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Significant Terrorism Events in the News: April 27 - May 26, 2013

Significant Terrorism Events in the News: April 27 - May 26, 2013

May 27, 2013Jaime Shoemaker

START's Significant Terrorism Events in the News is designed to give a brief overview of the past month's most significant developments in terms of terrorism and counterterrorism. The cases were selected based on visibility in the news and regional diversity. The articles selected are intended to be a sample of current events regarding terrorism around the world and not a definitive list.

Turkey: Car bombs near Syrian border kill at least 50 On May 11, two powerful car bombs exploded minutes apart near a municipal building and a post office in the town of Reyhanli. The blasts left at least 50 people dead and about 140 people injured. Reyhanli is just a few miles from the Syrian border and has seen an influx of refugees since the beginning of Syria's civil war. News organizations report that there is growing concern that the violence in Syria will spill over into the region.

While eight or nine local Turkish people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the bombing, Turkish government officials have stated they believe Syria's government may have been involved. Damascus has openly denied any involvement in the bombings.

Egypt: Government shuts down border crossing after police and soldiers kidnapped The Egyptian government has shut down a border crossing between the Sinai peninsula and Gaza after four police officers and three soldiers were kidnapped. The closing of the crossing has left many Palestinians stranded in Egypt. Media reports have not yet stated who kidnapped the security officials, but have said the kidnappers are demanding the release of family/group members from prison.

The officers were taken by armed gunmen outside of the town of El Arish. The Sinai region has become increasingly violent over the last few years with a numerous Bedouin tribes and militant groups operating in the region.

Niger: Deadly coordinated attacks claimed by two emerging groups

On May 23, militants armed with guns and explosives attacked a military base and a French-owned uranium mine in different areas of Niger. Between the two attacks, more than 25 people were killed, including five suicide bombers. The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility for the attacks stating that it "carried out two operations against the enemies of Islam in Niger. [It] attacked France and Niger for its cooperation with France in the war against sharia."

MUJAO was not alone in claiming responsibility for the attack. A representative for the Algerian based group, Those Who Sign in Blood (al-Mua'qi'oon Biddam), claimed that the group had worked in conjunction with MUJAO to carry out the attacks. However, MUJAO has not confirmed or denied that the attacks were a joint operation. Those Who Sign in Blood is recognized as the group responsible for the January 2013 attack against a foreign gas operation in which hundreds were taken hostage and dozens were killed. The leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, is a former commander for Al-Qa`ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM).