Terrorist attacks have for a long time troubled world peace and culminated to loss of lives, property destruction, destabilized governments and resulted in economic paralysis. In Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorist groups have sizable control of regions from which they conduct their operations. In 2011, various terrorist attacks have been witnessed. In January 20 at least thirty-five people were killed and over one hundred and fifty injured in two explosions by terrorists targeting the Shiite pilgrims in Iraq. A police checkpoint was also bombed the same day. At least forty people were killed and over one hundred critically injured in Moscow’s airport attack by terrorists on January 24.
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In February and March 2011, terrorist attacks have continued to be felt in many parts of Iraq. After the US attack on Iraq, terrorist groups led by al- Qaeda have continued to wreck havoc in an effort to undermine the unity government, and as a result of religious animosity. On February 20, 2011, at least two lives were lost and a score of people wounded. The attack was said to have carried those identifications associated with al Qaeda. Sunni extremists are said to be against the birthday celebration of Mohammed.
Al-Qaeda has developed highly sophisticated technology of communication between members, and a highly secretive network of operation, which has seen them terrorize people on numerous occasions. They have been recruiting people of all ages and both genders, so it is hard to identify them or track them. The Iraq police department has been unable to cope with insurgents and rely heavily on foreign assistance.
This shows that the Al-Qaeda has grown immensely. The failure by the US to capture Osama bin Laden who is believed to be the terrorist group’s leader has further given Al-Qaeda a major boost of invincibility. Osama occasionally releases tapes warning of his continued attack or new attacks to be conducted, yet the police are unable to trace the origin of the tape, a puzzling issue that demonstrates how the group is strong.
On February 12, 2011, yet another Al-Qaeda attack was witnessed. It is reported that a suicide bomber, blew up a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims. This was the second attack in less than three-day targeting visitors to the Al-Askari mosque, which is located in one the areas of Samarra initially a stronghold of the insurgents. This is just less than a hundred kilometers from Baghdad. Police were forced to shoot in the air to disperse the eager and hysterical mob. The authorities were however quick to react with ambulances quickly on site. Ambulances were full of casualties some of whom were still in the torn clothes filled with blood (CNN, 2011).
The shrine, the pilgrims were coming from was being rebuilt after an Al-Qaeda attack in 2006 destroyed its golden dome. This damage of 2006 had resulted in attacks and counter attacks between the Sunnis and Shiites. However, this 2011 attack did not destroy the mosque. Police claim the suicide bomber had decisively joined the pilgrims while at a parking lot thereby detonating his explosives consequently igniting about eight more vehicles in the parking lot. However, it raises the concerns of the police whereabouts and the neglected security of the public. Given the nature of the area and its history, police should have escorted the pilgrims and had a prior survey of the area. Because of this neglect, twenty-six lives were lost, about thirty wounded and animosity between the Sunni and Shiite fueled (NDTV, 2011).
This was a time bomb as the 2006 attack on the Shiite mosque sent the country in chaos and anarchy as violence erupted spontaneously, creating divisions along the sect line. The day after the terrorist attack, close to 150 people were killed and tens of thousands massacred in the following two years alone. Terrorists also bombed the same mosque again in 2007. It was argued that by then the authority should have been cautious enough to deter attacks like the February 12 one.
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The government, which is Shiite dominated had made it its priority to rebuild the mosque as one of the ways of reverting back to normal flow of pilgrims and hence ensuring national reconciliation. However, more security personnel and experts should be deployed in the area since pilgrims visiting the shrines would always become a target of the Sunni insurgents.
Terrorism continues to dominate world affairs with nations wary, as none knows when the next attack will occur or where. Terror has filled the world and destroyed countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Nations must cooperate if terrorism is to be combated. The US has used technology in the screening of persons, cargos and goods to ensure detonators are not hidden underneath, a technology all nations must adapt. Technologies must also be developed to track those who wire money to terrorist organizations, and in combating all forms of terrorism.
CNN (2011). At Least two dead in Iraq Mosque Attack. Atlanta: CNN.
NDTV. (2011). Suicide Bomber Strikes Pilgrims in Iraq, 26 Killed. New York: Associated Press.