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Over the past two decades, the United States has had to address the threat of terrorism. Previously terrorism seemed to be something that only happened in other countries. The September 11, 2001, attack proved that is not true. This country is not immune from terrorist attacks because of it size or geographic location.

What is Terrorism? It is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion or ransom. Terrorism includes the use of threats as well as actual violence. Terrorists may try to create a climate of fear among the public, try to show people that their government is powerless to stop them or to get publicity for their causes. The FBI categorizes terrorism in the United States as one of two types: domestic or international.

Domestic terrorism involves violence by political or religious extremists based in the United States. The bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 was the largest single act of domestic terrorism in this country.

International terrorism involves violence by groups or individuals controlled and directed from overseas. It may be sponsored by foreign governments or sub-national organizations. International terrorists may strike at targets within the United States or at American citizens, institutions or interests overseas. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have fueled international terrorist threats against the United State and other Western countries. A number of attempted attacks against targets in the U.S. and Europe have been foiled by good intelligence and police work, and sometimes by luck.

Faisal Shahzad, the man who attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York's Time Square on May 1, 2010, was observed by passersby and was arrested by the FBI two days later. If you observe suspicious activity, especially near potential terrorist targets such as transportation facilities or areas where large crowds gather, call 911 to alert police. Publications listed below, provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, provide details on what constitutes suspicious activity in a variety of situations. Click on the links for more information.

Potential Indications of Terrorist Activities:

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