Terrorist Groups: Al-Qaeda

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Al-Qaeda has been termed a terrorist group by numerous global actors, including the United Nations and – more notably – the United States. This labeling has emerged as a result of the organisation’s major terror attacks – such as the bombings of the Madrid train system in 2004 and the London Underground in 2005 – which clearly illustrate its use of violence on civilian targets – a factor commonly used in defining acts of terrorism (Barker 2003). The most publicised of these acts is the September 11 bombings of the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre in 2001, which was the sole influence for responses such as the US War on Terror and the UN adoption of Resolution 1373.

Al-Qaeda was formed during the Cold War in 1988, emerging from the ‘network
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