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Significant Terrorism Events in the News: Feb. 21 - March 25, 2012


START's Significant Terrorism Events in the News is designed to give a brief overview of the past month's most significant developments in terms of terrorism and counterterrorism. The cases were selected based on visibility in the news and regional diversity. The articles selected are intended to be a sample of current events regarding terrorism around the world and not a definitive list.

Nepal: Little-known group claims responsibility for bombing and then denies it

The Samyukta Jatiya Mukti Morcha-Bishwokranti (SJMM), or United Ethnic Liberation Front, has claimed responsibility for a bombing at the front gate to the Nepal Oil Corporation's office Feb. 27. Three people were killed and seven were wounded. The group claimed to be defending the poor, protesting high fuel prices and protesting government corruption. However, the credibility of this claim has been called into question because the SJMM later denied involvement. Currently, the authorities believe that it is likely that the group is, in fact, responsible. The exact motive for the bombing remains unclear.

  • Associated Press, "Bomb in front of Nepal oil importer office kills 3," Feb. 27, 2012.
  • Asia News, "Bomb hits Kathmandu's business district, killing three," Kalpit Parajuli, Feb. 27, 2012.
  • Kathmandu Post, "Babarmahal Blast: SJMM it is, say police," Ankit Adhilari, Feb. 28, 2012.
  • New York Daily News, "Three killed in Kathmandu bomb blast," Manish Gautam & Roshan Sedhai, Feb. 28, 2012.
  • Agence France-Presse, "Nepal names prime suspect in deadly bomb attack," Feb. 29, 2012.
  • The Himalayan Times, "SJMM men arrested for city bomb blast," March 4, 2012.

United States: Department of Homeland Security identifies sovereign citizen movement as "major threat"

The right-wing sovereign citizen movement has been called a "major threat" by the Department of Homeland Security and is on the FBI's radar. In recent years, the violent actions of this anti-government movement have increasingly caught the attention of authorities. Current reports acknowledge that the majority of people involved in the sovereign citizen movement are nonviolent, however there has been a rapid increase in both membership and the number of violent plots that have been thwarted. Individuals involved in this movement believe that the U.S. government is illegitimate, therefore has no authority.

  • Los Angeles Times, "Sovereign citizen movement now on FBI's radar," Briane Bennett, Feb. 23, 2012.
  • Reuters, "Hate groups and anti-government organizations increasing: report," Colleen Jenkins, March 9, 2012.
  • MSNBC, "Election, economy spark explosive growth of militias," Stephanie Schendel, March 7, 2012.

Syria: Car bombs add to violence

Syria has been experiencing a violent revolt for more than a year. Outside of that violence between government and rebel forces, a string of car bombs ? apparently unrelated to either side of the conflict ? has increased the level of insecurity in the country. This month there have been at least four attacks: one in Aleppo (two killed, 30 wounded), two in Damascus (27 killed, 100 wounded) and one in Dara (three killed, 20 wounded). Authorities in Syria blame the rebels while the rebels blame the security forces. U.S. intelligence officers believe it is likely that an al-Qaida-linked group might be responsible.

  • Los Angeles Times, "Latest in mysterious car bombings in Syria kills three," March 3, 2012.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Syria car bomb kills 2, injures 30 in Aleppo," Patrick J. McDonnell, March 19, 2012.
  • The Guardian, "Syria: car bombs kill at least 27 in Damascus," Peter Beaumont, March 17, 2012.

Thailand: Bombs in Southern Province kill at least 5 this month

In the province of Narathiwat, seven people were injured and one was killed in an explosion in a riverside market and four soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb. This region of Thailand has been experiencing a campaign of Islamist violence since 2004. The explosive device at the market was hidden near a plant at a military checkpoint. Authorities believe that insurgents were responsible for both blasts.

  • Associated Press, "Market blast kills 1, wounds 7 in Thailand's south," March 5, 2012.
  • Associated Press, "Market Blast Wounds 8 in Thailand's south," March 6, 2012.
  • Reuters, "Bomb kills 4 Thai soldiers in Muslim south," March 8, 2012.

Russia: 'Black Widow' suicide bomber kills 5 in Dagestan

On the evening of March 6, a woman carrying a bomb detonated it at a police traffic post outside of Karabudakhkent. The explosion and subsequent gunfire killed five police officers and wounded two others. There has been a trend of female suicide bombers (or 'black widows') in this region. According to the article by the Business Insider, this is partly due to the decimated male population. The region has seen decades of violence and wars and there continues to be a strong separatist movement. It is reported by the Gazeta that the woman involved in this attack was the widow of a militant who had been killed the previous month by Russian security forces.

  • Reuters, "Suicide bomber kills 5 police in Russia's Dagestan," March 7, 2012.
  • Gazeta.ru, "Female suicide bomber kills 5 policemen in Dagestan," March 7, 2012.
  • Business Insider, "The Return of Russia's Deadly 'Black Widows,'" Adam Taylor, March 7, 2012.
  • BBC, "Dagestan 'black widow' bomber kills Russian police," March 7, 2012.