Selected terrorist attacks and related incidents worldwide: Introduction

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 29 August 2021


The above links provide, in three parts, a listing of selected terrorist attacks worldwide from 1880 to the present. It includes events of the following types: terrorist attacks resulting in 20 or more fatalities and/or 100 or more injuries; attacks otherwise of special political significance, such as assassinations; significant attacks involving unconventional weapons; and some non-terrorist criminal acts of methodological relevance.

These listings are incomplete. Incidents with 20-100 fatalities are relatively complete from 1950-2000 but are known incomplete for other periods. Ambiguities in the definition of terrorism are also an acknowledged issue. Data sets on this site prefer a definition of terrorism, in brief, as politically-motivated violence by sub-national actors. Domestic (intra-country) violence during civil wars is a prime example of ambiguity, and these listings are incomplete in such cases, particularly for some developing nations. Several cases of international state-sponsored terrorism are included, but in line with convention actions by governments within their territory, or actions by regular military forces, are not. Attacks against combatants are not automatically excluded, as the relevant criteria is whether the attacker is recognized as a terrorist by international law. Multiple coordinated attacks on a single day are counted as a single incident. Counts of fatalities and injuries include both victims and attackers. Several accident cases are included for the record as they have been erroneously identified as terrorist attacks by some sources. Accidental and criminal incidents (as opposed to terrorist incidents) are identified in the descriptions accordingly.

Summary data for the above listings (note: listings are incomplete):

The following related pages include more information (including listings with different criteria):

Sources (incomplete):

© 2000-2018, 2021 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 29 August 2021.
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