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United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks of 2001 in New York City.

Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime or in war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity during the U.S. presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981–89) after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings and again after the 2001 September 11 attacks and the 2002 Bali bombings.

There is no commonly accepted definition of "terrorism". Being a charged term, with the connotation of something "morally wrong", it is often used, both by governments and non-state groups, to abuse or denounce opposing groups. Broad categories of political organisations have been claimed to have been involved in terrorism to further their objectives, including right-wing and left-wing political organisations, nationalist groups, religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments. Terrorism-related legislation has been adopted in various states, regarding "terrorism" as a crime. There is no universal agreement as to whether or not "terrorism", in some definition, should be regarded as a war crime.

According to the Global Terrorism Database maintained by the University of Maryland, College Park, more than 61,000 incidents of non-state terrorism, resulting in at least 140,000 deaths, were recorded between 2000 and 2014.

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Panipat rail station
The 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings were a terrorist attack that occurred around midnight on 18 February 2007 on the Samjhauta Express, a twice-weekly train service connecting Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan. Bombs were set off in two carriages, both filled with passengers, just after the train passed Diwana station near the Indian city of Panipat, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of New Delhi. Sixty-eight people were killed in the ensuing fire and dozens more were injured. Of the 68 fatalities, most were Pakistani civilians, but the victims included some Indian civilians and Indian military personnel guarding the train. Investigators subsequently found evidence of suitcases with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and flammable material, including three undetonated IEDs. Inside one of the suitcases containing the undetonated IEDs, a digital timer encased in transparent plastic was packed alongside a dozen plastic bottles containing fuel oils and chemicals. After the bombings, eight unaffected carriages were allowed to continue onwards to Lahore with passengers. Both the Indian and Pakistani governments condemned the attack, and officials on both sides speculated that the perpetrators intended to disrupt improving relations between the two nations, since the attack came just a day before Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri was to arrive in New Delhi to resume peace talks with Indian leaders. There have been a number of breaks in the investigation of the bombings but as of May 2008 nobody has been charged for the crime.

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Abu Nidal was born in Jaffa
Abu Nidal (Arabic: أبو نضال‎) (May 1937 – August 16, 2002), born Sabri Khalil al-Banna (Arabic: صبري خليل البنا), was the founder of Fatah–The Revolutionary Council (Arabic: فتح المجلس الثوري), a militant Palestinian group more commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO). At the height of his power in the 1970s and 1980s, Abu Nidal, or "father of the struggle", was widely regarded as the most dangerous and ruthless of the Palestinian political leaders. He told Der Spiegel in 1985: "I am the evil spirit which moves around only at night causing ... nightmares." Part of the secular, left-wing, Palestinian rejectionist front, so called because they reject proposals for a peaceful settlement with Israel, the ANO was formed after a split in 1974 between Abu Nidal and Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Setting himself up as a freelance contractor, Abu Nidal is believed to have ordered attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring over 900 people. The group's most notorious attacks were on the El Al ticket counters at Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, when Arab gunmen high on amphetamines opened fire on passengers in simultaneous shootings, killing 18 and wounding 120. Patrick Seale, Abu Nidal's biographer, wrote of the attacks that their "random cruelty marked them as typical Abu Nidal operations". Abu Nidal died of between one and four gunshot wounds in Baghdad in August 2002. Palestinian sources believe he was killed on the orders of Saddam Hussein, but the Iraqi government insisted he had committed suicide. The Guardian wrote on the news of his death: "He was the patriot turned psychopath. He served only himself, only the warped personal drives that pushed him into hideous crime. He was the ultimate mercenary."

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"There is an alternative to terrorism. It's called justice."
Arundhati Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire (2004)

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