2005: Another Deadly Year in Islamic Terrorism
Targeting the West at Home and Abroad
Posted: March 7, 2006
On July 7, Western Europe suffered its first-ever suicide bombing in a coordinated attack on London’s mass transit system. During the morning rush hour, four suicide bombers struck three Underground stations and a bus, killing 52 people and wounding hundreds of others. The “Secret Organization - Al Qaeda Organization of Jihad in Europe” claimed responsibility for the bombing - the deadliest in London since World War II – on a Web site often used by various Islamic militant groups. In its statement, the group said “it is time for revenge against the crusader and Zionist British government, in response to the massacre carried out by Great Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Two weeks later, on July 21, London was again the target of a terrorist attack, as a second series of four explosions targeted the city’s mass transit system. Unlike the July 7 attacks, however, the primary bombs failed to ignite and the triggering mechanism caused only small explosions. Dozens of people were arrested in connection with the July 21 bombing, including four suspected would-be bombers.
While Westerners have been targeted by terrorists around the globe for many years, 2005 saw a significant rise in the number and severity of terrorist attacks against Western tourists. Major bombings in Egypt, Indonesia and Jordan escalated the campaign against tourists and illustrated how terrorist groups attack foreign visitors to pursue their dual agenda of driving Western influences from Muslim and Arab lands and destabilizing local governments.
On July 23, at least 88 people were killed and over 100 others injured when three explosions ripped through a shopping area and hotel packed with tourists in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik. Two Islamic militant groups, including one claiming affiliation with Al Qaeda, took responsibility for the attacks, the deadliest in the country’s history. In addition to the large number of tourists killed, many victims were members of the resort’s staff.
On October 1, a series of suicide bombings at two beach resorts in Bali, Indonesia, killed at least 23 people and wounded over 100 others. Three separate bombs tore through restaurants packed with diners in Jimbaran Beach and Kuta Beach. Among the dead and wounded were Indonesians, Australians, Japanese, Koreans and Americans. Indonesian anti-terror officials suspect that Jemaah Islamiyah, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group that seeks to overthrow the Indonesian government and create an Islamic state in Southeast Asia, masterminded the attacks.
On November 9, at least 57 people were killed and over 96 injured in a series of coordinated suicide bombs at three hotels in Amman, Jordan. All three hotels are affiliated with U.S.-based hospitality chains and are popular with foreign tourists, including Americans and Israelis. Most of the victims, though, were Jordanian, including many who had been attending a wedding party at the Radisson. The terrorist group Al Qaeda in Iraq, headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted to an Islamic Web site. In its claim, Al Qaeda in Iraq stated that it had attacked Jordan because it is a “backyard garden for…Jews and crusaders” and a “filthy place for the traitors.”