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A Timeline of Terror


In the wake of the capture and death of Osama bin Laden, history and civics classes across the country will undoubtedly be re-focused on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

While that day thrust the U.S. and its allies into full combat mode in the War on Terror, there are many other significant events that occurred during the decade-long search for the late al-Qaida leader.

Since 2001, there have been many ups and downs. In order to help you and your students put bin Laden’s death into historical context, EducationWorld has assembled a timeline of significant terrorist attacks and important allied victories, beginning with the Sept. 11 opening salvo and culminating with bin Laden being brought to justice. Each date provides a link to more information on the incident.

Sept. 11, 2001:  This day will be long remembered, as the United States suffered the most vicious attack on its civilians in its 220-year history. The attack was broadcast live to billions around the world and is seared into the memory of nearly everyone who was old enough to remember.

Dec. 22, 2001:  A little more than three months had passed since the attacks in New York and Washington D.C. The country was still on edge when Richard Reid attempted to ignite an explosive hidden in his shoes while on a flight from Paris to Miami. The combined efforts of passengers and cabin crew, together with Reid’s own incompetence, foiled his attempt.

March 1, 2003:  The first major victory in the War on Terror came on this day, when top bin Laden lieutenant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan. Believed to be the brains behind bin Laden’s vision for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Mohammed and four co-conspirators are scheduled to be tried in a military commission at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

April 22, 2004:  In an event that served as a lowlight for U.S. military efforts post Sept. 11, 2001, Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed in action. Tillman was hailed as a true ideologist when he left million of dollars and his NFL career behind to join the Army following the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. It was first reported that he was gunned down by insurgents and was awarded the Silver Star. Later the Department of Defense admitted he was killed by friendly fire.

July 7, 2005:  Just as New Yorkers had woken to devastation four years earlier, so did Britons on this day. Four suicide bombers linked to al-Qaida and bin Laden detonated homemade explosives while riding the London Underground and a double-decker bus, killing over 50 people. This was the British equivalent of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Aug. 10, 2006:  What would have been a replay of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was thwarted by the combined efforts of U.S. and U.K. authorities. The plot, which would have exploded as many as 10 aircraft departing London and bound for the U.S., was foiled when agents from MI5 and Scotland Yard made a furious series of arrests.

Nov. 26, 2008:  Proving that the West is not the only target of terror, the city of Mumbai fell victim to a symphony of explosions as 10 coordinated shootings and bombings engulfed India’s largest city. Over 170 people were killed in venues such as a women and children’s hospital, a movie theater and the posh Taj Mahal Palace and Tower.

Dec. 25, 2009:  Taking a page out of Richard Reid’s book, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abulmutallab attempted to bring down a passenger airliner using an article of clothing. As his flight approached Detroit, passengers said they heard a “pop” and saw smoke. After detaining Abulmutallab with headphone cords and seatbelts, it was discovered that he had attempted to detonate explosives contained in his underwear.

May 1 2011:  The long-time leader of the most notorious terror organization in the world was brought to justice nearly 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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