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Five US urban counties lead terror hot spots list

Nearly a third of all terrorist attacks on American soil from 1970 to 2008 occurred in just five metropolitan US counties.

Houston: Nearly a third of all terrorist attacks on American soil from 1970 to 2008 occurred in just five metropolitan US counties, according to a new study which says that 65 of the nation`s 3,143 counties were "hot spots” of terrorism.

According to a study by the University of Maryland researchers, sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security, 2,600 incidents classified as terrorist acts have occurred nationwide between 1970 and 2008.

Though the majority of terrorist attacks in the US during those years occurred in five metropolitan areas, many other "hot spots", including Harris County, typically experience a higher number of terrorist attacks than other US areas.

The study, published this week, shows the country`s five major terrorist hot spots were Manhattan with 343 attacks; Los Angeles (156); Miami-Dade (103); San Francisco (99) and Washington, DC (79).

In all, the researchers identified 65 of 3,143 US counties as hot spots.

Researchers defined a "hot spot" as any county hit by terrorism more than six times from 1970 to 2008, the most recent year studied.

While large, urban counties such as Manhattan and Los Angeles have remained hot spots of terrorist activity across decades, the study found that smaller, more rural counties such as Maricopa County which includes Phoenix, and Harris County, which includes Houston, have recently emerged as hot spots.

"Mainly, terror attacks have been a problem in the bigger cities, but rural areas are not exempt," said Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, at the University of Maryland, and lead author of the report.


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