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Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1997

The Year in Review

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The Year in Review

During 1997 there were 304 acts of international terrorism, eight more than occurred during 1996, but one of the lowest annual totals recorded since 1971. The number of casualties remained large but did not approach the high levels recorded during 1996. In 1997, 221 persons died and 693 were wounded in international terrorist attacks as compared to 314 dead and 2,912 wounded in 1996. Seven US citizens died and 21 were wounded in 1997, as compared with 23 dead and 510 wounded the previous year.

Approximately one-third of the attacks were against US targets, and most of those consisted of low-level bombings of multinational oil pipelines in Colombia. Terrorists there regard the pipelines as a US target.

The predominant type of attack during 1997 was bombing; the foremost target was business related.

The following were among the more significant attacks during the year:

In a notable counterterrorism achievement, Peruvian security forces staged on 22 April a raid on the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Lima where members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) were holding 72 hostages for four months. All but one of the hostages were freed; after being shot during the rescue, that one suffered a heart attack and subsequently died. All the MRTA hostage takers were killed. The United States strongly supported the Government of Peru's steadfast refusal to make any concessions to the terrorists holding the hostages during the four-month ordeal.

Terrorists were brought to trial in various countries throughout the year:

Several notable trials of international terrorist suspects in the United States also took place during the year:

There were 13 international terrorist incidents in the United States during the year, 12 involving letter bombs:

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