Defining terrorism: To quote the meaning straight out of the pages of the Oxford dictionary, the word “terrorism” may be defined as “the use of intimidation and violence in the pursuit of political objectives.” However, a search on the Internet throws up numerous astounding definitions and meanings of the word, one of the most preferred ones simply being “the act of resisting or going against a government by the use of terroristic methods.”
As ever-mobile and ever-busy individuals of the 21st century, we may not be totally aware of all the activity of terrorism that goes on around us. However, such things are quite commonplace and happen in almost all corners of the planet, sometimes without any real motive.
A list of the most horrifying instances of terrorism: If one were to count the occurrences of these horrifying attacks, dating back to the early years of the eighteenth century, then they would come across as many as a thousand instances (maybe more) where such cruel acts have drilled and fuelled terror in the minds of simple and innocent individuals. Here we present a list of the top 10 horrifying terrorist attacks of all times.
10. Wall Street Bombing, United States (September 16, 1920)
The bombing took place in New York City’s Financial District on a Thursday, just after midday. As many as 38 individuals were killed in the blast while another 143 suffered serious injuries. Speculations from historians and investigators have suggested that there was an Italian anarchist group called the Galleanists behind the entire bombing episode. They were also responsible for a number of bombing incidents that had taken place the year before. However, a solution was never found for the case and no person managed to get any form of justice.
9. British Mandate, imposed on Palestine (from 1937 to 1948)
The Arab revolt in the country of Palestine was brought forth as a result of the British Mandate. It led to a militant group known as the Zionist Irgun carrying out a total of sixty terrorist attacks against British and Arab soldiers. They described themselves as an underground terrorist organization and launched a series of attacks against the Mandate forces of the Brits and Arabs during the thirties, lasting till the early years of the Second World War. A terror that lasted for over a decade led to the death of as many as 250 Arabs.
8. The Mad Bomber, United States (1940-1956)
A list of the horrifying terror attacks must include a mention of the Mad Bomber of the United States. George P. Metes, who otherwise went by the name of the Mad Bomber, single-handedly terrorized the citizens of New York for close to a couple of decades during the forties and fifties. He had been legally declared as an insane individual but it was only after many years that the authorities finally decided to admit him to a mental facility. George placed as many as thirty-three bombs in different parts of the city ranging from rest rooms to storage lockers, an act one can associate only with a psycho-path. The New York Public Library, Radio City Music Hall, Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal were among some of the notable places that he targeted. Of the thirty-three bombs, only twenty-two exploded. However, owing to their low intensity they failed to cause much damage and injured only ten people while they were protesting against the electric utility in their region.
7. Menasha Synagogue Attack, Syria (August 5, 1949)
Located in the Jewish quarter of the Syrian capital city of Damascus, the Menasha Synagogue came under a grenade attack. It led to the death of as many as twelve people and the list of casualties included eight children. It was a Friday evening when the attacks took place and coincided with the Lausanne Conference. This conference was coming on the back of the 1949 Armistice Agreement that was tabled on July 20 of that same year. A number of hand grenades were thrown into the synagogue that resulted in at least thirty people getting seriously injured.
6. Airliner explosion, Philippines (May 7, 1949)
Just thirty minutes into its flight on the 7th of May, 1949, a Philippine-o aircraft exploded while in mid-air. All thirteen people on-board, including the crew members, were killed. The flight was on its scheduled trip to Manila from Daet when the incident took place. Historians and investigators are of the opinion that a time-bomb was used for the purpose and it detonated exactly half-an-hour after the flight took off from Daet and was somewhere near the Alabat Island.
5. Ma’le Akrabim massacre, Israel (March 17, 1954)
Eleven passengers travelling on board a carrier bus were shot at and killed by attackers who, in the middle of the day, had taken the drastic measure of ambushing and boarding the vehicle. Ma’le Akrabim is a Hebrew term meaning Scorpions Pass, a winding grade, narrow old road. It is located just to the south of Makhtesh Katan and back in 1954 was the only roadways connection between Beersheba and Eilat. Four passengers managed to survive the attack with the lucky group comprising a woman and a couple of Israeli soldiers. The fourth survivor was Miri Firstenberg, a five-year old girl who lost her parents in the terror attacks.
4. Beirut Barracks Bombing, Lebanon (October 23, 1989)
The Beirut Bombings took place at the time of the Civil War in Lebanon. It basically involved a couple of truck bombs that struck separate buildings on October 23 in 1989. These buildings housed military personnel of the multinational force i.e. French and American soldiers. The attacks resulted in the death of three hundred people. Suicide bombers drove in the trucks and struck the respective buildings. The American building recorded greater casualties with as many as 241 reported deaths while another sixty suffered serious injuries. This attack represented the deadliest toll of single-day casualties for the US Marine Corps ever since the Battle of Iwo Jima during the Second World War.
3. Dubrovka Theater Siege, Russia (October 23, 2002)
The Dubrovka Theater Siege, also termed as the 2002 siege of Nord-Ost, was orchestrated by around fifty armed Chechens. They claimed allegiance to the militant group fuelling the Islamist separatist movement that was underway in Chechnya during that period. As many as 850 citizens were taken in as hostage with the demand for withdrawal of Russian forces from the Chechnyan region that would eventually result in the Second Chechen War coming to an end. The siege lasted around sixty hours before an unknown gas was pumped into the building by the Russian Alpha Group who then raided it. While the forces managed to raid and kill around forty terrorists, the adverse reactions of the gas unwittingly resulted in the death of another 130 innocent hostages.
2. Piazza Fontana Bombing, Italy (December 12, 1969)
The Piazza Fontana bombing easily goes down as one of the deadliest terror attacks to have taken place in the history of modern human civilization. It was around 4.30pm when a severe explosion ripped through the National Agrarian Bank headquarters, located barely two hundred meters away from the Duomo in the Italian city of Milan. Seventeen fatalities resulted while another 88 suffered serious injuries and wounds. The very same day, another three bombs were planted in different places around the country. While Milan and Rome stood witness to two more explosions, the third one was recovered and defused before it could detonate.
1. 9/11 Attacks, United States (September 11, 2001)
Probably the worst ever terrorist attack that the world has ever witnessed, the twin-tower bombings took place on the eleventh of September in 2001. It is still believed that the attacks were a series of coordinated events launched by the Islamists group al-Qaeda under leadership of Osama bin Laden. As per reports from mainstream media, nineteen terrorists hijacked four passenger airlines and flew them straight into the twin towers of the New York-based World Trade Center. As many as three thousand people were reportedly killed in the coordinated attacks including the two hundred odd passengers and nineteen hijackers on board the airliners. While bin Laden initially denied having anything to do with the attacks, he later claimed total responsibility for the same. Further investigations have revealed startling facts that become increasingly harder to believe no matter how hard the American Government tries to convince the general global populace.
More than simple attacks of terrorism, these unsocial activities stand out as a clear measure of where the human race stands at this very moment. While there has been a lot of progress since the medieval era of the Stone Age, we have a long way to go before we really get to understand ourselves and develop expectations as human beings. With every passing moment, negative emotions such as jealousy and hatred are tearing us apart. It is, in fact, quite extraordinary to think that the same people who are making in-roads everyday in the world of modern technology still allow such fickle matters to be driving their ego.