Number of Terrorist Attacks in 1985 Up Sharply; Hijackings Alone Leave 62 Dead
The attacks on passengers at airports in Rome and Vienna on Friday capped a year of bloody international terrorism that saw a sharp rise in hijackings, kidnapings, bombings and assassinations.
The State Department says more than 630 separate terrorist attacks occurred during 1985. Experts say the number of incidents is growing at the rate of 12% to 15% a year, with the number of target nations now expanded to 60.
The number of fatalities is also increasing. At least 62 people were killed in air hijackings alone in 1985, compared to only two fatalities in 1984.
Some of the more violent terrorist incidents of 1985 include:
Feb. 1--Terrorists exploded a car bomb outside a mosque in Tripoli, Lebanon, killing 12 people and wounding 58. Red Army Faction terrorists in West Germany killed aerospace industry executive Ernst Zimmermann.
Feb. 2--A bomb explosion at a bar frequented by U.S. servicemen in an Athens suburb wounded 78 people, including 59 Americans.
March 8--A car bomb killed at least 40 people and wounded 133 in a Muslim suburb of Beirut.
March 12--Three Armenian terrorists shot their way into the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa, killing a guard and holding 12 hostages for four hours before surrendering.
April 13--A suspicious blast at a crowded restaurant near a U.S. air base outside Madrid killed 18 Spaniards and injured 82 others, including 15 Americans. The Islamic Jihad terror group was the prime suspect.
May 22--A car bomb killed 50 people in Beirut during a bloody three-day battle between Palestinians and Lebanese Shia Muslims.
May 25--Kuwaiti ruler Sheik Jaber al Ahmad al Sabah was injured in a bomb attack on his motorcade that killed three people. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
June 10--Gunman kidnaped American University of Beirut agriculture dean Thomas Sutherland, the eighth American abducted in Lebanon since March, 1984.
June 11--Five Shia Muslims demanding the ouster of all Palestinian guerrillas from Beirut hijacked a Royal Jordanian Boeing 727 in Beirut with 67 people aboard. Denied landing in Tunis, they flew to Sicily and back to Beirut where they released the hostages and blew up the plane, ending a 30-hour ordeal.
June 14--Shia Muslim gunmen commandeered TWA Flight 847 carrying 153 passengers and crew, mostly Americans, from Athens to Rome and ordered the plane to Beirut, beginning a 17-day hostage drama. Flown to Algiers, the hijackers demanded Israel release of 1,195 Shia prisoners and threatened to execute hostages. The next day, Flight 847 returned to Beirut where a hostage U.S. sailor was killed. The remaining 39 American hostages were later freed.
June 19--Leftist rebels shot and killed 13 people, including four U.S. Marines and two American businessmen, in an attack on a sidewalk cafe in San Salvador. A terrorist bomb hidden in a suitcase exploded at Frankfurt airport, killing two children and an adult and injuring 42 other people. A car bomb attack in Tripoli, Lebanon, killed 75 people.
June 20--Eight homemade bombs killed six people in Nepal in the Himalayan nation’s first taste of political terrorism.
June 23--An Air India Boeing 747 from Toronto crashed off the Irish coast, killing all 329 aboard. No cause has been determined, but some authorities suspect a Sikh terrorist bomb. Explosion of baggage from a Canadian airliner at Narita Airport in Japan killed two workers and was considered linked to the Air India crash.
July 11--Two explosions sank the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, New Zealand, killing a photographer. French agents later pleaded guilty to the crime.
July 22--Bomb explosions at the Northwest Orient airline office and a synagogue in Copenhagen injured 22 people. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Aug. 8--The Red Army Faction terrorist group exploded a car bomb at the U.S. Air Force Rhein-Main Air Base in West Germany, killing two Americans and injuring 20 other people.
Aug. 20--Sikh terrorists assassinated Harchand Singh Longowal, a moderate Sikh political leader, in India’s Punjab state. Gunmen in Cairo assassinated an Israeli diplomat in the first such incident since the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
Sept. 15--Terrorist grenades killed 31 people in a theater in Lala, Philippines.
Sept. 16--A Palestinian terrorist tossed a hand grenade into a sidewalk cafe on Rome’s Via Veneto, wounding 38 people, including nine Americans.
Sept. 25--Three pro-Palestinian gunmen killed three Israelis after a 10-hour siege on the victims’ yacht in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Sept. 30--Four Soviet diplomats were kidnaped in Beirut. One was killed, but the other three were later released unharmed.
Oct. 7--Four Palestinian commandos hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro off Egypt and threatened to kill 511 passengers and crew members aboard unless 50 Palestinian prisoners were released from Israeli jails. They shot and killed an American tourist on board.
Nov. 6--About 35 guerrillas of the group known as M-19 stormed the Palace of Justice in Bogota, Colombia, taking scores of hostages. Colombian troops ended the siege 27 hours later in an assault that killed about 100 people, including 11 Supreme Court judges.
Nov. 24--At least three Palestinian hijackers forced an EgyptAir Boeing 737 with 97 people aboard to land in Malta and began shooting passengers, killing one American woman and fatally injuring an Israeli woman. Fifty-eight other people aboard the plane died in a grenade and gun battle when Egyptian commandos stormed the jet to end the 24-hour ordeal, the bloodiest hijacking rescue in history. One hijacker survived and faces trial in Malta.
Nov. 24--A car bomb explosion at a U.S. Army shopping center in Frankfurt, West Germany, wounded 36 people, including 33 Americans.
Dec. 27--Arab terrorist teams opened fire with assault rifles and grenades in attacks on El Al Israel Airlines passengers at airports in Rome and Vienna. At least 17 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.