Four major terrorist attacks in as many countries in just eight days have rocked the world and killed at least 144 people while injuring hundreds more.
While the attacks do not appear to have been coordinated — the Taliban claimed responsibility for one attack and the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for two others and was blamed for a third — the violence highlights terrorism’s broad reach and perhaps signals a harsh new reality in the world we live in.
“It could happen anytime,” Robert McFadden, retired special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), told Mashable, adding that an attack doesn’t have to be perfect to be successful. “Bad guys only have to get it half right once. Good guys only have to get it wrong once.”
At least 72 people were killed in a suicide bombing on Easter Sunday at a park in the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province where Christian families were celebrating the holiday.
The Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction, which once declared loyalty to ISIS, claimed responsibility for Sunday’s suicide attack, Reuters reported. The group’s spokesman said it was targeting Christians, according to The New York Times.
On Monday, Pakistan’s army launched raids and arrested several suspects. Meanwhile, a local graveyard was so busy the day after the attack, The Guardian‘s correspondent reported, “that the smell of smouldering rubbish was temporarily masked by the incense and perfumed flowers laid on the graves of five other young victims of the bombing.”
As The New York Times reported, the Lahore bombing is merely one of dozens of attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians in Pakistan in recent years and the third this month. The Taliban or its splinter groups have claimed responsibility for many of them.
After weaving through a crowd of people celebrating the end of a soccer match in Iskandariya, a town about 25 miles south of Baghdad, a suicide attacker detonated an explosive vest and killed 32 people on March 25. Seventeen of the victims were boys between the ages of 10 and 16 who at the time of the blast were being awarded trophies, an official from the Babil province health directorate told AFP. Some 84 people in all were wounded.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted online, the SITE intelligence group reported. The bomber appeared to have been a teenaged boy, AFP reported.
Belgian authorities on Monday raised the death toll from the twin attacks against Brussels’ airport and subway on March 22 to 35 people, including four Americans. Additionally, more than 300 people were injured in the attacks, which took place in the busy early morning hours while people were commuting.
ISIS was quick to claim credit for the blasts, the second of which struck only blocks from the European Union headquarters.
The bombings exposed the failures of Belgium’s — and greater Europe’s — security and intelligence services, which had been on high alert for more than a year after attacks in Paris in January and November of 2015.
They also left a society already on edge deeply rattled and pondering whether this has become Europe’s new normal.
A suicide bomber on March 19 blew himself up on Istiklal Street in the bustling center of Istanbul’s shopping district, killing at least five people.
The attack, caught on video, shows the bomber dressed in dark jeans and a sweatshirt strolling among passers-by before he detonates his vest.
Turkey first suggested the attack was carried out by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group fighting for Kurdish autonomy in the country’s southeast. Later, however, it blamed the attack on a Turkish member of ISIS.
The attack marked the country’s sixth suicide bombing in the past year. Just two weeks ago, a car bomb tore through a bus depot in the capital, Ankara, killing at least 34 people.