King David Hotel Bombing
On July 22, 1946, the rebellious right-wing Zionist group, Irgun, carried out an offensive against the British by bombing the British Administrative Headquarters for Palestine, which was housed at the King David Hotel. This terrorist campaign concluded with the death of 91 people from various nationalities and injured 46 others. This is considered the deadliest terrorist attack to occur during the British Mandate era from 1920 to 1948.
The Cinema Rex Fire
The arson, which happened in a cinema in Abadan, Iran on August 19, 1978 cost the lives of 470 individuals, most of them unidentified due to the extent of the burns. When an Iranian newspaper reported that it was started by radical Islamists, it was shut down by the Islamic government, however, it was later found out that anti-Shah militants were behind the fire.
The Grand Mosque Seizure
This terrorist act, which occurred from November 20, 1979 to December 5, 1979, was a takeover by the Islamists dissidents of Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. The insurgents’ leader, Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani, declared that he is the “Mahdi” or “redeemer” of Islam and all the Muslims should obey him. Hundreds of pilgrims who were present for the annual “hajj” were taken as hostages and a number of them were killed along with the rebels in the crossfire that ensued for the control of the site. The siege ended with the death of 255 pilgrims and militants with 500 injured.
Beirut Barracks Bombing
One of the major acts of terrorism in the 1980s, the event happened on October 23, 1983 at the height of the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs exploded near the housing of US and French military forces. The attack against the multinational forces in Lebanon was claimed by the organization Islamic Jihad, the nom de guere for Hezbollah who was receiving help from the Islam Republic of Iran. The explosives, which were equivalent to 5400 kg of TNT, resulted in the deadliest single-day death toll for the US Marine Corps with casualties that included 241 servicemen.
Pan Am Flight 103
Also known as the ‘Lockerbie Bombing,’ this event happened on December 21, 1988 in a Pan Am transatlantic flight from London Heathrow Airport on its way to JFK International Airport in New York. The Boeing 747-121, “Clipper Maid of the Seas,” exploded killing all 243 passengers aboard as well as its 16 crewmembers before it crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland killing 11 more on the ground. A three-year joint investigation of the Scottish police and the US FBI resulted in the arrest of 2 Libyan nationals who were handed over by the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi also paid compensation to the victims’ families, though maintaining that he did not personally order the attack which resulted in more conspiracy theories.