Killing the Killers: Terror Snapshot

Terrorism’s global reach can best be understood by this overview of terror incidents during the two-year period of 2016 through 2017. This snapshot of terror details incidents not recorded in this book, many of which did not attract major-media attention.


January 1: Six car bombs explode in Baghdad.

August 7: ISIS suicide bombers attack a US-backed Syrian rebel base. Several people are killed.

August 18: ISIS suicide bombers kill at least twelve Syrian fighters.

August 29: ISIS kills fifty-four in a suicide attack on army recruits in Aden, Yemen.

August 30: ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani is killed in a US air strike.

September 9: Three French women connected with ISIS are arrested for planning to attack the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris.

September 9: Suicide bombers attack the al-Nakheel Mall in Baghdad, killing twelve people and injuring more than forty.

September 11: Three women connected with ISIS attack a police station in Mombasa, Kenya. One officer is stabbed and the building is set on fire.

September 17–18: Nine people are stabbed by a lone man affiliated with ISIS at the Crossroads Center mall in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.

September 26: ISIS militants murder five individuals in Egypt for allegedly collaborating with the Egyptian army.

October 14: ISIS militants kill twelve Egyptian soldiers at a checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula.

October 24: Suicide bombers murder sixty-one sleeping police cadets at a training academy in Pakistan.

October 27–29: A Kenyan police officer is attacked by a lone man with a knife outside the US embassy in Nairobi.

November 4: ISIS kills eight people with a car bomb in southern Turkey.

November 12: ISIS claims responsibility for a bomb blast at Shah Noorani shrine in Baluchistan province, Pakistan, that kills more than fifty people.

November 19: ISIS militia kills five police officers in an attack south of Mosul, Iraq.

November 21: ISIS claims responsibility for an attack on the Shia Baqir ul-Uloom mosque in Kabul. Thirty people die.

November 25: ISIS claims responsibility for an attack on an Egyptian military checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula. Twelve soldiers die.

November 27: ISIS fires at Israeli troops patrolling the Golan Heights. Four of the gunmen are then killed in an Israeli air strike.

December 11–13: An ISIS suicide bomber attacks Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral, killing at least twenty-five people.

December 18: An ISIS suicide bomber kills at least seven in an attack on Libyan forces in Benghazi.

December 18: ISIS suicide bombers kill forty-eight Yemeni security officials and wound dozens in the southern port of Aden.

December 18–20: Gunmen lay siege to Karak Castle in southern Jordan, killing nine and injuring twenty-nine more in gunfire exchanges with security forces. Jordan declares an end to the siege after all four gunmen are eventually killed. The Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack.

December 22: ISIS detonates three car bombs that kill at least twenty-three, including eight police officers, in Mosul.


January 1: ISIS kills seven police officers at an Iraqi police checkpoint near Najaf.

January 1–2: An ISIS gunman kills thirty-nine people in a mass shooting at a nightclub in Istanbul.

January 2: ISIS claims responsibility for a car bomb that kills twenty-four in Baghdad. ISIS militants also kill seven police officers in a related attack.

January 5: ISIS kills fourteen people in a Baghdad car bomb attack.

January 6: ISIS kills four Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq.

January 7: A fuel truck detonates in a town in northern Syria, killing dozens.

January 8: ISIS detonates a car bomb at a vegetable market in Baghdad. Thirteen people are killed.

January 9–10: A suicide bomber attacks a security post in the city of el-Arish, Egypt, killing ten and wounding twenty-two.

January 19: ISIS executes twelve people in Palmyra, Syria.

January 20: An ISIS car bomb kills five Turkish soldiers and injures nine near the northern Syrian town of al-Bab.

February 7–8: A suicide bomber attacks Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in Kabul, killing twenty and injuring another forty-one.

February 8: ISIS gunmen attack the International Village Hotel in Somalia, killing four guards.

February 10: An ISIS suicide bomber attacks a restaurant in Mosul, killing four.

February 16: An ISIS suicide bomber attacks a Sufi shrine Pakistan. At least seventy-two people are killed, including thirty children.

February 24: An ISIS car bomb kills more than fifty people in the village of Sousian, Syria.

February 26–27: An ISIS bomber attacking a police station in Algeria is shot and killed before he can enter the building.

March 8: ISIS gunmen dressed as medics attack a hospital in Kabul, killing more than thirty.

March 24: An ISIS suicide bomber attacks security forces near an airport in Bangladesh. Two police officers are injured.

March 24: ISIS militants attack a military base in Chechnya, killing six Russian soldiers.

March 25: ISIS bombings in Bangladesh result in six deaths and more than forty wounded.

March 29: ISIS in Egypt beheads two men for practicing witchcraft and sorcery.

April 7: ISIS fighters kill dozens of civilians attempting to flee Mosul.

April 9: ISIS bombs two Catholic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday. Sixty-five worshippers are murdered.

April 12: An ISIS suicide bomber kills at least five people in an attack near the Afghan Defense Ministry in Kabul.

April 18: ISIS gunmen attack Egyptian security forces near St. Catherine’s Monastery on the Sinai Peninsula. One police officer is killed and four more wounded.

April 18–20: An ISIS gunman kills a Paris police officer.

April 21: An ISIS gunman kills two in an attack on a regional Russian Federal Security Service office.

April 28: An ISIS car bomb kills four Iraqi traffic officers in Baghdad.

April 29: ISIS murders senior Afghan Taliban official Maulvi Daud in Peshawar, Pakistan.

April 30: ISIS fighters kill three Iraqi soldiers and wound eight in an attack near the Syrian border.

May 2: ISIS militants attack the Rajm al-Salibi refugee camp in Syria, killing thirty-eight people.

May 3: An ISIS suicide bomber kills eight civilians after attacking a NATO convoy in Kabul.

May 7: ISIS suicide bombers kill two and injure six after attacking a military base home to US military advisers in northern Iraq.

May 12: An ISIS bomb kills twenty-five and injures thirty-five more in Pakistan.

May 15: ISIS claims responsibility for two car bombs that kill at least six people near a refugee camp along the Syria-Jordan border.

May 17: Four ISIS gunmen and one suicide bomber kill six and injure at least nineteen people in Afghanistan.

May 18: Islamic State militants kill twenty people near Aleppo, Syria.

May 19: An ISIS suicide car bomber murders several civilians near Basra.

May 20: ISIS fighters kill almost two dozen, including two children, in a village outside of Deir ez-Zor.

May 23: A car bomb kills four and injures thirty-two in Homs, Syria.

May 24–25: ISIS suicide bombers kill three Indonesian police officers in two blasts near a bus station in Jakarta.

May 26–27: ISIS gunmen attack a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt, killing at least twenty-eight people.

May 30: An ISIS car bomb kills thirteen people and injures thirty in Baghdad.

May 31–June 1: ISIS gunmen attack an Algerian military patrol unit south of Algiers. Four soldiers are wounded.

June 5: An ISIS gunman holds a woman hostage in Melbourne. Three officers are injured in the resulting stand-off before Australian authorities shoot the terrorist dead.

June 8: ISIS admits to murdering two Chinese teachers kidnapped in Pakistan.

June 9: An ISIS female suicide bomber kills at least thirty-one people and injures thirty-five at an Iraqi market in Al-Musayab.

July 7: ISIS suicide car bombs kill at least twenty-three Egyptian soldiers and injure another twenty-six at two military checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula.

July 10: A US Army sergeant stationed in Hawaii is arrested for attempting to provide drone aircraft and combat training instructions to the Islamic State.

July 17: An ISIS car bomb kills four people at a security checkpoint in northeast Syria.

August 9: ISIS kills four Egyptian police officers in an attack on a patrol car in the Sinai Peninsula.

August 14: A suspected ISIS militant stabs and kills a Turkish police officer while being taken into custody.

August 17–22: ISIS claims responsibility for an attack by a man driving a van through a crowded pedestrian area in Barcelona. At least thirteen people are dead and more than eighty injured.

August 19: A man inspired by ISIS attacks several people with a knife in the Siberian city of Surgut, Russia. There are no fatalities.

August 25: ISIS fighters attack the Shia Imam Zamin mosque in Kabul during Friday prayers. Thirty worshippers are killed.

August 25–26: An ISIS-inspired man carrying a knife attacks two soldiers in Brussels. The attacker is shot dead.

August 28: An ISIS car bomb kills at least eight people and injures twenty-five in an attack at a vegetable market in a Shia district of Baghdad.

August 30: ISIS claims responsibility for a suicide attack in Jalalabad on the home of the deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament.

August 31: ISIS murders two police officers in a suicide attack on a police station in western Algeria.

September 2: ISIS suicide bombers attack a power station north of Baghdad, killing seven people.

September 14: ISIS militants attack a police checkpoint and two other targets in southern Iraq. At least sixty people are killed.

September 29: ISIS kills one and injures five in a suicide attack near the Shia Hussainya mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

October 1: An ISIS fighter shouting “Allahu Akbar” stabs two women to death in a knife attack in the southern French port city of Marseille.

October 1–2: ISIS murders more than sixty civilians in central Syria.

October 2–3: Two ISIS suicide bombers attack a police station in Damascus, killing at least ten.

October 3: ISIS releases a video showing two captured Russian soldiers in Deir ez-Zor, Syria. Russia denies that any troops have been taken prisoner.

October 4: ISIS gunmen kill at least four and injure another forty in a suicide attack in Libya.

October 5: An ISIS suicide bomber kills eighteen people in southwest Pakistan.

October 11: ISIS suicide bombers attack police in Damascus, killing two and injuring six.

October 12: ISIS kills at least fifty people in three car bomb attacks in northeast Syria.

October 13: ISIS murders six Egyptian soldiers in an attack on a military post in the Sinai Peninsula.

October 15: ISIS militants attack security outposts in the Sinai Peninsula, killing six soldiers and injuring more than twenty.

October 20: ISIS suicide bombers kill seventy-two people in attacks on two mosques in Afghanistan.

October 24–26: ISIS murders eight soldiers and one civilian in northeast Nigeria.

November 5: An ISIS suicide car bomber kills fifteen and injures twenty in south Yemen.

November 7: ISIS gunmen disguised as police kill two at a television station in Kabul.

November 14: An ISIS car bomb kills at least six people in Aden.

November 16: An ISIS suicide bomber kills nine in Kabul, Afghanistan.

November 17: An ISIS-planted car bomb kills twenty people and injures another thirty in Syria.

November 24: ISIS militants attack a Sufi mosque on the Sinai Peninsula, killing 305 people and injuring at least 128 others.


Writing a book on terrorism is a unique research challenge. The key players live in a clandestine world, whether it be the terrorists themselves, the intelligence agencies who shadow them, or the Special Forces operators who do the hunting. In a world of TikTok and YouTube, where it seems like everyone is trying to be famous, these men and women do their best to remain almost completely out of the limelight.

But the information is out there. Not all of it—there are some events in this book that will not be fully revealed to the public for years. In those instances, we opted for as much detail as the research allowed, only writing in specifics when facts could be verified. The rest—all the stuff that’s still top secret—we did not even try to guess about and chose to let those details remain vague.

We were helped to an extreme amount by five wise men whose names shall remain off the record. They spoke on background, under the condition of anonymity. Very often the interviews veered into a level of confidentiality, whereupon the authors were politely told, “I can’t answer that question.” But for the data that could be discussed, these gentlemen provided opinions and details. Their wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter is formidable, and all thanks go to them for being patient and kind in answering what must to them have felt like very basic questions.

In addition to the hurdle of writing about a topic that is still highly classified, there was the issue of travel. A normal part of writing a Killing book is going to the locations being described, whether that be walking one of Crazy Horse’s battlefields or visiting the site of a gangland slaying. Nothing beats studying the land to provide context while trying to set a scene.

But COVID and terrorism made travel a no-go for this book. Other than a long layover in Istanbul, there were no visits to the Middle East during the writing process. Most locations are off-limits or war zones. Instead, we made great use of satellite imagery to see the color of soil, the density of a forest, the width of roads, and a thousand other details that seem minor until you start trying to describe something.

The same should also be said about the plethora of video footage now available online, allowing the same view of a location or event as if we had been there ourselves.

Not surprisingly, online newspaper databases are an enormous help in researching terror. Google an event, and the same day in history will be described in dozens of different newspapers. We leaned on papers from New York, Tehran, Paris, London, and cities across Asia and Africa. Some depend upon the wire services, which is obvious when the exact same article is run in big-city newspapers around the world. The trick is finding the newspapers that do their own reporting, digging deep into a happening to provide specifics other writers don’t put in their stories: the caliber of a weapon, temperature, local color, and many other tiny details for which researchers like us are truly thankful.

It is a common practice to mine the bibliographies of well-researched books on a topic. This is a road map into the data hunt. But while those books on terror are definitely out there, we didn’t lean on them. Most events we describe are too recent for books to offer the sort of perspective that can be found by looking back on an event thirty or fifty years later. But there were a few we consulted, mostly about the bin Laden raid or General Soleimani. A great thanks to those authors for their expertise and attention to detail.

And finally, an enormous thanks to the family of Kayla Mueller.

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!