October 19, 2011

Al Qaeda Attacks: A Chronology

Since Al Qaeda's formation in 1988, the organization has been credited with scores of terror attacks around the globe, which have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Here is a partial list of some of the higher-profile acts attributed to the group. In some cases, Al Qaeda has proclaimed responsibility, while in others, law enforcement and/or intelligence agencies have concluded that the group or one of its numerous affiliates are responsible.

December 1992: Al Qaeda operatives set off a bomb at the Gold Mohur hotel in Aden, Yemen, where U.S. troops were lodged on their way to Somalia. They also attempted to bomb a second hotel, the Aden Movenpick. No Americans were killed, but two Australian tourists lost their lives.

February 1993: Ramzi Yousef detonated an explosives-filled van in the basement of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing six people and wounding 1,000. Yousef wasn't directly under the command of Osama, but he collaborated with sheikh Abdul Rahman, a blind cleric with financial links to Osama.

March 1993: Al Qaeda operatives set off 13 bombs in Mumbai, India, killing 250 people.

December 1994: A bomb planted by Ramzi Yousef exploded on a Philippines Airlines Boeing 747, killing one passenger. The captain was able to land the damaged plane, saving the remaining 292 passengers and crew.

June 1996: A truck bomb exploded outside a U.S. military housing complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. servicemen.

August 1998: Al Qaeda operatives bombed U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 200 people and injuring 5,000.

October 2000: A suicide bomber blew himself up alongside the U.S.S Cole in Aden, Yemen, while the Navy ship was refueling. Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 were injured.

September 2001: Al Qaeda operatives hijacked four U.S. jetliners. Two of the planes are crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, while another plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth, presumably on the way to attack another target in Washington, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers and crew members fought the hijackers for control of the plane.

December 2001: On a flight from Paris to Miami, Al Qaeda operative Richard Reid attempted to detonate explosives concealed in his shoes. He was thwarted by flight attendants and passengers.

October 2002: Al Qaeda operatives detonate three bombs in the Kuta district of the Indonesian island of Bali. A car bomb and a suicide bomber wearing a backpack device detonate near popular nightclubs, killing 202 people and injuring 240. Another smaller device goes off outside the U.S. Consulate in Densasar, fortunately causing only minor damage to the building. Members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian Islamic extremist group with ties to Al Qaeda, are convicted in the attacks.

November 2003: Four truck bomb attacks in Istanbul over a five day period killed 57 people and wound 700.

February 2004: Islamic extremists linked to Al Qaeda detonated a bomb on a ferry in the Philippines, killing 116 people.

March 2004: A series of coordinated bombings in Madrid's commuter train system killed 191 people and injuring 1,800 more. A Spanish prosecutor determined in 2006 that the attacks were carried out by a group that included Moroccan, Egyptian and Spanish Islamic extremists, who responded to an appeal by Osama bin Laden to affiliated groups to attack countries that participated in the war against Iraq. Osama and his immediate underlings, however, were not involved in the attacks' planning.

May 2004: Seventeen terrorists attacked and held captive the personnel of two oil industry installations in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. After a 25-hour siege, 41 hostages were freed, but 22 were killed and 25 were injured. A man claiming to be an Al Qaeda leader posted an account of the attack on the Internet and claimed responsibility for directing it.

July 2005: Four Al Qaeda operatives, three of them of British-Pakistani descent, detonated three bombs on the London Underground and one on a double-decker bus, killing 52 people and injuring 700. Four terrorists also died in the attack.

July 2005: A group claiming linkage to Al Qaedastaged multiple suicide bombings in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 88 people and injuring more than 200.

November 2005: Al Qaeda suicide bombers attacked several hotels in Amman, Jordan, killing 60 people and injuring hundreds.

July 2006: Terrorists set off seven bombs near-simultaneously on a railway network in the suburbs of Mumbai, India, killing 209 people and injuring 700.

April 2007: Multiple bomb blasts in Algers, Algeria, including one set in front of the Algerian prime minister's headquarters, killed 45 people. An Al Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility.

June 2008: A car bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan killed six people and injured 24 others. Al Qaeda later claimed responsibility, saying the attack was retaliation for publication in Denmark of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

December 2009: A Nigerian named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up an airliner flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, minutes before it was due to land in the U.S. Passengers prevented him from triggering an explosive device attached to his body. Once in custody, Abdulmutallab allegedly claimed to be linked to Al Qaeda.

October 2010: Two bombs concealed in packages were found on cargo planes flying from Yemen to the U.S. An Al Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility. The bombs reportedly were timed to explode over the eastern U.S.

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