chapter  Chapter 19
Suicide terrorism
ByAssaf Moghadam
Pages 9

This chapter aims to provide an overview of conceptual and definitional aspects of suicide terrorism; offer a brief historical background of this modus operandi; and review the main explanations for suicide terrorism. In the decade and a half after the attacks of September 11, 2001, suicide terrorism has become a household tactic used by a growing number of terrorist and insurgent groups. Suicide missions are most commonly defined narrowly, as attacks whose success is contingent upon the death of the perpetrator. Salafi-Jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda and its various affiliates, as well as the so-called "Islamic State" and its various predecessor organizations and affiliates, have long become the prime perpetrators of the tactic. Antecedents of contemporary suicide attacks were employed over the course of several centuries in three Muslim communities in the Malabar coast of southwestern India, Aceh in northern Sumatra, and Mindanao and Sulu in the southern Philippines.