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Terrorism database sheds light on the history of attacks in India

Last week's deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai that left 171 dead and scores more injured were only the latest in a long string of violent strikes in India. As U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Pakistan urging that country to cooperate with its historic rival's probe into the militant assaults, the University of Maryland released data from its Global Terrorism Database (GTD) showing that there were more than 4,100 terrorist attacks and 12,539 terrorist-related deaths in India between 1970 and 2004 (the latest year for which data is available).

During that 34-year period, India ranked sixth among all countries in terms of terrorist incidents (behind Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and Spain), the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), which maintains the database at Maryland, reports in a press release addressing the Indian attacks. Terrorist attacks in India generally fall into three categories: sieges against a building or some other edifice (such as the most recent attacks), bombings (in which the intent was to destroy a specific facility), and assassinations.

START's Terrorist Organization Profiles (TOPs) include info on 56 known terrorist groups in India, including the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which carried out attacks in Mumbai in recent years.

The GTD–funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security–provides information about some 80,000 terrorist attacks worldwide such as perpetrators and targets and the number and fate of hostages taken (including how long they were held before being released or executed). All of the GTD's information is available for free to the public.

START plans to add new info over the next year to make the database current through 2007. The consortium also reports that it uses more than 75 people with expertise in six language groups to collect information for its database.

(Image courtesy of iStockphoto; Copyright: Bjorn Kindler)

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