March 15, 2009: Suicide bomber kills South Korean tourists in Yemen

On this day in 2009 a suicide bomber targeted tourists at a UNESCO world heritage site in Yemen known as the ‘Manhattan of the desert” killing four

SHIBAM, YEMEN – Even if your own country is rarely if ever affected by terrorism, that does not mean that you can avoid it abroad.

Terrorism is a scourge that visits death and destruction in many countries around the world. Far too many. While it is true that some nations dominate the headlines – Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria – it is also true that few countries are entirely immune from attacks.

South Korea may be an exception to that reality.

Other than the 2015 stabbing of the US ambassador I wrote about last week, I cannot recall the last time the Republic of Korea suffered a terrorist attack. I am sure there has been the odd one here and there but that Asian land is not one I come across when I scan for terrorist incidents on a daily basis. It appears to be a fortunate country indeed!

This does not mean that South Korean citizens have not been subjected to terrorist attacks elsewhere.

On this day in 2009

A suicide bomber targeted tourists at a UNESCO world heritage site in Yemen known as the ‘Manhattan of the desert”. Four Koreans and a Yemeni guide were killed and four others were wounded.

When most tourists had got off the jeep and were enjoying the sunset and the surroundings, there was suddenly a bomb explosion. In a second, a hellish situation followed.

Travel agent who had arranged the Korean trip

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was suspected of having been behind the attack. That particular AQ affiliate has been one of the more active of the ‘franchises’ of the terrorist group. This attack demonstrated that no one can guarantee safety from terrorism: even when one is on vacation.

Read More Today in Terrorism

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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