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Terrorism is the use of fear and acts of violence in order to intimidate societies or governments. Many different types of social or political organizations might use terrorism to try to achieve their goals. People who do terrorism are called terrorists.
It is difficult to explain terrorism. Terrorism has no official criminal law definition at the international level. Common definitions of terrorism refer to violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror); are done for a religious, political, or ideological goal; and which target civilians. Some definitions now include acts of unlawful violence and war. The use of similar tactics by criminal gangs is not usually called terrorism, though these same actions may be called terrorism when done by a politically motivated group.
There are over 100 definitions of "terrorism". In some cases, the same group may be described as "freedom fighters" by its supporters and considered to be terrorists by its opponents. The concept of terrorism may be controversial. The term is often used by states to criticize political opponents. As well, states may do state terrorism.
Terrorism is often done by various political organizations, both right and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups such as al-Qaeda, revolutionaries, as well as by governments that are in power. One form is the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual.
Some signs of terrorism
According to Memorial Institute for Prevention of Terrorism, terrorists killed 20,498 people in 2006. The major effect of terrorism comes from the fear it generates.
Counter-terrorism is broad in scope. Specific types of counter-terrorism include:
- Preemptive or reactive military action.
- Fortification and other technical means.
- Increased intelligence and surveillance activities.
- Preemptive humanitarian activities.
- More permissive interrogation and detention policies for the suspected terrorists.
- Video of the ship MV Francop in the Israeli port of Ashdod: behind the bags of flour are boxes of heavy weapons and ammunition to be directed to Hezbollah.
- "Terrorism". Encyclopædia Britannica. p. 3. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9071797. Retrieved 2006-08-11.
- Pentagon attack
- "Flight 77, Video 2". Judicial Watch. http://www.judicialwatch.org/flight77.shtml.
- Ruby, Charles L. (2002). "The Definition of Terrorism" (PDF). http://www.asap-spssi.org/pdf/asap019.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-22.