Paris terror attack: Latest in a long history of attacks

Demonstrators gather at the Place de la Republique after a shooting at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The attack was the latest in a long history of terror attacks in France.  Photo AP / Christophe Ena
Demonstrators gather at the Place de la Republique after a shooting at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The attack was the latest in a long history of terror attacks in France. Photo AP / Christophe Ena

Gunmen killed 12 people in a cold-blooded attack Wednesday in the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in the deadlist attack in the country in decades.

It revived fears of a return to the dark days of the 1980s and 1990s when France was hit by a wave of extremist violence.

The Paris massacre was the deadliest in France since the 1954-1962 Algerian war which witnessed guerrilla warfare and terror attacks and eventually led to Algeria gaining independence from France. Here is a rundown of previous major attacks in France since 1978.

- May 20, 1978: Palestinian militants open fire at Orly airport south of Paris, targeting passengers for a flight to Tel Aviv. Eight people die, including three gunmen, two police officers and three passengers.

- October 3, 1980: A bomb explodes outside Paris synagogue, killing four people and wounding some 20.

- March 29, 1982: An attack on a train between Toulouse and Paris on which then Paris mayor Jacques Chirac was supposed to travel kills five people and wounds 77. The international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal is suspected of involvement.

- August 9, 1982: Five people open fire and throw grenades in an attack on the Goldenberg restaurant in the Jewish quarter of Paris. Six people die and 22 are wounded. The crime has never been solved.

- July 15, 1983: A bomb explodes at the Turkish Airlines counter at Orly airport, killing eight and wounding 54. Three Armenian nationals are convicted of the attack in March 1985.

- December 31, 1983: Two people die and 34 are wounded when a bomb explodes at the main train station in Marseille, southern France. A few minutes earlier, another bomb on a high-speed train travelling between Paris and Marseille kills three people. Both attacks are claimed by an Arab group linked to Carlos.

- September 17, 1986: A bomb placed outside the Tati department store in Paris kills seven people and wounds around 55. It is the worst of 15 such attacks, three of which were foiled, committed by a pro-Iranian group in 1985-86 that killed a total of 13 people and wounded 303.

- July 25, 1995: A bomb in an RER commuter train explodes at the Saint Michel metro station in Paris, killing eight people and wounding 119. It is the worst of nine attacks generally attributed to Algerian extremists that killed a total of eight people and wounded more than 200 that summer. Two men are convicted in 2002 of three attacks and sentenced to life in prison.

- December 3, 1996: Another bomb explodes along the same RER line, one station away at Port Royal, killing four people and wounding 91. Carried out using gas canisters, the bombing is similar to the 1995 attacks.

- March 11, 2012: On March 11 and 15, Mohamed Merah, 23, shoots three soldiers dead in Toulouse, and Montauban, southern France, before killing three students and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse on March 19.Merah is killed on March 22 in a shootout following the siege of his apartment by French police.Outside France, a DC-10 airliner belonging to French airline UTA on September 19, 1989, blew up as it flew over Niger, killing 170 people, including 54 French. In 1999, six suspected members of Libya's secret services were sentenced in abstentia to life in prison for the attack.

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