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Terrorist Attacks

Terrorist Attacks

In the United States, the generally accepted definition of terrorism is the systematic use or threat of violence to create a general atmosphere of fear in order to intimidate a population or government and thereby cause political, religious or ideological change. The largest terrorist attack in the United States was the series of terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It was a series of four coordinated suicide attacks by the militant Islamic extremist network al-Qaeda. On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners en route from the northeastern United States to California. The attackers were organized into three groups of five and one group of four, with each group including one designated flight-trained hijacker who took control of the aircraft. Their goal was to crash the planes into prominent American buildings, resulting in massive casualties and severe structural damage. The hijackers successfully crashed the first two planes into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane was supposed to hit the federal government building in Washington, D.C., but instead crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after a passenger uprising that prevented the attack.

It was not the last terrorist attack in the United States. In the 15 years since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been 85 fatal extremist incidents. Far-right extremist groups were responsible for 73 percent of them, according to a 2017 U.S. Government Accountability Office report, while radical Islamist extremists were responsible for 27 percent of the terrorist attacks. The total number of deaths caused by each group was about the same, although 41% of the deaths were attributed to radical Islamists, all in one event, the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting in which 49 people were injured. They were all killed by a lone gunman. No deaths are attributed to leftist groups.

In 2018, most ideologically motivated murders in the United States were linked to right-wing extremism . As of 2020, right-wing extremist terrorism accounted for the majority of terrorist attacks in the United States. In October 2020, the Department of Homeland Security reported that supporters of white supremacy posed the highest threat of domestic terrorism, which FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed in March 2021, noting that the bureau had raised the threat to the same level as ISIS.

An example of this would be one of the most high-profile terrorist attacks of 2022, the Buffalo, N.Y., terrorist attack that killed 10 people and injured three others. On May 14, 2022, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron walked into a Tops supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood and opened fire with a gun. The markings on the perpetrator's gun were pro-white supremacy, including a reference to "14 words." , a popular slogan of supporters of white supremacy: "We must ensure the existence of our people and a future for white children." The day before, he had published a so-called "manifesto. Judging by its content, the shooter is a rabid racist and anti-Semite: the manifesto, among other things, calls for war between Jews and non-Jews. "We outnumber them by a factor of 100, and they are not strong by themselves," he wrote. "But with their Jewish customs they pit us against each other. When you understand this, you will realize that the Jews are the biggest problem the Western world has ever had. They must be called out and killed, and if they are lucky, they will be banished. We cannot show sympathy for them again."

The language of this "manifesto" closely echoes the themes of previous rants published by pro-white supremacy shooters, and repeatedly refers to the virulently racist and anti-Semitic "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, which claims that Jews are responsible for non-white immigration to the United States and that non-white immigrants will eventually replace (and lead to the extinction of) the white race.

During a press conference, police said that Gendron arrived on the scene around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, wearing tactical armor, a tactical helmet, and a body-worn camera. Gendron is said to have shot four people in the parking lot in front of the store entrance. Once inside, he reportedly shot customers, a security guard and other employees. The security guard reportedly tried to shoot Gendron, but was unable to penetrate the tactical armor. Gendron tried to shoot himself in the neck when confronted by Buffalo police, but eventually surrendered. Of the 13 victims, 11 were black and two were white. The shooter attempted to broadcast the shooting live on the popular gaming platform Twitch, but the link was quickly removed.

The New America Analytic Center in Washington, D.C., analyzed 251 murders it determined were committed by U.S. domestic terrorists since the Sept. 11 disaster. Its report concluded that far-right extremists killed 114 people in more than three dozen violent attacks, while American individuals, whom it calls "jihadists," killed 107 people in 14 attacks.

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