Chronology of Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1996
Three individuals attempted to leave a vehicle containing explosives
near UN offices in Irbil. The driver abandoned the vehicle after
a security guard ordered him to move it.
Two hundred Free Papua Movement (OPM) guerrillas abducted 26 individuals
in the Lorenta nature preserve, Irian Jaya Province. The hostages
were on a research expedition for the Worldwide Fund for Nature.
Among the hostages were seven persons from the United Kingdom,
the Netherlands, and Germany. The OPM demanded the withdrawal
of Indonesian troops from Irian Jaya, compensation for environmental
damage and for the death of civilians at the hands of the military,
and a halt to Freeport Indonesia mining operations. On 15 May
Indonesian Special Forces members rescued the last nine hostages
after locating them with a pilotless drone.
Seven Turkish nationals of Chechen origin hijacked a Russia-bound
Panamanian ferry in Trabzon. The hijackers initially threatened
to kill all Russians on board unless Chechen separatists being
held in Dagestan, Russia, were released. On 19 January the hijackers
surrendered to Turkish authorities outside the entrance to the
Bosporus. The passengers were unharmed.
A bomb exploded at the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa, killing at
least four persons and injuring 20 others. The injured included
citizens from the United Kingdom, Mali, India, and France. In
March, al-Ittihaad al-Islami (The Islamic Union), an ethnic Somali
group, claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Six suspected Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas
kidnapped a US citizen and demanded a $1 million ransom. The hostage
was released on 22 May.
Al-Aslam tribesmen kidnapped 17 elderly French tourists in the
Ma'rib Governate to pressure authorities into releasing one of
their tribesmen. The kidnappers released the hostages unharmed
on 29 January.
Suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
rammed an explosives-laden truck into the Central Bank in the
heart of downtown Colombo, killing 90 civilians and injuring more
than 1,400 others. Among the wounded were two US citizens, six
Japanese, and one Dutch national. The explosion caused major damage
to the Central Bank building, an American Express office, the
Intercontinental Hotel, and several other buildings.
National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels kidnapped three cement industry
engineers including a Briton, a Dane, a German, and their Colombian
companion in San Luis; they were abducted from their vehicle at
a makeshift roadblock. The hostages were freed later.
A bomb detonated in a parking garage in the Docklands area of
London, killing two persons and wounding more than 100 others,
including two US citizens. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) claimed
A bomb exploded at the Diplomat Hotel in Manama, injuring a British
guest and two employees and causing significant damage to the
hotel. The London-based Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain
claimed the bombing, but later denied responsibility.
Unidentified assailants fired a rocket at the US Embassy compound
in Athens, causing minor damage to three diplomatic vehicles and
some surrounding buildings. Circumstances of the attack suggest
it was a 17 November operation.
Six alleged National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas kidnapped
a US citizen in La Guajira Department. No ransom demand was made.
The hostage was released on 15 November.
Two alleged National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas killed two
Venezuelan guards at a gasoline station near the Colombian-Venezuelan
border in La Victoria. The two men took the guards' rifles and
fled in a small boat down the international waters of the Arauca
Two members of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian dissident group,
were found dead in their Istanbul apartment. In April 1996 authorities
apprehended three Islamic militants and several Iranian and Turkish
nationals in connection with the killing. The militants later
claimed they had received their orders from Iranian diplomats
stationed in Turkey.
A suicide bomber blew up a bus, killing 26 persons, including
three US citizens, and injuring some 80 persons, including three
other US citizens. HAMAS's Izz al-Din al-Qassem Battalion claimed
responsibility for the bombing in retaliation for the Hebron massacre
two years before, but later denied involvement. HAMAS also issued
a leaflet assuming responsibility for the bombing signed by the
Squads of the New Disciples of Martyr Yahya Ayyash, the Engineer,
claiming the bombing was in retaliation for Ayyash's death on
5 January 1996.
Another suicide bomber detonated an explosive device on a bus,
killing 19 persons, including six Romanians, and injuring six
others. The Students of Yahya Ayyash, a splinter group of HAMAS,
claimed responsibility for the attack.
A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside the Dizengoff
Center, Tel Aviv's largest shopping mall, killing 20 persons and
injuring 75 others, including two US citizens. HAMAS and the Palestine
Islamic Jihad (PIJ) both claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Assailants poured gasoline at the entrance to a restaurant in
Sitrah and threw Molotov cocktails inside, killing seven Bangladeshi
employees and destroying the restaurant.
Suspected National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas killed one
policeman and injured another policeman and a civilian in La Victoria.
Suspected Khmer Rouge guerrillas abducted 26 Cambodian mine disposal
experts, their British supervisor, and his translator near the
Angkor Wat temple complex. Six of the hostages escaped, leaving
the British national and his interpreter captive. At least five
police officers and soldiers were killed by landmines while searching
for the hostages.
Armed Islamic Group (GIA) extremists kidnapped seven French monks
from their monastery in the Medea region. On 26 April the GIA
offered to free the monks in exchange for the release of GIA members
held in France. On 21 May the group stated that they killed the
monks in response to the French Government's refusal to negotiate
Four guerrillas from the Colombian People's Liberation Army (EPL)
kidnapped a rancher from a store in La Gabarra. The rancher had
been warned he would be kidnapped if he didn't pay $50,000 in
protection money. The four abductors, who opened fire on security
forces as they fled, were killed and the hostage escaped.
Four al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya (IG) militants opened fire on a group
of Greek tourists in front of the Europa Hotel in Cairo, killing
18 Greeks and injuring 12 Greeks and two Egyptians. The IG claimed
they intended to attack a group of Israeli tourists they believed
were staying at the hotel, as revenge for Israeli actions in Lebanon.
A bomb placed at a Shell gas station in Warsaw detonated, killing
one policeman who was preparing to defuse the device. A group
calling itself GN 95 later claimed responsibility and demanded
$2 million from the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The group justified
the attack by stating its opposition to expansion of foreign investment
Islamic separatists killed eight Hindu Nepalese migrant workers
near Srinagar. No group claimed responsibility.
Forty Khmer Rouge militants kidnapped seven Thai quarry workers
in the Kampong Spoe Province and demanded $350,000 in ransom.
The quarry is owned by three Thai companies: ASCO, Seaboard, and
the Italian-Thai Construction Co., a subcontractor for the US
Fischbach International Company. On 9 May the militants released
the hostages after the companies each paid a $100,000 ransom.
Arab gunmen opened fire on a bus and a group of Yeshiva students
near the Bet El settlement, killing a dual US/Israeli citizen
and wounding three Israelis. No one claimed responsibility for
the attack, but HAMAS is suspected.
Sendero Luminoso (SL) terrorists detonated a car bomb, injuring
at least four persons and destroying a portion of the joint Shell-Mobil
offices and warehouse in Lima. The explosion at a Shell gas station
also destroyed five automobiles and damaged six Shell tankers.
Three days earlier, the Peruvian Government had announced an agreement
with a consortium led by the US Mobil Corporation and Royal Dutch
Shell to develop the expansive Camisea gas reserves. SL terrorists
left leaflets at the scene lauding the group and the armed struggle
and proclaiming "No to the sale of the country."
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a former Iranian deputy education
minister under the Shah at his home in Paris. No one claimed responsibility
for the killing. Greece
A bomb exploded at a building housing the main offices of IBM
in Athens, causing extensive structural damage but no injuries.
The group Fraxia Midheniston (Nihilist Faction) claimed responsibility
in a call to a local television station.
A gang of former Contra guerrillas kidnapped a US employee of
USAID who was assisting with election preparations in rural northern
Nicaragua. She was released unharmed the next day after members
of the international commission overseeing the preparations intervened.
Gunmen shot and killed two Russian servicemen's wives while the
victims were visiting a cemetery in Dushanbe. No one claimed responsibility.
The Tajikistan Internal Affairs Ministry believes the gunmen were
members of "Muzlokandov's Gang," an Islamic extremist
In Apure State, just over the Colombian border, 10 Colombian National
Liberation Army (ELN) gunmen killed a Venezuelan man whom they
believed was an informant for Venezuela's national guard.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a car near Zekharya, killing
a dual US/Israeli citizen and an Israeli. The Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is suspected.
A truck bomb detonated at a Manchester shopping center, wounding
206 persons, including two German tourists, and causing extensive
property damage. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) claimed responsibility.
A fuel truck carrying a bomb exploded outside the US military's
Khubar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, killing 19 US military
personnel and wounding 515 persons, including 240 US personnel.
Several groups claimed responsibility for the attack, which remains
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Assailants detonated a bomb at a building in Zvornik that houses
the Socialist Party of the Serb Republic, the International Police
Task Force, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,
and the European Community Monitoring Mission. The explosion caused
major damage but no injuries.
Two Somali gunmen opened fire on the Minister of Transport and
Communications as he arrived at his office in Addis Ababa, wounding
him and killing two guards and two passersby. Al-Ittihaad al-Islami
claimed responsibility for the attack.
Four Kurdish militants occupied a Reuter news agency office in
Vienna and held two employees hostage for several hours before
surrendering. The attackers are suspected Kurdistan Workers' Party
Armed men forced an Italian engineer out of his vehicle and took
him hostage in Antioquia Province. No ransom demand was made.
Authorities suspect the National Liberation Army (ELN) or the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
A bomb exploded at Tarragona International Airport in Reus, wounding
35 persons, including British and Irish tourists. Basque Fatherland
and Liberty (ETA) is suspected.
Turkish leftist militants seized a German Social Democratic Party
(SPD) office in Frankfurt for several hours, taking four party
officials hostage. The activists demanded improved conditions
for political prisoners in Turkey and SPD support for their plight.
Police forces stormed the office and arrested them.
Armed assailants briefly occupied a Turkish consulate office in
Berlin. The attackers tied up four staffers and painted leftist
slogans on the walls. The Turkish Communist Party Marxist/Leninist
(TKP-ML) is suspected. Tajikistan
Two gunmen arrived at a Dushanbe airport in a taxi, shot the driver,
and went to the airport's military section where they shot two
Russian soldiers. Several others were wounded in the attack. Russian
military personnel immediately arrested the gunmen.
A bomb exploded at the home of the French Archbishop of Oran,
killing him and his chauffeur. The attack occurred after the Archbishop's
meeting with the French Foreign Minister. The Armed Islamic Group
(GIA) is suspected.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
After receiving a telephoned bomb threat, security officers evacuated
two buildings in Sarajevo that house the offices of the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Authorities located
and defused the bomb. No one claimed responsibility. Ethiopia
A bomb exploded in the lobby of the Wabbe Shebelle Hotel in Addis
Ababa, killing two persons and injuring 17 others, including a
Belgian citizen. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Unidentified assailants killed the local chief representative
of the Kurdistan Democratic Party at his Paris residence. No one
claimed responsibility for the killing.
Suspected leftist guerrillas kidnapped an Italian restaurateur
and longtime Colombian resident.
Some 50 suspected Colombian guerrillas kidnapped the former representative
for the Democratic Revolutionary Party in Boca de Cupe, Darien.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) or National Liberation
Army (ELN) guerrillas are suspected.
Suspected Al-Ittihaad al-Islami gunmen killed two Ethiopian businessmen
in Beledweyne to avenge Ethiopia's two-day military incursion
into Somalia earlier that month.
Suspected National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels kidnapped two
Brazilian engineers working on a highway in Meta Department.
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels bombed the offices
and residences belonging to two South Korean companies, Korea
Telecom International and Samsung Electronics, causing serious
damage but no injuries. This was the first LTTE attack against
foreign investors in Sri Lanka.
A remote-controlled explosive device--placed in a drainage culvert
under a road in Dushanbe--detonated as a Russian troop transport
vehicle passed over it, killing the driver and wounding a passenger.
No one claimed responsibility.
A bomb exploded at the construction site for a McDonald's restaurant
in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, causing extensive structural damage. Basque
separatist groups are suspected. Sudan
Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels kidnapped six missionaries
in Mapourdit, including a US citizen, an Italian, three Australians,
and a Sudanese. The SPLA released the hostages on 28 August.
Gunmen kidnapped an Italian engineer working on an oil pipeline
in northern Colombia.
Three Bahrainis shot and wounded a Pakistani policeman guarding
the Russian Consulate. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Turkish leftist militants shot at a vehicle carrying two members
of a rival exiled-leftist organization, killing one of the occupants
and injuring the other.
Kurdish refugees seized nine UN employees near Sairanbar. A World
Food Program official, a UNICEF official, and a UNHCR employee
were among those taken. A crowd of refugees demonstrating near
the UN offices seized the workers as thousands chanted anti-US
slogans and threw rocks at UN employees. The refugees later released
all the hostages.
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) militants kidnapped four French
workers for Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres (Pharmacists Without Borders),
a Canadian UNHCR official, and two Iraqis.
Three assailants threw a flammable liquid into a parts shop in
An Nuwaydirat and set it on fire. The attackers then pulled the
rolling metal door down, preventing an Indian employee from escaping.
The employee died from his burns the next day. Venezuela
National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas opened fire on a military
post in Los Bancos, killing one soldier and wounding two civilians.
In Vladivostok, two or three assailants attacked and killed a
South Korean consul near the victim's apartment. He reportedly
died of a head wound. No one claimed responsibility. South Korean
authorities believe that the attack was carried out by professionals
and that the assailants were North Koreans. North Korean officials
denied the country's involvement in the attack.
Unidentified assailants shot and killed a German botanist near
a shopping area called the Taiwan Market in Dire Dawa. No one
claimed responsibility for the attack.
Suspected National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas kidnapped
a Venezuelan cattleman at the border with Colombia. A few hours
later the victim was found dead in Libertador.
In two separate incidents, unknown assailants shot and killed
a French national and a Yemeni national near the Taiwan Market
in Dire Dawa.
Approximately 40 suspected Khmer Rouge militants abducted three
Frenchmen and five Cambodians who were traveling by motorcycle
in Kampong Chhnang Province. The kidnappers released the hostages
unharmed about 24 hours later. Yemen
Assailants abducted a French diplomat while he was driving in
Sanaa. On 26 October the diplomat was turned over to local tribe
members who then detained him until 1 November, when the government
agreed to their conditions for his release.
Several gunmen attacked a Sudanese refugee camp in Palorinya,
western Moyo, killing 16 Sudanese refugees and wounding five others.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Leftist rebels abducted a French geologist and a Colombian engineer
in Meta Department after attacking the convoy in which the pair
was traveling. No one claimed responsibility, but authorities
suspect the National Liberation Army (ELN) or the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). France
Gunmen assassinated the international treasurer of the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and a companion in Paris. Authorities
believe the LTTE killed the official for misappropriating funds
for personal use.
A breakaway group from the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA)
kidnapped three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
workers, including a US citizen, an Australian, and a Kenyan.
On 9 December the rebels released the hostages in exchange for
ICRC supplies and a health survey for their camp.
Two propane gas cylinders exploded behind a strip mall near the
Shia village of Wattyan, damaging the Gulf Motors Agency Hyundai
dealership and injuring a security guard.
Unidentified assailants beheaded a Bulgarian businessman who was
the former Bulgarian defense attache to Algeria. The victim was
found at the entrance to Bainem Forest, west of Algiers. No one
claimed responsibility for the attack.
A fire broke out at the Tozbey Hotel in Istanbul, killing 17 Ukrainians
and injuring more than 40 persons. On 22 November the group Turkish
Islamic Jihad (TIJ) claimed responsibility for starting the fire,
although authorities believed it may have been caused by faulty
wiring and negligence by the hotel's guests.
A bomb exploded aboard a Paris subway train as it arrived at the
Port Royal station, killing two French nationals, a Moroccan,
and a Canadian, and injuring 86 persons. Among those injured were
one US citizen and a Canadian. No one claimed responsibility for
the attack, but Algerian extremists are suspected.
Guerrillas attacked a jointly owned Tajik-British gold mine in
Darvaz, abducting four employees, including a Briton and a South
African. The assailants occupied the mine for five days. After
negotiations with representatives from the UN, the Red Cross,
British diplomats, and an inter-Tajik joint commission monitoring
the current peace accord, the hostages were released on 28 December
in Childara village.
Five armed men claiming to be members of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC) kidnapped a US geologist at a methane
gas exploration site in La Guajira Department. (The geologist
was killed, and his body was retrieved by Colombian authorities
in February 1997.)
Twenty-three members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
(MRTA) took several hundred people hostage at a party given at
the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Lima. Among the hostages
were several US officials, foreign ambassadors and other diplomats,
Peruvian Government officials, and Japanese businessmen. The group
demanded the release of all MRTA members in prison and safe passage
for them and the hostage takers. The terrorists released most
of the hostages in December but still held 81 Peruvians and Japanese
citizens at the end of the year. Russia
Gunmen broke into a residential area for the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Novyy Atagi, Chechnya, fatally shooting
six staff employees and wounding a seventh. The victims included
two Norwegians, a Dutch national, a Canadian, a New Zealander,
a Spaniard, and a Swiss national. No group claimed responsibility.
An armed group stopped a convoy between Fayzabad and Gharm and
seized 23 hostages, including seven foreign national UN military
observers and Tajik Government officials. The group claimed it
was loyal to Rezvon Sodirov, the leader of an armed gang, and
demanded that several of their supporters be returned to them.
The hostages were subsequently released.
Unknown assailants ambushed and killed five Belgian tourists and
their Eritrean driver as they returned to Asmara from a field
trip. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Eight assailants surrounded a building in a Shia village, set
several tires on fire, and threw Molotov cocktails inside, killing
an Asian man and injuring two others.