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Overview of Terrorism in 2002

International terrorists conducted 199 attacks in 2002, a significant drop (44%) from the 355 attacks recorded during 2001. A total of 725 persons were killed in last year’s attacks, far fewer than the 3,295 persons killed the previous year, which included the thousands of fatalities resulting from the September 11 attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

A total of 2,013 persons were wounded by terrorists in 2002, down from the 2,283 persons wounded the year before.

The number of anti-US attacks was 77, down 65% from the previous year’s total of 219. The main reason for the decrease was the sharp drop in oil pipeline bombings in Colombia (41 last year, compared to 178 in 2001).

Thirty US citizens were killed in terrorist attacks last year:

  • On 15 January, terrorists in Bayt Sahur, West Bank, attacked a vehicle carrying two persons, killing one and wounding the other. The individual killed, Avi Boaz, held dual US-Israeli citizenship. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility.
  • On 23 January, Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau chief was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. On 21 February, it was learned that he had been murdered.
  • On 31 January, two hikers on the slopes of the Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines were attacked by militants. One of the hikers, US citizen Brian Thomas Smith, was killed.
  • On 16 February, a suicide bomber detonated a device at a pizzeria in Karnei Shomron in the West Bank, killing four persons and wounding 27 others. Two US citizens—Keren Shatsky, and Rachel Donna Thaler—were among the dead. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility.
  • On 14 March, two US citizens—Jaime Raul and Jorge Alberto Orjuela—were murdered in Cali, Colombia, by motorcycle-riding gunmen.
  • On 17 March, grenades were thrown into a Protestant church in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing five persons including two US citizens, Barbara Green and Kristen Wormsley.
  • On 27 March, a HAMAS homicide bomber entered the crowded restaurant of a hotel in Netanya, Israel, and detonated a bomb, killing 22 persons, including one US citizen, Hannah Rogen.
  • On 7 June, US citizen Martin Burnham, who along with his wife, Gracia, had been held hostage for more than a year in the Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf Group, was killed as Philippine military units on a rescue mission engaged the terrorists in a firefight. Gracia Burnham was wounded.
  • On 31 July, a bomb planted by HAMAS terrorists exploded at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, killing nine persons and wounding 87 others. Among the dead were five US citizens—Benjamin Blutstein, Marla Bennett, Diane Leslie Carter, Janis Ruth Coulter, and David Gritz.
  • On 8 October, in Failaka Island, Kuwait, gunmen attacked US soldiers conducting a live-fire exercise killing one Marine, Lance Cpl. Antonio J. Sledd.

The worst terrorist attack since September 11 occurred on 12 October at a resort in Bali, Indonesia, when a car bomb exploded in a busy tourist area filled with nightclubs, cafes, and bars. The attack killed over 200 persons from two-dozen nations. Seven US citizens died—Deborah Lea Snodgrass, Karri Casner, Jacob Young, Steven Webster, George “Joe” Milligan, Megan Heffernan, and Robert McCormick.

  • One US citizen—Sandy Alan Booker—died in the Moscow theater attack on 23 October as Russian commandos attempted to rescue 800 hostages held for three days by Chechen terrorists.
  • On 28 October, a gunman in Amman, Jordan, shot and killed Laurence Foley, a senior administrator of the US Agency for International Development, as he was leaving his home for work.
  • On 21 November in Sidon, Lebanon, an office manager/nurse at a church-run health facility, US citizen Bonnie Denise Witherall, was killed by a gunman.

Three US citizens—Kathleen Gariety, William Koehn, and Martha Myers—were murdered on 30 December by a gunman who stormed a Baptist missionary hospital in Yemen and opened fire.

Source: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, U.S. State Department