The nature of terrorism changed after the 11 September 2001 attacks (also known as 9/11 attacks) against the United States.

The attack on the New York Trade Centre and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on 11 September 2001 (popularly referred to as 9/11 attack) brought in a new form of terrorism in the world. The concept of terrorism is not new. Terrorism has been defined as the use of violence or the threat to use violence with an intention to create panic in the society and pursue political, religious or ideological goals. Generally, government institutions and officials are primary targets.

The first instance of modern-day terrorism is considered to be the attack on the Israeli Olympic team at Munich in 1972 by the Palestinians. Since then terrorist organizations and groups have indulged in airplane hijackings, bombings and assassinations of political leaders. Traditional forms of terrorism mainly targeted institutions of the state. The terrorists usually fought for the rights of some specific people. The terrorist activity was usually associated with separatist movements.

Modern day terrorism is different in several ways. The terrorists today are not fighting for a specific group in a specific geographic area. The terrorist organizations are motivated and inflamed by an abstract religious ideology, the fight is for abstract goals and the operations are global in nature. After the 9/11 attacks, similar attacks took place in Bali (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005) and Mumbai (2008).

September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities and over 25,000 injuries in addition to at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. It is the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the US, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively. 2008 Mumbai attacks (also referred to as 26/11) were a series of terrorist attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an extremist Islamist terrorist organization based in Pakistan, carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday 26 November and lasted until Saturday 29 November 2008. At least 174 people died, including 9 attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.

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