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US Terror Concentrated in NYC; Bombs Weapon of Choice

May 5, 2010

Terrorist attacks in the United States over the past four decades have centered on New York City – the vast majority of them involving bombs or explosives, says a new report from the University of Maryland-based National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

The research is based on data from the Center’s Global Terrorism Database (GTD), the world’s most comprehensive, unclassified collection of terror incidents.

“Explosives are by far the weapon of choice for terrorists in New York City,” says Gary LaFree, who directs START and the GTD. “Of all terror attacks in New York City from 1970 to 2007, 70 percent involved bombs or explosives.”

La Free adds that “Car bombs have played a small but deadly role in U.S. terrorism.” Of the ten terrorist car bomb attacks in the U.S., six have taken place in New York City. The most costly in the city involved the 1993 truck bomb attack on the World Trade Center, which killed six and injured a thousand people.

Among the other trends noted in the report covering the period 1970 to 2007:

- New York City is, by far, the most frequent site of terrorism in the United States;

- It has suffered more attacks than the next four most frequently target cities combined (Miami, 70; San Francisco, 66; Washington, D.C., 59; Los Angeles, 54);

- 284 terror attacks occurred in New York’s five boroughs between 1970 and 2007;

- Nearly three-fourths of these attacks took place in the 1970s, followed by less frequent, but often more deadly, incidents including the 1993 and 9/11 World Trade Center attacks;

- Businesses and government facilities are the most frequent targets – not only in New York City, but throughout the United States.

“While al-Qaeda has launched the deadliest attacks on New York City targets, almost 40 other identified groups engaged in terrorism in this city from 1970 to 2007, representing a range of different ideologies, backgrounds and goals, with changing actors over time,” the report says.

Puerto Rican separatists, the Jewish Defense League and an anti-Castro group were the most active in the 1970s, with their attacks tapering off through the 1980s.

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