1995 ‘Oklahoma Bombing’ spurred rise in terrorism in US
Washington: A University of Maryland research has revealed that the fatal bomb attack on the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City 15 years go, marked the beginning of a dramatic increase in terrorism in the United States.
“Since Timothy McVeigh’s fatal bombing in 1995, individual attacks have increased nearly seven-fold, representing about one-third of all US acts of terror” says a new report from the Maryland-based START Centre, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
“McVeigh espoused far right anti-government views, says the START report, but it notes that domestic US terrorism has been launched from all parts of the political spectrum representing a broad range of ideologies,” the study added.
Post-1995, eco-terrorist organisations, like the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, have been the most active types of terrorist organisations in the United States, though not the most deadly – al Qaeda claims that distinction, the study said.
However, far-right extremists have continued to be involved in a range of violent attacks, many of which target law enforcement.
According to statistics, since 1990, 49 law enforcement officers have been killed in attacks attributed to the far right. The greatest number of these homicides in a single year – six – occurred in 1995 and in 2009.
The report relies heavily on data from START’s Global Terrorism Database, the world’s most comprehensive unclassified terror database, including roughly 85,000 incidents worldwide from 1970 to 2007.
The Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995 was carried out by Timothy McVeigh, an American militia movement sympathiser who detonated an explosive-filled truck parked in front of the building.
McVeigh`s co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation.
It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of six, and injured more than 680 people.
The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least USD 652 million worth of damage.