The United States Law Code defines terrorism as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." In recent decades, there have been tens of thousands of such terror attacks carried out by Islamists, in the name of their faith, all over the world -- ranging from small-scale incidents that resulted in few casualties, to large-scale disasters that killed hundreds, even thousands.
The United States was stunned by an act of Islamic terrorism on February 26, 1993, when followers of Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric who preached in the New York City area, set off a powerful car bomb in the World Trade Center -- with the intent of toppling the tower and killing tens of thousands. Ultimately the blast left 6 people dead and at least 1,000 injured.
On March 12, 1993, a series of bombs, planted by Muslim underworld figures, were detonated in Bombay, India, killing some 260 people and injuring 713.
On November 19, 1995, an Islamic suicide bomber drove a vehicle into the Egyptian Embassy compound in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least 16 and injuring 60.
On February 26, 1996 in Jerusalem, a Hamas suicide bomber blew up a bus, killing 26 and wounding 80.
On March 4, 1996, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for a bombing outside of Tel Aviv's largest shopping mall that killed 20 people and injured 75.
On June 25, 1996, a fuel truck carrying a bomb exploded outside the U.S. military's Khobar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. military personnel and wounding 515 people, including 240 U.S. personnel. Fourteen perpetrators were involved, and all were members of the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah.
On November 17, 1997 -- at the Hatshepsut Temple near Luxor, Egypt -- several gunmen affiliated with the extremist Islamic Group shot and killed 58 tourists and four Egyptians (and wounded 26 others).
On February 14, 1998, radical Islamists detonated 13 bombs in Coimbatore, India, killing 46 and injuring more than 200.
On August 7, 1998, al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists exploded a bomb at the rear entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 291 people and injuring more than 5,000. Almost simultaneously, a bomb detonated outside the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 87 people.
On October 12, 2000 in Yemen, supporters of Osama bin Laden maneuvered a small dingy close to the destroyer U.S.S. Cole and fired a powerful explosive that put a 40-foot by 60-foot gash in the side of the ship, killing 17 American sailors and injuring 39 others.
On August 9, 2001, a Hamas-planted bomb detonated in a Jerusalem pizzeria, killing 15 people and wounding more than 90.
On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorists orchestrated the hijacking of two U.S. airliners and crashed them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, causing both structures to collapse. Soon thereafter, the Pentagon was struck by a third hijacked plane. Then a fourth hijacked plane, suspected to be bound for a high-profile target in Washington DC, crashed into a field in southern Pennsylvania. All told, the attacks killed 3,025 people.
On December 2, 2001, a Hamas suicide bomber aboard a bus in Haifa, Israel, killed 15 people and wounded 40.
On January 23, 2002, Islamic terrorists kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi, Pakistan and beheaded him.
On March 27, 2002, a Hamas suicide bombing in a noted restaurant in Netanya, Israel, killed 22 people and wounded 140.
On April 11, 2002, a suicide bomber detonated a truck loaded with propane gas outside a historic synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, killing 16 and wounding 26.
On May 9, 2002, al Qaeda-linked terorists detonated a remotely-controlled bomb near a May Day parade in Russia, killing 42 and wounding 150.
On June 14, 2002, a car bomb exploded near the U.S. Consulate and the Marriott Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan. Eleven people were killed and 51 were wounded.
On September 24, 2002, Lashkar-e-Taiba militants attacked the Akshardham temple in India, killing 35 people.
On October 12, 2002, a car bomb exploded outside the Sari Club Discotheque in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, killing 202 people and wounding 300 more. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.
On October 23-26, 2002, fifty Chechen rebels seized the Palace of Culture Theater in Moscow, Russia, and took more than 800 hostages and threatened to blow up the theater. During a three-day siege, the captors killed a Russian policeman and five Russian hostages. On October 26, Russian Special Forces pumped an anesthetic gas through the ventilation system and then stormed the theater. All of the rebels were killed, but 94 hostages also died, many from the effects of the gas.
On November 28, 2002, a car-bomb attack on the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya killed 15 people and wounded 40. That same day, near Mombasa’s airport, two SA-7 shoulder-fired missiles were fired as an Arkia Airlines Boeing 757 that was carrying 261 passengers back to Israel. Both missiles missed. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for both attacks.
On December 27, 2002, a suicide bomb attack involving two explosives-laden trucks destroyed the offices of the pro-Russian Chechen government in Grozny. The attack killed more than 80 people and wounded 210.
On January 5, 2003, two suicide bomb attacks killed 22 and wounded at least 100 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility.
On March 5, 2003, a suicide bombing aboard a bus in Haifa, Israel, killed 15 and wounded at least 40.
On March 13, 2003, a powerful bomb blast aboard a local train in Mumbai, India killed 11 people and injured more than 65.
On May 12, 2003, al Qaeda suicide bombers attacked three residential compounds for foreign workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing 25 people.
Also on May 12, 2003, a truck bomb explosion demolished a government compound in Znamenskoye, Chechnya, killing 54 people.
On May 16, 2003, a team of 12 suicide bombers attacked five targets in Casablanca, Morocco, killing 43 and wounding 100.
On June 11, 2003, a Hamas suicide bombing aboard a bus in Jerusalem killed 16 and wounded at least 70.
On August 1, 2003, a suicide truck bomb destroyed a Russian military hospital and killed 50 people.
On August 5, 2003, a car bomb exploded outside the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 10 and wounding 150.
On August 19, 2003, a suicide bombing aboard a bus in Jerusalem killed 21 people and injured at least 100.
On August 23, 2003, two bombings in India killed 52 people and injured 167. Terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Students Islamic Movement of India were behind the attacks.
On October 4, 2003, a Palestinian woman carried out a suicide-bomb attack on a restaurant in Haifa, killing 19 people and wounding at least 55. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
On October 27, 2003, a series of suicide car bombings in Baghdad killed at least 35 and wounded more than 230.
On November 8, 2003, a suicide car bombing took place in the Muhaya residential compound in Saudi Arabia, killing 17 and injuring 122.
On November 12, 2003, a suicide truck bomb destroyed the headquarters of the Italian military police in Nasiriyah, Iraq, killing 29 and wounding at least 100.
On November 15, 2003, two suicide truck bombs exploded outside the Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 25 and wounding at least 300.
On November 20, 2003, two more suicide truck bombings devastated the British HSBC Bank and the British Consulate General in Istanbul, killing 27 and wounding more than 450.
On December 5, 2003, a suicide bomb attack killed 42 people and wounded 150 aboard a Russian commuter train in the south Russian town of Yessentuki.
On March 11, 2004, a series of coordinated bombings aboard commuter trains in Madrid, Spain killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800. An investigation by the Spanish Judiciary determined that the attacks were directed by a Muslim, al Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell.
On July 7, 2005, four Muslim men carried out a series of coordinated suicide bombings on London's public transport system during the morning rush hour. The attacks resulted in 56 deaths and more than 700 injuries.
On October 29, 2005, an Islamic terrorist group killed 67 people and wounded 224 in a series of bombings in Pakistani marketplaces.
In addition to the foregoing attacks, there have been several failed terror plots that, if they had succeeded, would have killed many hundreds, even thousands, of people.
In December 2001, for instance, al Qaeda operative Richard Reid attempted to destroy a commercial aircraft in-flight by detonating explosives hidden in his shoes; he was subdued by fellow passengers before he could successfully execute his plan.
Muslim convert Jose Padilla was arrested in May 2002 when investigators learned of his plans to blow up multiple high-rise buildings in the U.S., and to detonate a “dirty” radiological bomb in an urban area.
Operation Bojinka (Serbian for "loud bang") was a massive, complex plot hatched by Islamic terrorist Ramzi Yousef following the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center, in which Yousef had played a major role. Yousef’s new plan called for several al Qaeda operatives to work in concert to destroy eleven U.S.-bound airliners, in-flight, over the Pacific Ocean almost simultaneously on January 21, 1995. The plot was discovered by U.S. intelligence officials before it could be carried out. At the time of his arrest, Yousef was also actively plotting ways to assassinate Pope John Paul II and President Bill Clinton; to attack the U.S. Consular Office in Karachi, Pakistan; to attack nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom, France and the U.S.; to blow up American cargo planes; and to attack CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia.
On Christmas Day 2009, an al Qaeda terrorist from Nigeria tried to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 -- which was carrying nearly 300 people from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan -- by injecting chemicals into a package of explosives concealed in his underwear. He was subdued by fellow passengers before he could successfully detonate the explosives.