OPINION

Opinion

The face of terrorism has changed radically in comparison to what it was back in the 1970s, commentators say. The main difference, analysts say, lies in the terrorists’ profile and targets. However, there is one more crucial difference: Changes in the nature of terrorism have gone hand-in-hand with the tendency of cities to grow in size. The new element in the last terrorist strike was not the idea of using aircraft. Since 1972, airlines and airports have constituted the targets of terrorist attacks (at least eight such strikes took place between 1972 and 1989). Until recently, however, they have been the target (not the means) and never resulted in the deaths of more than a few dozen or, at the most, of 200 people. Now attacks are designed in such a way as to claim thousands of lives. The urban network serves the intentions of the terrorists. One single strike produces the maximum effect. Half of the world’s population live in megacities whose size is rapidly growing, especially in the Third World… The huge number of casualties – so far due to natural disasters, from now on also due to terrorist attacks – are mainly a result of one factor: the huge size of cities in poor and rich countries alike…