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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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Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six Bosnian Serb assassins coordinated by Danilo Ilić. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood behind the attack. At the top of these Serbian military conspirators was Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Dragutin Dimitrijević, his righthand man Major Vojislav Tankosić, and Masterspy Rade Malobabić. Major Tankosić armed (with bombs and pistols) and trained the assassins, and the assassins were given access to the same clandestine tunnel of safe-houses and agents that Rade Malobabić used for the infiltration of weapons and operatives into Austria-Hungary. The assassins, the key members of the clandestine tunnel, and the key Serbian military conspirators who were still alive were arrested, tried, convicted and punished. Those who were arrested in Bosnia were tried in Sarajevo in October 1914. The other conspirators were arrested and tried before a Serbian kangaroo court on the French-controlled Salonika Front in 1916–1917 on unrelated false charges; Serbia executed three of the top military conspirators. Much of what is known about the assassinations comes from these two trials and related records. Assignment of responsibility for the bombing and murders of 28 June is highly controversial because the attack led to the outbreak of World War I one month later.

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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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1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack

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7 July 2005 London bombings

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Assata Shakur
Assata Shakur (born 1947) is an African-American activist who was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. From 1971 to 1973, Shakur was accused of several crimes, of which she would never be convicted, and made the subject of a multi-state manhunt. In May 1973, Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike, during which she and Trooper James Harper were wounded; New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and BLA member Zayd Malik Shakur suffered fatal injuries. In 1977, she was convicted of the first-degree murder of Foerster and of seven other felonies related to the shootout. Between 1973 and 1977, Shakur was indicted in relation to six other alleged criminal incidents—charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, bank robbery, and kidnapping—resulting in three acquittals and three dismissals. Shakur was then incarcerated in several facilities, where her treatment drew criticism from some human rights groups. She escaped from prison in 1979 and has been living in Cuba with political asylum since 1984. Since May 2, 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has classified her as a "domestic terrorist" and offered a $1 million reward for assistance in her capture. Attempts to extradite her have resulted in letters to the pope and a Congressional resolution. Shakur was the aunt of hip hop artist Tupac Shakur (the sister of his stepfather, Mutulu Shakur), and her life has been portrayed in literature, film, and song.

Terrorism News

15 July 2019 – Terrorism in Italy
A police raid on a neo-Nazi group in northern Italy results in the arrest of three people. Sophisticated weaponry, including a surface-to-air missile, were seized during the operation. (BBC)
13 July 2019 – Terrorism in the United States
Four policemen kill a suspect attempting to attack an ICE immigrant detention center in Tacoma, Washington. The perpetrator was armed with a rifle and incendiary devices, and had left a three-page manifesto advocating violence against fascism. (BBC) (Heavy)
9 July 2019 – Argentina–Lebanon relations
Argentine President Mauricio Macri issues a decree declaring Hezbollah a "terrorist organization". (La Nación)
26 June 2019 – Terrorism in Canada
Canada's government adds Neo-Nazi groups Blood & Honour and Combat 18 to its list of designated terrorist organizations. It is the first time that extreme far-right groups have been designated as terrorist in Canada. Three Shia militant groups, including the Iranian-backed Al-Ashtar Brigades are also banned. (Global News)
24 June 2019 – Iran and state-sponsored terrorism, Terrorism in Europe
The British newspaper Independent in Arabic quotes an intelligence source as saying that in 2018 Iran had delivered half a ton of TATP explosives in diplomatic packages to a civilian plane that was supposed to be transferred to Paris to carry out an attack in the city. (The Jerusalem Post)
19 June 2019 –
The House Democrats vote to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, which is used to authorize war. (Vox) (HuffPost)

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Russ Feingold
"It is crucial that civil liberties in this country be preserved, otherwise, the terrorists will win the battle against American values without firing another shot."

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