US embassy in Beirut is destroyed in a suicide car bomb attack. Sixty-three people are killed, among them 17 Americans, including the CIA’s chief Middle East analyst Robert C. Ames.

October 1983:  A suicide car bomb attack by radical Muslims on the headquarters of the US military’s peacekeeping force in Lebanon kills 241 US servicemen. A simultaneous attack on a French base in Beirut kills 58 paratroopers.

December 1988:  A Pan American World Airways Boeing 747 crashes on the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people aboard when a bomb on board explodes. Eleven people on the ground are also killed.

February 1993:  Six people are killed and more than 1,000 wounded when a bomb in a van explodes under the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

June 1996:  A fuel truck bomb kills 19 American soldiers and wounds nearly 400 people at a US military complex in Khobar near the Saudi Arabian oil city of Dhahran.

August 1998:  Truck bombs explode at US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people, including 12 Americans, and wounding thousands. All but 10 of the deaths are in Nairobi, where the damage is worst.

October 2000: Suicide bombers ram an explosives-laden rubber raft into the US destroyer Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 US sailors.

September 2001:  Three planes hijacked by al Qaeda militants crash into New York’s World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon near Washington. A fourth  hijacked plane crashes in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people are killed in total.

January 2002: Kolkata Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami gunmen attack American Center near US Consulate, five policemen killed

June 2002: A truck loaded with a fertilizer bomb driven by a suicide bomber is detonated outside the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve people were killed and 51 injured, all Pakistanis are arrested in Pakistan.

May 2003:  Suicide bombers in vehicles shoot their way into housing compounds for expatriates in the Saudi capital Riyadh as residents sleep. The death toll of 35 includes nine Americans.

February 2003: Gunmen on motorcycles kill two police officers and wound five other officers and a civilian in front of the US Consulate in Karachi.

December 2004:  Militants storm US consulate in Jeddah, killing five local staff and four Saudi security personnel. Three militants are killed and two captured.

March 2006: A suicide car bomb kills four and injures 30 outside the Marriott Hotel in Karachi, which is about 20 yards from the US consulate. Among the dead is David Foy, an American diplomat. It appears that Foy was the direct target of the bomber.

December 2009: A Nigerian man is seized after trying to blow up US-bound Northwest Flight 253 as it approaches Detroit.

His attempt was thwarted by passengers and crew on the plane who extinguished the flames and restrained him.

April 2010:  Police, tipped off by a street vendor, find and defuse a bomb inside a sport utility vehicle in New York’s Times Square while it was packed with tourists and theater-goers. The entertainment and shopping area is temporarily evacuated.

April 2010: US Consulate in Peshawar attacked by militants. The coordinated attack involves a vehicle suicide bomb and attackers who tried to enter the Consulate, using grenades and small arms. Six killed. Simultaneous bombs near Consulate kill another 50.

September 2012: A group of violent protesters storm the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, using an amateur YouTube video as an excuse, killing the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three staff members.

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