Chapter 1: Terrorism: The Curse of our Times?
1. Terrorism: The Curse of Our Times? TERRORISM TODAY This century began with one of the most devastating terrorist acts ever. On September 11, 2001 two passenger aircraft were hijacked by Islamic al Qaeda terrorists and deliberately crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, leading to their collapse. The same day another hijacked aircraft crashed into the Pentagon and another crashed in Pennsylvania. These attacks cost a considerable number of lives. The overall death toll amounted to approximately 3000 casualties from more than 90 countries around the world. The event attracted huge media attention. Hundreds of millions of TV viewers witnessed the collapse of the two landmark skyscrapers of New York. It triggered an unprecedented step up in the ‘war against terrorism’ under the leadership of the United States, supported by a broad coalition of a large number of countries, including all the major powers. As a result, the Taliban government of Afghanistan supporting al Qaeda was wiped out. One may rightly say that a new stage in the conﬂict between terrorists and governments has been reached. We are today plagued by many other ongoing terrorist activities. It might be useful to mention some of the best-known examples: ● ● ● ● the Basque ETA (Euzkadi ta Askatasuma), which regularly assassinates politicians and explodes bombs all over Spain; al Qaeda exploded bombs in three train stations in Madrid on March 11, 2004, killing around 200 people; the IRA (Irish Republican Army) which, since 1969, has undertaken terrorist...
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