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The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon were the first in a series of dramatic and destructive terrorist attacks in which Islamist extremists sought to coerce Western and pro-Western governments into changing at least some of their policies. Subsequently, there were major attacks in the United Kingdom, Spain, Algeria, Egypt, and Jordan by Islamist radicals. Thousands of people perished in the September 11 attacks alone, and hundreds died after trains were bombed in London and Madrid.

These attacks made terrorism a front-and-center issue in the United States and Western Europe, but terrorism has been a major concern for many decades in many different parts of the world. Israel, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, the ...

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