How many terrorist attacks have been there in the US since 9/11?
Terrorism was not something new to Americans but 9/11 brought woke the nation up to the threat in a way never felt before putting the nation on high alert.
The terrorist attack on 11 September 2001 carried out by Al-Qaeda wasn’t the group’s first attempt to cause harm to the US and its citizens. Nor was it the first major terrorist attack commited on US soil.
But the images from that day woke the US public up to the threat of violent extremists and launched the US on a campaign to fight terrorism around the world to prevent another such tragedy from happening again.
Terrorism prior to 9/11 in the US
The US has experienced numerous violent episodes since its founding as different groups clashed over race, religion or an ideology. The 20th anniversary in 2021 of the 9/11 attacks, the largest terrorist attack carried out on US soil in its history, coinsides with the year of the 100th anniversary of the largest race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when mobs of white residents attacked what was know as the “Black Wall Street”, which occured over two days 31 May to 1 June 1921.
Al-Qaeda tried to bring down the World Trade Center Towers eight years before the 9/11 attack were carried out. In 1993 a group of terrorists detonated a truck bomb under the North Tower with the intention of causing it to fall into the South Tower. The resulting explosion killed six people and injured over a thousand more but failed to bring down either tower.
Homegrown terrorists would use a similar method to attack the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, anti-government extremists, detonated a truck bomb on 19 April, 1995 in front of the building which resulted in the death of at least 168 people, injured more than 680 others.
Terrorism in the US after 9/11
The terrorist attack on 9/11, 20 years on, is still firmly embedded in the memories of Americans who are old enough to remember. 93 percent of those 30 and older recall exactly where they were on 11 September according to a Pew survey. A vast majority of Americans also consider the events of that day as the most consequential historical event in their lifetime. Over the two decades since those attacks “defending the country from future terrorist attacks” has been at or near the top of Americans priorities.
There has not been a 9/11 scale terrorist attack in the US since 2001 but the nation has twarted several attempts and experienced grief from smaller scale attacks. Some of the plots came from abroad but many others were home grown from extremists carried out in the name of Islam, others based on race or political extremism. Some of the more high profile terrorism in the US:
22 December 2001 – Shoe bomber: An al-Qaeda operative, Richard Reid, attempted but failed to detonate a bomb concealed in his shoes while on board a plane from Paris to Miami.
5 November 2009 - Fort Hood shooting: US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan who serving as a Psychiatrist at Fort Hood, Texas opened fire on fellow service members resulting in 13 deaths and 29 wounded.
25 December 2009 – Underwear bomber: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 but failed.
1 May 2010 – Time Square bomber: Faisal Shahzad ingnited a bomb in his vehicle parked in Times Square but the explosive device failed to detonate.
15 April 2013 - Boston Marathon bombing: Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The explosion killed three and injured over 180 people.
12 June 2016 - Orlando nightclub shooting: an American-born citizen of Afghan descent entered Pulse, a gay night club, and began shooting resulting in 49 deaths and 53 injured.
31 October 2017 - NYC truck attack: Sayfullo Saipov, who was inspired by ISIS used a rented Home Depot flatbed pickup truck to drive down a bike path killing eight and injurying 11.
6 December 2019 - Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting: Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, an aviation student from Saudi Arabia, opened fire at the Naval Air Station Pensacola. The attack directed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula resulted in the death of three US Navy sailors and wounded eight.
5 August 2012 - Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting: Wade Michael Page, who had been active in white supremacist groups, opened fire at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He killed six people and injured three others.
12 August 2017 - Charlottesville car attack: James Alex Fields Jr. a member of the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America attending the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia used his car to drive through a group of counter-protestors killing one person and injuring 28 others.
27 October 2018 - Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Robert Bowers carried out the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the US when he committed a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
3 August 2019 - El Paso shooting: Patrick Crusius attacked a Walmart store with the intent of killing hispanics. He killed 23 people and injured 23 more.
18 September to November 2001 - Anthrax attacks: Over several weeks a number of letters which contained anthrax were sent to politicians and media offices resulting in five deaths. Although the culprit is unnknow, the FBI named Bruce Edward Ivins as the perpetrator whose targets were Catholics who held pro-choice views.
31 May 2009 - Assassination of George Tiller: Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion extremist, shot and killed Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions, while he was attending church in Wichita, Kansas.
14 June 2017 - Congressional baseball shooting: James Hodgkinson, a leftwing political activist, opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game. He was the only fatality but six were wounded including then-US House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
October to November 2018 - US mail bombing attempts: Cesar Sayoc Jr, an ardent Trump supporter, mailed at least 12 packages containing pipe bombs through the US Postal system to several prominent critics of then-US President Donald Trump. They included Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack Obama, among others.