May 2, 2010 / 3:38 PM / 10 years ago

Timeline: Attacks on U.S. targets

(Reuters) - A crude but powerful car bomb defused in New York’s Times Square was a potential terrorist attack, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Sunday.

Officials have not said whether the suspects could be Americans or foreigners and no claim of responsibility has been made public.

Following is a timeline of some of the worst attacks on the United States and U.S. targets abroad in the last 30 years:

November 1979 - Iranian militants seize the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 90 hostages. Fifty-two people are held captive for 444 days. A U.S. commando mission to rescue the hostages in April 1980 is abandoned in the desert with the loss of eight lives when a helicopter collides with a tanker aircraft. The hostages are released on January 20, 1981, the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as president.

April 1983 - The U.S. embassy in Beirut is destroyed in a suicide car bomb attack. Sixty-three people are killed, among them 17 Americans, including the CIA’s chief Middle East analyst Robert C. Ames.

October 1983 - A suicide car bomb attack by radical Muslims on the headquarters of the U.S. military’s peacekeeping force in Lebanon kills 241 U.S. servicemen. A simultaneous attack on a French base in Beirut kills 58 paratroopers.

December 1985 - An Arab suicide hit squad attacks U.S. and Israeli check-in desks at international airports in Rome and Vienna simultaneously. The attacks claim a total of 20 lives, including four guerrillas.

December 1988 - A Pan American World Airways Boeing 747 crashes on the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people aboard when a bomb on board explodes. Eleven people on the ground are also killed.

February 1993 - Six people are killed and more than 1,000 wounded when a bomb in a van explodes under the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

April 1995 - A truck bomb destroys the U.S. Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people. Two Americans are convicted and one of them is executed.

November 1995 - In Saudi Arabia, a bomb attack on a U.S.-run military center in Riyadh kills seven people, five of them Americans.

June 1996 - A fuel truck bomb kills 19 American soldiers and wounds nearly 400 people at a U.S. military complex in Khobar near the Saudi Arabian oil city of Dhahran.

July 1996 - A bomb explodes at a concert during the Atlanta Olympic Games, killing two people and wounding 110.

August 1998 - Truck bombs explode at U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people, including 12 Americans, and wounding thousands. All but 10 of the deaths are in Nairobi, where the damage is worst.

October 2000 - Suicide bombers ram an explosives-laden rubber raft into the U.S. destroyer Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

September 2001 - Three planes hijacked by al Qaeda militants crash into New York’s World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon near Washington. A fourth hijacked plane crashes in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people are killed in total.

May 2003 - Suicide bombers in vehicles shoot their way into housing compounds for expatriates in the Saudi capital Riyadh as residents sleep. The death toll of 35 includes nine Americans.

December 2004 - Militants storm the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, killing five local staff and four Saudi security personnel. Three militants are killed and two captured.

December 2009 - A Nigerian man is seized after trying to blow up U.S.-bound Northwest Flight 253 as it approaches Detroit. His attempt was thwarted by passengers and crew on the plane who extinguished the flames and restrained him.

April 2010 - Police, tipped off by a street vendor, find and defuse a bomb inside a sport utility vehicle in New York’s Times Square while it was packed with tourists and theater-goers. The entertainment and shopping area is temporarily evacuated.

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit

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