September 18, 1997: Two men attack tour bus with automatic weapons in Cairo

One thing we know about terrorism is that it has no boundaries. No single language, ethnicity, religion, ideology or national entity – except maybe Antarctica: I cannot find any terrorist acts there – has an inherent wall around it to prevent terrorism from unfurling its violence on innocent people. Yes, some places suffer disproportionately from its reach but any given locale can find itself one day the victim of an act of ideological violence.

Today’s blog looks at two unrelated – well kinda unrelated – terrorist attacks on this day back in 1997 in two different countries. Here are some details:

The commonality of course is that both were Islamist extremist attacks. I am pretty sure that many would cite 9/11 as the first time they were aware of this brand of terrorism but the few who were studying terrorism before that fateful day knew otherwise. These acts were part and parcel of similar events in the Caucusus, France, North Africa and elsewhere. It would be prudent to remember that.

Lessons? Several. Terrorism has been around for a long time. Many, many places that do not feature ‘above the fold’ have been on the receiving end well before we in the West were. Islamist extremists were powerful then and are powerful now.

This may strike you as ‘new’ only because you have neither the time nor the inclination to follow these things on a daily basis.

Alas, I do.

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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