Ten Worst Terrorist Acts of the Past Decade

After the 9/11 attacks, acts of terrorism have continued largely unabated worldwide. Here are the worst acts of terror over the past decade.

Since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon nearly 12 years ago, terrorism has been at the forefront of world conflict, but many people haven’t been fully aware that the litany of terror attacks and attempts to prevent these crimes has continued throughout the world, seemingly unabated.

This summary is intended to provide the reader a review of the top ten terrorist attacks of the past decade, one per year, from 2002 to present. The criteria used to rate the attacks are death/injury toll, and the fact that these acts are considered not to be state sponsored acts of terrorism. (Total acts of terrorism figures for 2004 and earlier were unavailable from the U.S. State Department website.)

2002 – Kuta Bombings, Bali

In 2002 the worst act of terror occurred on October 12, on the Indonesian Island of Bali, in the tourist district of Kuta. 202 people were killed, including 88 Australians, 27 Britons and 7 Americans. 240 people were injured. Various members of the violent Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah were convicted of the three separate bombing attacks that caused the carnage.

2003 – Istanbul Bombings, Turkey

On November 15 and 20 in Istanbul Turkey, four separate bombing incidents, two at synagogues, one at the British consulate and one at the HSBC bank killed 67 people and injured another 700. A Syrian, claiming to be a “warrior for Al-Qaeda” and 6 Syrians were sentenced to 67 consecutive life terms for the acts.

2004 – Beslan Hostage Situation, Russia

On September 1, armed Islamic separatists, mostly Ingush and Chechen, took 1,100 people hostage at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia-Aslana, Russia. On the third day of this siege, Russian forces entered the school with tanks and incendiary rockets. The result was 385 dead, including 177 children.

2005 – Sharm El-Sheikh Attacks, Egypt

On July 23, a series of Islamist attacks in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh on the southern Sinai peninsula resulted in the deaths of 88 people, wounding another 200, mostly Egyptian. A group calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility.

2006 – Sadr City Bombs, Iraq

On November 23, 6 car bombs and 2 mortar attacks were carried out on a Shia slum in the Iraqi town of Sadr City. The attacks resulted in 215 dead and 257 injured. Perpetrator of this attack was Al-Qaeda.

2007 – Yazidi Car Bombs, Iraq

On August 14, car bombing attacks in the Yazidi communities of Northern Iraq west of Mosul left 796 dead and 1,562 wounded. Carried out by Al-Qaeda, these are the second deadliest terror attacks in history, second only to the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

2008 – Mumbai Shooting and Bombing, India

On 26-29 November, 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks in India’s largest city of Mumbai resulted in the deaths of 164 people and the wounding of another 308. 37 members of the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, mostly Pakistani, were held responsible.

2009 – Baghdad Suicide Car Bombings, Iraq

Two suicide car bombs detonated in Baghdad on October killing 155 people and injuring 721. The perpetrators were a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq, and the arrest of the mastermind, Munaf Abdul Rahim al-Rawi also led to the death of at least two high ranking Al-Qaeda leaders.

2010 – Lakki Markwat Suicide Bombing, Pakistan

On January 1 in the Lakki Marwat District, Pakistan, a suicide bomber blew up an SUV filled with explosives in the midst of a crowd gathered to watch a volleyball game. The explosion killed 105 and injured over 100 people. No group claimed responsibility, it is thought that this was because so many civilians were killed.

2011 – San Fernando Drug Cartel Murders, Mexico

On April 10-12, the mass grave of 173 people murdered by the drug cartel Los Zetas was discovered in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The grisly details of the hijacked vehicles, kidnappings and the murders that took place leading to the discovery are well documented.

The data for 2012 is still being compiled in by the U.S. State Department, but suffice to say that the total number of acts of terrorism has continued largely unabated for several years. Using negotiations in each of these attacks was largely impossible, as the acts of terrorist came without warning. They were not used to bring something to the negotiation table, but simply to cause death and destruction.


By Alisha Webb. Alisha is British writer working out of Barcelona, she writes for The Gap Partnership HK – Negotiation experts.


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