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Suicide attacks a rare war tactic

©Associated Press

March 30, 2003

Suicide attacks are a recent development and remain rare. Only Japan's military during World War II and the current era's Sri Lankan rebels and Muslim militants have practiced suicide warfare.

Japanese kamikaze pilots crashed planes into American warships in an attempt to turn the tide of the Pacific war. About 2,200 died while sinking at least 34 U.S. warships and damaging 300 others.

Arab extremists have used suicide attacks in their conflict with Israel. Attacks aimed at others include a 1983 truck bombing that killed 241 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, Lebanon.

In Russia's Chechnya region, where Muslim rebels are fighting the Russian army, drivers exploded truck bombs in a government compound Dec. 27, killing more than 40 people and wounding 70.

Ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka used suicide bombers during their 19-year rebellion, before starting peace negotiations last year.

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