Terrorism has become an ever-present force in the world today. It has been used to spread fear and terror across the globe, with devastating effects. From 9/11 to the most recent attacks in Paris and Brussels, these 10 terrorist attacks have horrified the world and left indelible marks on our collective memory.
10- Christchurch Attacks, 2019
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The Christchurch attack was the deadliest terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history. On March 15th, 2019, a gunman opened fire on worshippers at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. He killed 51 people and injured 49 others. The attacker broadcasted it live on social media. The gunman, an Australian national, was apprehended by police later that day and charged with murder. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, responded to the attack with a speech of support, unity and love. The government responded swiftly and passed gun laws banning most military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.
9- Sri Lanka Attack, 2019
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Sri Lanka was struck with one of its deadliest terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday. Suicide bombers targeted churches, hotels, and other places of worship. The horrific attacks killed more than 250 people and injured hundreds more. The government declared a state of emergency in response to the tragedy. Authorities have since identified the attackers as members of an extremist group. They have also arrested dozens of suspects in connection with the bombings.
8- Las Vegas Attack, 2017
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On October 1st, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada. The rampage left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. The shooter, a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock, had rented a room in the Mandalay Bay hotel overlooking the concert venue. After firing hundreds of rounds from the window, Paddock took his own life before police were able to apprehend him.
The investigation revealed that Paddock had brought an arsenal of weapons to the hotel, including 23 firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and several explosives. He had also installed cameras in the hallway to monitor police activity. In the days following the attack, the victims and their families were remembered in a series of vigils and memorials, and the community began the healing process. The attack was a stark reminder of the need for stronger gun control regulations in the United States.
7- Manchester Attack, 2017
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On May 22, 2017, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, killing 22 people and injuring more than 500. The attack was carried out by Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British citizen of Libyan descent. Abedi detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb in the foyer of the arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. The attack was the deadliest in Britain since the July 7, 2005, bombings in London and one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the UK since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
6- Brussels Attack, 2016
On March 22nd 2016, three coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Brussels, Belgium. At 8:00 AM, two bombs exploded at Zaventem Airport. Minutes later, another bomb detonated at the Maelbeek metro station. The attacks killed 32 people and injured over 300. IS claimed responsibility for the bombings. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared three days of national mourning. Belgium also deployed hundreds of extra security personnel to guard key locations.
5- Paris Attack, 2015
On November 13th, 2015, terrorists unleashed a deadly attack on Paris. Eight attackers detonated explosive suicide vests, opened fire on civilians and detonated car bombs. The attackers took hostages at the Bataclan Theatre, resulting in a siege. The attackers killed 130 innocent people and injured hundreds more. French police and military responded quickly, killing all of the attackers. French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and closed the country’s borders. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was in response to French participation in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
4- Mumbai Attack, 2008
The 2008 Mumbai attacks were a series of coordinated shooting and bombing attacks by 10 Pakistani-based terrorists that lasted four days. The attacks killed 164 people and wounded more than 300. Militants stormed Mumbai, India on November 26, 2008. They attacked luxury hotels, a railway station, and a Jewish center. Gunfire and explosions rocked the city. Hundreds of people were killed and injured. Indian security forces battled the militants for four days. The attackers had infiltrated the city by the sea. They used grenades and automatic weapons. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard responded quickly. The terrorists were eventually eliminated by the Indian forces. The Mumbai attack shook the nation and the world. The death toll was immense and the psychological impact was devastating. India was forced to re-examine its security protocols and increase its vigilance.
3- London Bombings, 2005
On 7 July 2005, four suicide bombers launched coordinated attacks on London’s public transport system. Three bombs exploded on London Underground trains, killing 52 people and injuring hundreds more. A fourth bomb exploded on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, killing 13 people and injuring many more. The perpetrators were motivated by an extreme Islamist ideology, and the attacks were later claimed by Al-Qaeda. The bombings marked the deadliest terrorist attack in Britain since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the first in London since the Second World War. The London bombings had a profound effect on the city and its people and highlighted the threat of terrorism in the modern world. The bombings were followed by an outpouring of grief and solidarity, with people around the world displaying solidarity with the victims and their families.
2- Madrid Train Bombings, 2004
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On March 11, 2004, a series of coordinated bombings occurred on four commuter trains in Madrid, Spain. Ten bombs exploded, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,800. The attacks were carried out by a group of Islamist extremists who had links to al-Qaeda. The blasts happened during the morning rush hour, on four different trains that were all located in a single train station. Each of the bombs was packed with nails and shrapnel to maximize casualties. The terrorists had placed their bombs in backpacks, which they left on the trains. The bombs then detonated simultaneously, causing massive destruction and loss of life. In the aftermath, the Spanish government launched a nationwide manhunt for the perpetrators. Ultimately, 21 people were arrested and tried for their involvement in the attack. The Madrid Train Bombings remain one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in world.
1- 9/11, 2001
On September 11th 2001, terrorists attacked the United States with four hijacked planes. The first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. A second plane crashed into the South Tower. A third plane hit the Pentagon in Washington DC while the fourth went down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, injured over 6,000 more, and caused massive destruction. The North and South Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed within two hours of the attacks. The aftermath of 9/11 also included a global War on Terror, which continues to this day. The tragedy of 9/11 was felt around the world, and the attacks remain one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in history.