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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: worldwide terrorism threats & domestic extremist threats & trends

In the United States, the years since 9/11 have been a period of heightened awareness about the threat of terrorism, but they haven’t been a period of frequent attacks. The U.S. witnessed a much higher number of terrorist attacks in the 1970s than in the 2000s. But the destruction of the World Trade Center and a piece of the Pentagon was something unprecedented; no single terrorist attack in history up to that point had killed so many. The pipe bombings of the 1970s—when, as Marquette University’s Risa Brooks has written, “the country experienced a rash of bombings by Puerto Rican nationalist groups and the militant left, such as the Weather Underground, which combined were responsible for more than 100 bombings”—were low-casualty affairs that, if they killed anyone, tended to do so one or two people at a time.

At the time, the subject of “terrorism” didn’t attract much scholarly attention. Martha Crenshaw was one of the pioneers of terrorism studies and, incidentally, my advisor in graduate school. In the decades since she started researching it, terrorism has gone from a largely ignored subfield to an object of serious, and some might say excessive, concern among policymakers and the public. There are hundreds of ways to define “terrorism,” and they tend to involve violence committed by a non-state actor to achieve some kind of political objective. (Though, to complicate matters further, there is also the notion of “state terror” or “terror from above,” involving politically motivated violence by governments to oppress or intimidate domestic opponents.)  

Read more: The Atlantic

A man who plotted a suicide car bomb attack at a Wichita, Kansas, airport in 2013 was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Monday.

Terry Loewen, 60, had access to secure airport areas because of his work as an avionic technician, according to federal officials, who dubbed the bomb plot an attempted terrorist attack.

He was arrested trying to enter the ramp area of the airport known then as the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport with what he believed was a vehicle loaded with explosives. He had planned to detonate the explosives next to a terminal and die in the blast, according to federal officials. The airport was recently renamed the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

Loewen pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction, and entered into a plea agreement reached with prosecutors calling for the 20-year prison sentence, followed by lifetime supervision.

Read more: Yahoo News (Reuters)

A Chicago-area man pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court to a charge that he tried to travel overseas to join an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Syria.  Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 21, of Aurora, Illinois, was arrested in 2013 as he prepared to board a plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport bound for Istanbul, Turkey, prosecutors said.

Tounisi, then 18, had spent four months conducting online research related to overseas travel and violent jihad, focusing specifically on Syria and the Jabhat al-Nusrah terrorist group, prosecutors said.  Jabhat al-Nusrah is listed by the State Department as an alias for al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Tounisi made online contact with someone he thought was a recruiter for Jabhat al-Nusrah, and expressed his willingness to fight for the jihadist cause, according to a plea agreement. A U.S. citizen, Tounisi had planned to travel from Istanbul to Syria, prosecutors said.

Read more:  Yahoo News

A federal trial is underway this week for an Uzbek refugee charged with supporting a terrorist organization.  Fazliddin Kurbanov, a Russian-speaking truck driver who fled Uzbekistan in 2009, was arrested in 2013 by federal authorities who said he was teaching people to build bombs to target public transportation and other targets.  Prosecutors say Kurbanov traveled the West assisting a militant group in his native Uzbekistan, a Central Asian country that has a southern border with Afghanistan. The 32-year-old, who lives in Boise, has pleaded not guilty to the five terrorism-related charges.

Jury selection was expected to take all day Monday at the federal courthouse in Boise as attorneys continued to winnow a pool of 92 potential jurors.  Prosecutors have charged Kurbanov with committing felonies in Idaho and Utah, saying he conspired with others to provide resources, including computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The U.S. has identified the IMU as a terrorist organization.

Kurbanov has denied all of the allegations. In a trial brief filed by the defense late last month, his attorneys wrote, "Mr. Kurbanov never agreed or attempted to provide material support to the IMU or to terrorists as alleged (by providing personnel, money or software); nor did he possess an unregistered destructive device."

Read more: ABC News

A spate of mail bombs targeting Winnipeg law offices and businesses, along with additional reports of suspicious packages, have raised fear levels among Canada Post employees.  At least four suspicious packages were reported on Monday alone, including one at Winnipeg city hall and two on Canada Post depots (Wellington Avenue and McDermot Avenue). Those reports, as well as another on Donald Street, turned out to be false alarms.

The wave of suspicious packages comes after one exploded inside a law office on River Avenue on Friday, seriously injuring family lawyer Maria Matousis.  "Folks are scared. This is very close to home, you know. It is packages that definitely were handled by our members," Todd Jarema, a prairie region officer with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, told CBC News.  "Obviously, people are unsure as to, you know, 'Is this package that I've got in my hand, is this a bomb too?'"  Guido Amsel, 49, faces numerous charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Read more: CBC News