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A history of terrorism and sport


A history of terrorism and sport

The recent attack on the Stade de France has resulted in international outcry and renewed concerns over security at major sporting events. However, the attack in Paris is not the first time that a sport event or athletes have been targeted.

1972 Munich, Germany

: During the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, the Palestinian militant group Black September took the Israeli national team hostage. The 16-hour stand-off ended in the death of 11 athletes and coaches, and one German police officer.

1996 Atlanta, USA: During the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Eric Rudolph planted a knapsack with three bombs underneath a bench in the Olympic park as crowds gathered to watch a concert. The blast killed two people and injured 120.

1997 Liverpool, UK: The Grand National race course had to be evacuated after two coded bomb threats were reportedly received from the IRA. Luckily none of the 60,000 spectators were hurt and the event took place two days later.

2002 Karachi, Pakistan: A suicide bomb blast outside the New Zealand national cricket team’s hotel killed 11 French navy experts, two Pakistanis, and the team’s physiotherapist.

2002 Madrid, Spain: The Basque separatist group E.T.A. detonated a car bomb close to the Bernabau, Madrid's main stadium, hours before the start of Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final against arch rivals Barcelona. Similarly, a bomb threat in 2004 forced the abandonment of Real's match against Real Sociedad.

2006 Iraqi Olympic Team: The Iraqi Olympic team was targeted on three separate occasions. On 17 May, 15 athletes and staff members of the taekwondo team were kidnapped while traveling to Jordan for a competition, and were never heard from again. On 26 May, gunmen killed the Iraq tennis coach and two players, and on 15 July, 37 officials and athletes along with the head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee were kidnapped. Only 13 of them were ever released.

2008 Waliweriaya, Sri Lanka: A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber detonated a device at the start of the New Year Marathon, killing a dozen people and injuring almost 100.

2008 Mauritania: The Dakar Rally was cancelled for the first time in its 30-year history due to the security threat from al Qaeda. The organisers cited safety warnings from the French government and threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organisations. The rally was held again the following year, but was moved to South America.

2009 Lahore, Pakistan: The Sri Lankan cricket team bus was attacked by roughly a dozen gunmen, who fired rockets, grenades and multiple rounds of ammunition at the cricketers and their police escorts. Eight were killed and six injured.

2010 Cabinda, Angola: Three people were killed when the Togo football team bus was attacked by an Angolan separatist group at the African Cup of Nations.

2013 Boston, USA: Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev set off pressure cooker bombs and explosive devices at the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and injuring 264 people.


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Sibylle Freiermuth


Monday, November 30, 2015 - 23:00