Monday, August 13, 2007

This Week in the History of Terrorism (August 12-18)

Here's my summary of significant past events for this week:

August 13

1995 (India)
– A Kashmiri separatist group killed a kidnapped Norwegian, Hans Christian Ostroe. He was part of a group of mountain climbers kidnapped in the Himalayas in July, 1995, by Kashmiri Islamic militants bargaining for the release of 21 members of their group, Al-Faran, who were jailed in India. Ostroe was found beheaded in a Kashmiri forest one month after India refused to release the group memebrs. The incident was the first time a Norwegian had been taken hostage and killed in a foreign country since World War II.

August 14

1994 (Sudan)
– French authorities captured Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the Venezuelan terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal,” and returned him to France to be tried for the murder of two police agents and an informant in 1979. Ramirez had been living in Khartoum under the protection of the authorities, but his increasingly erratic behavior led them to collaborate in his informal extradition back to France. He was then taken directly before Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who served Carlos with an arrest warrant for the 1979 murders.

1993 (Venezuela) – The U.S. Embassy in Caracas was shot at with small arms fire. No one was injured. A few hours earlier, shots had been fired at the construction site of the new embassy office building in Caracas.

August 15

1998 (Northern Ireland)
– A car bomb in the market town of Omagh, County Tyrone, killed 29 persons and wounded more than 100 in the worst act of violence since the start of the Northern Ireland conflict three decades earlier. Police received a telephone warning approximately 40 minutes before the blast, but the location of the bomb was unclear and the wrong area was evacuated, with people being directed towards the danger zone. The Real IRA, a splinter group attempting to derail the Good Friday peace accords, was responsible.

2001 (India) – Kashmiri militants wound eighteen in Handwara with a roadside bomb. Lashkar-i-Tayyib claimed responsibility.

August 16

1993 (Germany)
– Police stormed a KLM aircraft that had been hijacked by Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The flight from Tunis to Amsterdam was hijacked by a single terrorist who demanded the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was being held in New York in connection with the first World Trade Center bombing. The German Federal Police counter-terrorism unit, GSG-9, subdued the lone hijacker after the hostages escaped through a cockpit window.

August 17

1995 (France)
– A small bomb exploded near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, wounding 17 persons. No group claimed responsibility, but the incident came amid a series of similar bombings committed by Algerian Islamic extremists. The Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA), a group opposed to France's support for the military Government of Algeria, was believed to be responsible.

The explosion occurred shortly after 5 PM, when the area around the monument was crowded with tourists (11 of the 17 wounded were foreigners). The bomb was an improvised device placed inside a trash can near the Place de l'Etoile, and it had been packed with fragmentation to cause massive casualties. Due to the rapid response of emergency units, none of the victims died.

August 18

2001 (Spain)
– A car bomb exploded in a tourist area near Barcelona. There were no casualties, since a warning call was sent. The Basque ETA was responsible.

1987 (Sri Lanka) – A grenade attack against the Parliament killed one legislator.

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