This week in terrorism history: Oct. 16-22

Kansas terrorism suspects, from left: Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright.
Kansas terrorism suspects, from left: Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright.


Over the weekend news broke of a thwarted terrorism plot in Kansas in which three members of a far-right militia group were charged with conspiring to destroy an apartment complex where Somali immigrants lived and maintained a mosque. They intended to detonate four simultaneous car bombs similar to the one which Timothy McVeigh used to destroy the US federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

The attack was scheduled for Nov. 9, the day after the presidential election.

The three suspects appeared in court today. Each was charged with one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. They face life in prison if convicted. According to the report at The Wichita Eagle:

Officials said Friday that Allen, Stein and Wright hoped to create a “bloodbath” by detonating vehicles laden with bombs around the parking lot of Garden City’s Garden Spot apartments, the day after the Nov. 8 election. They spent months considering sites for the attack before finally settling on the complex, conducted surveillance and gathered bomb-making materials.

On Saturday, The Washington Post published details of the federal investigation into the development of the plot and the suspects’ motivation and ideology:

Their plans began to solidify over the summer as they narrowed down their targets. In August, they settled on the apartment complex in Garden City, a Somali-Muslim enclave, the complaint says. They planned to use cars to set off explosions at the exits to the complex. The explosions would boom around prayer time, when most people would be gathering.

At some point, Allen began watching YouTube videos to learn how to make explosives.He also got to work on a manifesto. But federal investigators, monitoring recordings of their meetings, already knew the group’s guiding philosophies:

“The only f—— way this country’s ever going to get turned around is it will be a bloodbath and it will be a nasty, messy motherf—–,” Stein said in June.

“Unless a lot more people in this country wake up and smell the f—— coffee and decide they want this country back . . . we might be too late, if they do wake up . . . I think we can get it done. But it ain’t going to be nothing nice about it.”

The full text of the federal complaint against the men can be read here.
Given the details of the Kansas plot, it is fitting somehow that three of the entries in this week’s look back at terrorism history involve car bomb attacks.
  •  Oct. 16, 1997 — Sri Lanka: An LTTE truck bomb at a hotel next to the Trade Center in Colombo kills 18 and wounds more than 100, including seven US citizens.
  • Oct. 17, 1995 — France: Bombing at the Paris Metro wounds 30; the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) of Algeria is suspected.
  • Oct. 18, 2003 — Indonesia: Imam Samudra is sentenced to death for his role in the Oct. 12, 2000 bombing in Bali.
  • Oct. 19, 2000 — Sri Lanka: LTTE suicide bomber wounds 23, including three American tourists, in an attack on a town hall near Colombo.
  • Oct. 20, 1981 — Belgium: An Antwerp synagogue is bombed, killing two and wounding 99.
  • Oct. 21, 2002 — Israel: A car bomb explodes next to a bus in Karkur, killing 19; Palestinian Islamic Jihad is suspected.
  • Oct. 22, 2000 — Spain: ETA car bomb kills a prison officer in the Basque town of Vitoria.

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