The history of terrorism using biological and nuclear weapons

Timeline created by facebooker_1243257936048980
  • Geneva Protocol

    Geneva Protocol
    The 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons. The Protocol was drawn up and signed at a conference which was held in Geneva under the auspices of the League of Nations from 4 May to 17 June 1925, and it entered into force on 8 February 1928.
  • Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    Even though this is not a terrorist attack, this remains the only use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people.
  • Chicago Incident

    Chicago Incident
    In 1972 police in Chicago arrested two college students, Allen Schwander and Stephen Pera, who had planned a bioterror event of poisoning the city’s water supply with typhoid and other bacteria.
  • Biological Weapons Convention

    Biological Weapons Convention
    The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) was the first multilateral treaty categorically banning a class of weapons. The treaty prohibits the development, stockpile, production, or transfer of biological agents and toxins of "types and quantities" that have no justification for protective or peaceful use.
  • Oregon food poisoning

    Oregon food poisoning
    In Oregon followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh attempted to control a local election by incapacitating the local population. This was done by infecting salad bars in 11 restaurants, produce in grocery stores, doorknobs, and other public domains with Salmonella typhimurium bacteria in the city of The Dalles, Oregon. The attack infected 751 people with severe food poisoning. There were no fatalities. This incident was the first known bioterrorist attack in the United States in the 20th century.
  • Aum Shinrikyo and the Anthrax Attacks on Tokyo

    Aum Shinrikyo and the Anthrax Attacks on Tokyo
    In June 1993, the religious group Aum Shinrikyo released anthrax in Tokyo. Eyewitnesses reported a foul odor. The attack was a failure because it did not infect a single person. The reason for this is due to the fact that the group used the vaccine strain of the bacterium. The spores which were recovered from the site of the attack showed that they were identical to an anthrax vaccine strain that was given to animals at the time.
  • Subway Sarin Incident

    Subway Sarin Incident
    The Tokyo subway sarin attack, an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated on 20 March 1995, in Tokyo, Japan, by members of the cult movement Aum Shinrikyo. In five coordinated attacks, the perpetrators released sarin on three lines of the Tokyo Metro (then part of the Tokyo subway) during rush hour, killing 12 people severely injuring 50, and causing temporary vision problems for nearly 1,000 others.
  • Anthrax attacks after 9/11

    Anthrax attacks after 9/11
    The 2001 anthrax attacks, also known as Amerithrax occurred in the United States over the course of several weeks beginning on September 18, 2001, one week after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Letters laced with infectious anthrax were concurrently delivered to news media offices and the U.S Congress, alongside an ambiguously related case in Chile. The letters killed 5.
  • Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI)

    Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI)
    Global Threat Reduction Initiative was established in order to consolidate the nuclear stockpiles of highly enriched uranium (HEU), plutonium, and assemble nuclear weapons at fewer locations. The GTRI converted HEU fuels to LEU fuels, which has prevented their use in making a nuclear bomb within a short amount of time. HEU that has not been converted to LEU has been shipped back to secure sites, while amplified security measures have taken hold around vulnerable nuclear facilities.
  • Nuclear Terrorism Convention

    Nuclear Terrorism Convention
    The Nuclear Terrorism Convention (formally, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism) is a 2005 United Nations treaty designed to criminalize acts of nuclear terrorism and to promote police and judicial cooperation to prevent, investigate and punish those acts.
  • Alexander Litvinenko poisoning

    Alexander Litvinenko poisoning
    In November 2006, the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning with radioactive polonium represents “the beginning of an era of nuclear terrorism," according to Andrew J. Patterson.
    Alexander Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and KGB. After speaking critically about what he saw as corruption within the Russian government, he fled retribution to the UK. Six years after fleeing, he was poisoned by two Russians in a suspected assassination.
  • Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

    Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
    Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin jointly announced the organization of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). It is an international partnership of 89 nations and six official observers working to improve capacity on a national and international level for prevention, detection, and response to a nuclear terrorist event.
  • Pelindaba nuclear research facility attack

    Pelindaba nuclear research facility attack
    In November 2007, burglars with unknown intentions infiltrated the Pelindaba nuclear research facility near Pretoria, South Africa. The burglars escaped without acquiring any of the uranium held at the facility.
  • World Institute for Nuclear Security

    World Institute for Nuclear Security
    The World Institute for Nuclear Security is an organization that seeks to prevent nuclear terrorism and improve world nuclear security. It works alongside the International Atomic Energy Agency. WINS was formed in 2008, less than a year after a break-in at the Pelindaba nuclear facility in South Africa, which contained enough enriched uranium to make several nuclear bombs.
  • ISIS acquires low grade nuclear materials

    ISIS acquires low grade nuclear materials
    After the fall of Mosul, ISIS militants captured nuclear materials from Mosul University. In a letter to the UN, Iraq's UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said that the materials had been kept at the university and "can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction". However, Nuclear experts regarded the threat as insignificant. IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said that the seized materials were "low grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation.