Why Terrorists Attack Airports


Jan 25, 2011

This commentary originally appeared on CNN on January 25, 2011.

The bombing of Moscow's Domodedovo Airport that killed 35 and wounded 152 was not the first of its kind in Russia.

Suicide bombers managed to beat security measures there in 2004 and bring down two airliners, killing 88 people. Despite extraordinary security measures, terrorists remain obsessed with attacking airline targets.

When faced with increased security, terrorists do not abandon commercial aviation as a venue for their violence. They attack airports instead, as the terrorists did Monday in Russia.

Attacks on airports give terrorists the symbolic value they seek and guarantee the attention of the international news media. They also create alarm locally. Russians now likely fear that a new operational terrorist cell is at large in Moscow while, internationally, tourists and business executives re-evaluate their travel plans....

The remainder of this op-ed can be found at cnn.com.

Brian Michael Jenkins, senior adviser to the president at the RAND Corp., is the author of "Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?" (2008, Prometheus Books). He formerly was chair of the Political Science Department at RAND, a nonprofit research organization focusing on public policy, and founded its terrorism research program in 1972.

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