The April 15, 2013 bombing near the finish line at the Boston Marathon marked the first successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil in more than a decade. The attack left three dead and 264 injured—and adds to a growing list of international terrorism incidents that have occurred since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
The 2002 Bali bombings, the 2004 Russian aircraft and Madrid train bombings, the London transportation bombings of 2005 and the Mumbai attacks of 2008 all had a profound influence on the 2001 to 2010 decade. Then came 2011, a landmark year, which simultaneously saw the death of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and the 10-year anniversary of September 11.
While the loss of bin Laden and other key al-Qaida figures put the network on a path of decline that is difficult to reverse, the State Department warned that al-Qaida, its affiliates and adherents remained adaptable and resilient, and constitute “an enduring and serious threat to our national security.”
The Boston bombing serves as an important reminder that countries also face homegrown terrorist threats from radical individuals who may be inspired by al-Qaida and others, but may have little or no actual connection to militant groups.
Various factors suggest that terrorism risk will be a constant, evolving and potentially expanding threat for the foreseeable future. And the looming expiration at the end of 2014 of the government-backed Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIPRA) is prompting increased dialogue between industry and government about terrorism risk, a discussion that has gained critical importance in the wake of the Boston bombing.