Department of State Publication 10239

Office of the Secretary
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Philip C. Wilcox, Jr.


There were 321 international terrorist attacks during 1994, a 25-percent decrease from the 431 recorded the previous year and the lowest annual total in 23 years. Sixty-six were anti-US attacks, down from 88 in 1993.

A powerful bomb destroyed a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires in July, killing nearly 100 persons and wounding more than 200 others. The bombing could well be the work of Hizballah, which claimed responsibility for an almost identical bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992.

A serious hijacking occurred on 24 December in Algiers when terrorists from the Armed Islamic Group took over an Air France jet, murdered three passengers, and flew the plane with 170 hostages to Marseille. The assault ended two days later with a remarkably successful rescue operation by French commandos that resulted in the deaths of all four hijackers and no other fatalities.

There were numerous deadly attacks by the Islamic extremist group HAMAS against Israelis. In April a bomb in Fula that exploded near a commuter bus killed eight persons and wounded 50, mostly children who were waiting to ride the bus back from school. In October a suicide bomber detonated a device inside a public bus in the heart of Tel Aviv's business and shopping district, killing 22 Israeli passengers plus the perpetrator and wounding at least 48. Also in October, two HAMAS gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked civilians in a popular restaurant district in the center of Jerusalem, killing two Israeli citizens and wounding 13 persons, including two Americans.

On 9 October, Israeli Army Corporal Nachshon Wachsman, while hitchhiking in central Israel, was kidnapped by HAMAS terrorists. They demanded the release of HAMAS spiritual leader Sheikh Yassin and 200 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and released a videotape of Wachsman in captivity asking that Israel comply with the demand. Israeli forces located Wachsman in a West Bank house, which they stormed in an effort to free him, but his captors killed him as the raid began. One Israeli soldier and three kidnappers were also killed.

A member of the Jewish extremist group Kach attacked Palestinian worshippers at Hebron's al-Ibrahimi Mosque in February, killing 29 and wounding more than 200. The Israeli Cabinet subsequently outlawed Kach and the affiliated group Kahane Chai, declaring them to be terrorist organizations.

Four Americans were killed in terrorist attacks during 1994. Corporal Nachshon Wachsman, mentioned previously, held dual Israeli and American citizenship. Three other Americans died in an apparent suicide bombing of a Panamanian commuter aircraft in July that killed all 21 persons aboard. Four Americans were wounded as a result of HAMAS attacks in Israel during the year, and another -- an American priest -- was wounded after he was kidnapped by terrorists in the Philippines.

Worldwide casualties numbered 314 persons dead and 663 wounded.

There were no confirmed acts of terrorism -- either international or domestic -- committed in the United States during 1994. In January, explosive devices were found outside two New York City office buildings. Both buildings housed Jewish-American organizations that actively support the Middle East peace process. These suspected terrorist incidents remain under investigation by the FBI.

On 24 May, four men convicted in the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City were each sentenced to 240 years in prison. The judge arrived at this figure by calculating the life expectancy of each of the six persons killed in the attack and adding mandatory prison terms for assault on a federal officer. Two other suspects in the bombing remained at large at the end of the year.

The trial of 12 defendants accused of plotting to blow up several landmarks in New York City began in 1995.

In October, a judge in St. Louis, Missouri, sentenced three members of the Abu Nidal organization (ANO) to prison sentences of 21 months for plotting acts of terrorism within the United States. The three had pled guilty to Federal racketeering charges that included allegations they smuggled money and information, bought weapons, recruited members, illegally obtained passports, and obstructed investigations. [End of Document]

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