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What is Terrorism?

In order to try to define terrorism we must find a way to differentiate it from other forms of political violence. Walzer has defined terrorism as the intentional killing of innocents. However, such a definition could also apply to other forms of political violence and also relies on us knowing the intentions of the perpetrators which may be hard to discover. A better definition focuses on the fact that the victims of acts of terror (who are often few in number) are not the true targets. The targets of terrorism are the wider societies that the victims are members of. The aim of terrorism is not necessarily to kill innocents, but to strike terror into whole populations. This sets it appart from acts such as assassinations where the victim is the primary target.

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