A suicide attack is an attack upon a target, in which an attacker intends to kill others and/or cause great damage, knowing that he or she will either certainly or most likely die in the process. Between 1981 and 2006, 1200 suicide attacks occurred around the world, constituting 4% of all terrorist attacks but 32% (14,599 people) of all terrorism related deaths. 90% of these attacks occurred in Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.
Although use of suicide attacks has occurred throughout recent history — particularly with the Japanese kamikaze pilots of World War II — its main notoriety as a specific kind of attack began in the 1980s and involved explosives deliberately carried to the target either on the person or in a civilian vehicle and delivered by surprise. Following the success of a 1983 truck bombing of two barracks buildings in Beirut that killed 300 and helped drive American and French Multinational Force troops from Lebanon, the tactic spread to insurgent groups like the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, and Islamist groups such as Hamas.
More recently, the number of suicide attacks has grown significantly, from an average of less than five a year in the 1980s to 180/year in the first half of the 00s, and from 81 suicide attacks in 2001 to 460 in 2005. Particularly hard-hit by attacks have been military and civilian targets in Sri Lanka, Israeli targets in Israel since April 1993, Iraqis since the US-led invasion of that country in 2003, and Pakistanis and Afghans since 2005.
Observers believe suicide attacks have become popular because of their lethal effectiveness, but attackers' motivation is disputed. One scholar, Robert Pape, attributes over 90% of attacks prior to the Iraq Civil War to a goal of withdrawal of occupying forces; while another, Scott Atran, argues that since 2004 the overwhelming majority of bombers have been motivated by the ideology of Islamist martyrdom, and that these attacks have been much more numerous. In just two years - 2004-2005 - there were more suicide attacks, "roughly 600, than in Pape's entire sample."
The means of suicide attack usually include vehicles filled with explosives, passenger planes carrying large amounts of fuel, and individuals wearing vests filled with explosives due to the amount of devastation these methods can cause within the short period of time the attacker is alive and in control. Synonyms include suicide bombing, suicide-homicide bombing, martyrdom operation, and predatory martyrdom.
... Some effort has been made to replace the term suicide bombing with the term homicide bombing by certain commentators and news outlets ... one's own life, the term homicide is a more accurate description than suicide ... it fails to capture the distinctive feature of suicide bombings namely, the bombers' use of means which they are aware will inevitably bring about their own ...
... were killed and 15 wounded in a double suicide attack on their base in Mogadishu ... April 9, 2009 – One Burundian soldier died after a suicide attack the day before ... – Three Ugandan soldiers were killed and one was wounded in a mortar attack on the presidential palace in Mogadishu ...
... A very complex task of explaining the nature of suicide terrorism and its reasons demands a thorough research into the contents of this phenomenon, as one of the prerequisites for ... It is necessary to recognize the strategy of suicide terrorism through the characteristics of suicide attack, the organizational, social, and ... The Characteristics of Suicide Attack Analyzing the reports about the committed suicide bomb attacks, we can distinguish those characteristics concerning the ways of their performing, the ...
... A suicide attack is an attack in which the attacker (attacker being either an individual or a group) intends to kill others and intends to die in the process of doing so (e.g ... In a suicide attack in the strictest sense, the attacker dies by the attack itself, for example in an explosion or crash caused by the attacker ... suicide by cop", that is, menacing or assaulting an armed police officer with a weapon or apparent or proclaimed harmful intent which all but ensures that the cop will use deadly ...
Famous quotes containing the words attack and/or suicide:
“Scandal is an importunate wasp, against which we must make no movement unless we are quite sure that we can kill it; otherwise it will return to the attack more furious than ever.”
—Sébastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (17411794)
“However great a mans fear of life, suicide remains the courageous act, the clear-headed act of a mathematician. The suicide has judged by the laws of chanceso many odds against one that to live will be more miserable than to die. His sense of mathematics is greater than his sense of survival. But think how a sense of survival must clamour to be heard at the last moment, what excuses it must present of a totally unscientific nature.”
—Graham Greene (19041991)