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.
Lebanon: Twin explosions at Iranian embassy kill dozens
Two suicide bombers detonated in Beiruit after attempting to enter the Iranian embassy, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 145 others. The casualties included Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari, the embassy’s cultural attaché. One of the explosions occurred outside of Ambassador Roknabadi’s residence, and six buildings within the embassy compound were destroyed. This attack came after nearly three months of calm in the country.
Southern Beiruit, a stronghold of the Shiite group Hezbollah, experienced an escalation in violence following Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war. The Assam Brigade, an Islamist group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that such attacks would continue until Hezbollah forces withdrew from Syria.
- The Washington Post, “Double bombing kills at least 23, including diplomat, near Iranian embassy in Beiruit,” Nov.19, 2013.
- The Wall Street Journal, “Beirut Blasts near Iranian embassy kill 23,” Nov.19, 2013.
- RT, “Beirut bombing: Twin attacks target Iranian embassy, 23 killed, 146 injured,” Nov. 19, 2013.
- Daily Mail, “Al Qaeda-linked group claims responsibility for bomb attack on Iranian embassy that killed 23 in Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut,” Nov. 19, 2013.
Congo: M23 ends insurgency, leaves DRC
Following a string of defeats at the hands of the Congolese army, M23 – one of the most feared rebel groups in the country – has declared the end of its insurgency. Largely made up of ethnic Tutsis and operating in the eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), M23 has long vowed that should it fall, another Tutsi rebel group would rise up in its place. However, after suffering numerous defeats, the group elected to cease fighting and instead offered to make peace.
The process involves not only the group’s surrender but also giving up weapons and leaving the DRC for neighboring Rwanda and Uganda. According to sources, there are still more than 30 other groups operating in the country. The DRC has yet to sign the peace deal, saying that, because M23 has been defeated, such a deal is unnecessary.
- The Washington Post, “Congo’s M23 rebel group ends its insurgency,” Nov. 5, 2013.
- Los Angeles Times, “Congo’s defeated M23 rebels vow to disband and disarm,” Nov. 5, 2013.
- Reuters, “Congo, M23 rebels make peace but other armed groups still roam,” Nov. 10, 2013.
- BBC News, “DR Congo refuses to sign M23 ‘accord’ in Kampala,” Nov. 12, 2013.
Pakistan: TTP names new leader, ‘Mullah Radio’ to take charge
Following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a United States drone strike Nov. 1, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has named Mullah Fazlullah as the group’s new emir. Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio for his radical sermons broadcast through the northwest, has been one of TTP’s top leaders since its founding in 2007. Sources indicate that the election of such a hardline leader, considered a radical even within the group, is going to dampen expectations of any peace deal between the TTP and the Pakistani government. Fazlullah is perhaps best known for ordering the assassination of Malala Yousufzai in Swat last year.
- BBC News, “Hakimullah Mehsud killed by drone, Pakistan Taliban say,” Nov. 2, 2013.
- The Long War Journal, “Pakistani Taliban name Mullah Fazlullah as new emir,” Nov. 7, 2013.
- Dawn, “Pakistani Taliban elect Mullah Fazlullah as new chief,” Nov. 8, 2013.
- Reuters, “No more peace talks, ‘Mullah Radio’ tells Pakistan,” Nov. 7, 2013.
United States of America: Hactivist sentenced to 10 years for cyber attacks
Jeremy Hammond, a computer hacker tied to the Anonymous group, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for cyberattacks on both government agencies and businesses. The sentencing is the maximum allowed and comes from Hammond’s targeting of Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor), a global intelligence company. The attack resulted in the theft of tens of thousands of credit card numbers and the records of 860,000 clients.
Though Hammond did not use the credit cards himself, he encouraged others to use them in order to make donations to various charities. Emails published by Wikileaks indicated that Statfor was hired by private companies and government agencies to monitor political protestors and activists. Hammond pled guilty, stating, “I did this because I believe people have the right to know what government and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.”
- The Washington Post, “Jeremy Hammond, hacker for Anonymous, sentenced to 10 years,” Nov. 15, 2013.
- The Huffington Post, “Jeremy Hammond Sentenced To 10 Years in Prison,” Nov. 15, 2013.
- RT, “Stratfor hacker Jeremy Hammond sentenced to ten years in jail,” Nov. 15, 2013.
- Forbes, “Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond sentenced to max penalty of 10 years in prison,” Nov. 15, 2013.
This compilation of Significant Terrorism Events in the News was edited by START Researcher Katharine Sobotka von Rosen.