February 23, 1997: Shooting at Empire State Building in New York

On February 23, 1997 a 69-year old Palestinian opened fire at the Empire State Building in New York, killing one and wounding six.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The past, present and future of Palestine is a contentious issue and does push some to use violence to make their point.

Is there anything more frustrating – or maddening – than the Israel-Palestine issue? Both sides have been going at it for decades and horrible atrocities have been committed by both sides. It is truly a ‘neverending story‘.

And the violence has not been limited to the actual area where both factions seem convinced that ‘god‘ (Allah/Yahweh) is on their side. As an old colleague of mine at CSIS once told me: “When you put god between two sides of an equation it is irresoluble”.

For instance…

On this day in 1997

A 69-year old Palestinian named Ali Hassan Abu Kamal opened fire on the observation deck of the iconic Empire State Building in New York, killing one and wounding six before taking his own life with a gunshot to the head. He was apparently ‘angry’ over the Palestine-Israel issue, although his widow stated the shooting spree was not politically motivated, but rooted in his despondency over financial ruin.

I heard a loud popping noise. I thought at first it was a little child playing with fireworks.

French tourist Jean-Luec Will

More violence because of one of the world’s longest lasting disputes. As some have said: “A pox on both their houses.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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