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Terrorism is the main systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a "lone wolf" attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war. The history of terrorist organizations suggests that they do not select terrorism for its political effectiveness. Individual terrorists tend to be motivated more by a desire for social solidarity with other members of their organization than by political platforms or strategic objectives, which are often murky and undefined. The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political or foreign opponents, and potentially legitimize the state's own use of terror against them. A less politically and emotionally charged, and better defined, term (used not only for terrorists, and not including all those who have been described as terrorists) is violent non-state actor. Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives. It has been practiced by both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. One form is the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual.

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AA 11 flight path from Boston to New York City
American Airlines Flight 11 was a scheduled U.S. domestic passenger flight from Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport. It was hijacked by five Islamic terrorists and deliberately crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City as part of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Fifteen minutes into the flight, the hijackers injured at least three people, forcefully breached the cockpit, and overpowered the pilot and first officer. Mohamed Atta, who was a known member of al-Qaeda, and trained as a pilot, took over the controls. Air traffic controllers noticed the flight was in distress when the crew stopped responding to them. They realized the flight had been hijacked when Atta mistakenly transmitted announcements for passengers to air traffic control. On board, two flight attendants contacted American Airlines, and provided information about the hijackers and injuries to passengers and crew. The aircraft crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 08:46 local time; the impact killed all 92 people aboard, including the hijackers. Many people in the streets witnessed the collision, and the Naudet brothers captured the impact on video, as did Pavel Hlava, and Wolfgang Staehle had a webcam set up that captured the impact through a series of photographs. Before the hijacking was confirmed, news agencies began to report on the incident and speculated that the crash had been an accident. The impact and subsequent fire caused the North Tower to collapse, which resulted in thousands of additional casualties. During the recovery effort at the World Trade Center site, workers recovered and identified dozens of remains from Flight 11 victims, but many other body fragments could not be identified.

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Oklahoma City bombing
Credit: FEMA Photo Library

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, April 26, 1995 -- A scene of the devastated Murrah Building following the Oklahoma City bombing

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Michael P. Murphy
Michael Patrick Murphy (May 7, 1976 – June 28, 2005) was a United States Navy SEAL posthumously awarded the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the current War in Afghanistan. He was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan; and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. Michael Murphy was born and raised in New York and after graduating from High school he went to Penn State, graduating with honors and dual degrees in both political science and psychology. After college he accepted a commission in the United States Navy and became a United States Navy SEAL in July 2002. Murphy was sent on several missions while participating in the Global War on Terrorism but was killed on June 28, 2005 after his squad was ambushed and surrounded by Taliban forces in Asadabad, Afghanistan. In addition to the Medal of Honor Murphy received other awards including the Silver Star and Purple heart as well as a United States Navy destroyer, Post office and park named in his honor.

Terrorism News

21 May 2019 – Aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings
Brenton Tarrant, who was accused of killing 51 people and wounding 49 others in two New Zealand mosques, is charged for terrorism. (New York Post) (Mid Day)
16 May 2019 – Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir
Multiple people are killed, including five terrorists, two civilians and two Indian soldiers, in Kashmir after a shootout. (Reuters)
15 May 2019 – Christchurch Call summit
Representatives from 17 world governments and various U.S. technology companies meet in Paris to support a set of anti-terrorism guidelines called the "Christchurch Call to Action" drafted by the governments of France and New Zealand. The White House expressed support for the "overall goals reflected" in this pledge, but refused to back it, citing freedom of speech concerns. (SBS)
29 April 2019 – Terrorism in the United States
A US Army veteran was planning to bomb a white nationalist rally in retribution for the shooting in New Zealand. He was also planning attacks on Jews. (BBC) (CNN)
28 April 2019 –
Six people are killed when terrorists storm a church in the Soum Province, Burkina Faso. The victims are the pastor, two of his sons and three other worshippers. (BBC)
19 April 2019 – 2019 Western Libya offensive, Libya–United States relations
The White House says President Donald Trump has spoken to Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar about recent developments in Libya. During the call, Trump recognised Haftar's efforts to combat Islamic terrorism and secure Libya's oil reserves. (BBC)

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Tommy Franks
"The global war on terrorism will be a long fight. But make no mistake about it: We are going to fight the terrorists."

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