The following is a synopsis of forty-one terrorist incidents that have resulted in US fatalities. The list begins with the event that initiated my own awakening to this problem, the bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. This is when I believe we should have begun the Global war on Terror. I’ve advocated it ever since.
This list only includes fatal attacks and only those with US victims. Not listed here are those that did not result in loss of life. Kidnappings and property damage incidents are also not listed.
October 23, 1983 — Simultaneous suicide truck bombs on U.S. and French compounds in Beirut, Lebanon. A 12,000 lb bomb destroys a US Marine Corps base killing two hundred and forty one U.S. citizens; another fifty eight Frenchmen are killed when a 400 lb device destroys one of their bases. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility. U.S. and French aircraft strike suspected terrorist bases in the Beka’a valley in retaliation.
November 15, 1983 — US Naval officer, CAPT George Tsantes, shot by November 17 terrorist group in Athens, Greece, when his car stopped at traffic lights.
March 16, 1984 — CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, William Buckley, kidnapped by the Iranian backed Islamic Jihad. He was tortured and then executed by his captors.
April 12, 1984 — Eighteen US servicemen killed and eighty three people injured in bomb attack on restaurant near USAF base in Torrejon, Spain. Responsibility claimed by Hezbollah as revenge for March bombing in Beirut.
September 20, 1984 — Suicide bomb attack on US Embassy in East Beirut kills twenty three people, 8 of them US citizens, and injures twenty one others. The US and British ambassadors were slightly injured in the explosion which was attributed to the Iranian backed Hezbollah group.
December 4, 1984 — Kuwaiti airliner hijacked en-route to Pakistan from Dubai by Iranian backed Iraqi Shia terrorists. The aircraft was forced to land in the Iranian capital, Tehran, after two U.S. citizens had been killed. The terrorists surrendered to the Iranian authorities and are later released.
February 7, 1985 — Under the orders of narcotrafficker Rafael Cero Quintero, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar and his pilot were kidnapped, tortured, and executed.
June 6, 1985 — Red Army Faction bomb explodes at Frankfurt Airport, Germany, killing three people. A TWA Boeing 727 was hijacked en route to Rome, Italy, from Athens, Greece, by two Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut, Lebanon. The eight crews and one hundred and forty five passengers were then held for seventeen days, during which one U.S. hostage was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers, on the aircraft’s return to Beirut the hostages were released after the US Government pressured the Israelis to release four hundred and thirty five Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.
June 14, 1985 — A Trans-World Airlines flight was hijacked en route to Rome from Athens by two Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut. The eight crew members and 145 passengers were held for 17 days, during which one U.S. hostage, a U.S. Navy sailor, was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers, the aircraft was returned to Beirut after Israel released 435 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.
August 8, 1985 — Three US servicemen are killed and seventeen injured in Red Army Faction bomb and gun attack on Rhine-Main airbase, Germany.
October 7 1985 — Four Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists seize the Italian cruise liner, Achille Lauro, during a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean, taking more than seven hundred people hostage. One US passenger, Leon Klinghofer, was murdered before the Egyptian Government offered the terrorists safe haven in return for the hostages’ freedom. US Navy fighters incepted the Egyptian aircraft flying the terrorists to safety in Tunis and forced it to land at the NATO airbase in Italy, where the terrorists were arrested. The Italian authorities however let two of the terrorists leaders escape on diplomatic passports.
March 30, 1986 — A Palestinian splinter group detonated a bomb as TWA Flight 840 approached Athens Airport, killing four U.S. citizens.
April 2, 1986 — Two US citizens are killed by the explosion of a bomb aboard a TWA Boeing 727 bound from Rome to Athens. Nine others are injured.
April 5, 1986 — Two US soldiers are killed and seventy nine U.S. servicemen are wounded in Libyan bomb attack on a night club in West Berlin, Germany.
April 14, 1987 — US Navy club in Naples, Italy, bombed by Japanese Red Army killing five.
April 24, 1987 — Sixteen U.S. servicemen riding in a Greek Air Force bus near Athens were injured in an apparent bombing attack, carried out by the revolutionary organization known as 17 November.
November 14, 1987 — Seven people are killed and 37 injured by the explosion of a booby-trapped chocolate box in a wing of the American University in Beirut.
December 26, 1987 — Catalan separatists bombed a Barcelona bar frequented by U.S. servicemen, resulting in the death of one U.S. citizen.
April 14, 1988 — The Organization of Jihad Brigades exploded a car bomb outside a USO Club in Naples, Italy, killing one U.S. sailor.
June 28, 1989 — Greek terrorists attacked and killed US Naval Attache, CAPT William Nordeen, in Athens. Nordeen used an armored car due to the persistent threat of small arms attack. Terrorists of the November 17th Organization (N-17) placed 50 pounds of explosives in a stolen car 100 yards from his apartment and command detonated it as he drove by. The attack followed several weeks of surveillance by the terrorists
August 8, 1988 — Pakistan president Zia Al Haq and US ambassador are killed, along with thirty seven other people, when a bomb explodes on a C-130 Hercules aircraft just after take off from Bahawalpu, Pakistan.
December 21, 1988 — Pan Am Boeing 747 blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, by a bomb believed to have been placed on the aircraft at Frankfurt Airport, Germany. All 259 people (189 US citizens) on the aircraft were killed by the blast which has been attributed to a number of Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Two Libyan intelligence operatives are being tried in connection with this attack.
February 26. 1993 — World Trade Center in New York, USA, badly damaged by a massive bomb planted by Islamic terrorists. The car bomb was planted in an underground garage and left six people dead and more than one thousand people injured.
July 19, 1994 — A commuter plane exploded in flight over the Santa Rita Mountains. Among the 21 victims were Israeli nationals, dual Israeli-Panamanian citizens, and three US citizens.
January 15, 1995 — A US tourist was killed and her husband was seriously wounded when Khmer Rouge rebels attacked their sightseeing convoy. A tour guide also was killed when the assailants fired a rocket at the van.
March 8, 1995 — Two unidentified gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles opened fire on a US Consulate van in Karachi, killing two US diplomats and wounding a third. The Pakistani driver was not hurt.
November 13, 1995 — A car bomb explosion in the parking lot of the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM/SANG) in Riyadh, killed seven persons and wounded 42 others. The deceased include four US federal civilian employees, one US military person, and two Indian Government employees. The blast severely damaged the three-story building, which houses a US military advisory group, and several neighboring office buildings. Three groups, including the Islamic Movement for Change, claimed responsibility for the attack.
January 31, 1996 — Suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eel am (LTTE) rammed an explosives-laden truck into the Central Bank in the heart of downtown Colombo, killing 90 civilians and injuring more than 1,400 others. Among the wounded were two US citizens, six Japanese, and one Dutch national. The explosion caused major damage to the Central Bank building, an American Express office, the Intercontinental Hotel, and several other buildings.
February 26, 1996 — A suicide bomber blew up a bus, killing 26 persons, including three US citizens, and injuring some 80 persons, including three other US citizens. HAMAS’s Izz al-Din al-Qassem Battalion claimed responsibility for the bombing in retaliation for the Hebron massacre two years before, but later denied involvement. HAMAS also issued a leaflet assuming responsibility for the bombing signed by the Squads of the New Disciples of Martyr Yahya Ayyash, the Engineer, claiming the bombing was in retaliation for Ayyash’s death on 5 January 1996.
March 4, 1996 — A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv’s largest shopping mall, killing 20 persons and injuring 75 others, including two US citizens. HAMAS and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) both claimed responsibility for the bombing.
June 25, 1996 — A fuel truck carrying a bomb exploded outside the US military’s Khobar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, killing 19 US military personnel and wounding 515 persons, including 240 US personnel. Several groups claimed responsibility for the attack, which remains under investigation.
December 11, 1996 — Five armed men claiming to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) kidnapped a US geologist at a methane gas exploration site in La Guajira Department. (The geologist was killed, and his body was retrieved by Colombian authorities in February 1997.)
September 4, 1997 — Three suicide bombers detonated bombs in the Ben Yehuda shopping mall in Jerusalem, killing eight persons, including the bombers, and wounding nearly 200 others. A dual US-Israeli citizen was among the dead, and seven US citizens were wounded. The Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), claimed responsibility for the attack.
November 12, 1997 — One day, after the conviction of Mir Aimal Kansi, two unidentified gunmen shot to death four US auditors from Union Texas Petroleum and their Pakistani driver after they drove away from the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. The Islami Inqilabi Council, or Islamic Revolutionary Council, claimed responsibility in a call to the US Consulate in Karachi. The Aimal Secret Committee, or Aimal Khufia Action Committee, also claimed responsibility in a letter to Pakistani newspapers.
August 7, 1998 — A bomb exploded at the rear entrance of the US Embassy in Nairobi, killing 12 US citizens, 32 Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs), and 247 Kenyan citizens. Approximately 5,000 Kenyans, six US citizens, and 13 FSNs were injured. The US Embassy building sustained extensive structural damage. The US Government is holding terrorist financier Osama bin Laden responsible. Almost simultaneously, a bomb detonated outside the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, killing seven FSNs and three Tanzanian citizens, and injuring one US citizen and 76 Tanzanians. The explosion caused major structural damage to the US Embassy facility. The US Government holds Osama bin Laden responsible.
February 25, 1999 — The FARC kidnapped three US citizens, according to media reports. The victims worked for the Hawaii-based Pacific Cultural Conservancy International. On 4 March the bodies of the three victims were found in Venezuela. FARC leaders claimed rogue elements within the organization were responsible.
March 1, 1999 — According to French diplomatic reports, 150 armed Hutu rebels attacked three tourist camps, killed four Ugandans, and abducted three US citizens, six Britons, three New Zealanders, two Danish citizens, one Australian, and one Canadian national. On 2 March, US Embassy officials reported the Hutu rebels killed two US citizens, four Britons, and two New Zealanders. The rebels released the remaining hostages.
September 6, 2000 — Thousands of armed militiamen and their supporters rampaged through a U.N. office in West Timor, killing at least three workers – including one from Puerto Rico – and burning their bodies.
October 12, 2000 — In Aden, a small dingy carrying explosives rammed the US destroyer, USS Cole, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39 others. Supporters of Osama bin Laden are suspected.
That’s 573 US lives lost. The next incident on this list would be the September 11, 2001 attacks. Terrorists hijack four US commercial airliners taking off from various locations in the US in a coordinated suicide attack.
It was a slow start; we’re finally rolling.