The radical Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for many attacks against students in Nigeria
Taliban militants raided an army-operated school In 2014 in Pakistan, killing at least 145 -- most of them children
Two bombings in eight days underscored the reality that sometimes children aren’t just incidental casualties of terror attacks – they also can be the apparent prime targets.
On May 22, a bomb exploded just outside Britain’s Manchester Arena as people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert, heavily attended by teenage and preteen girls. At least 22 people, including children, were killed in the terror attack.
Eight days later, a bomb exploded at an ice cream shop in the heart of Baghdad, killing 10 people and injuring 40 others. Most of the victims were women and children, and the street was littered with toys, baby bottles and small shoes, a witness said.
These are just two of the many times in this century alone that a terror attack targeted children or a place where youths would have been expected to gather. Here are a few other examples:
Afghanistan: Poison and acid attacks
Numerous schoolgirls have been attacked in Afghanistan over the past two decades, in part to dissuade them and others from attending school.
Hundreds have been hospitalized over the years, for example, because of poisoning attacks at their schools – including contamination of their drinking water and the suspected spraying of toxic substances.
Girls were forbidden from going to school when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001. Schools resumed regular operations after a US-led invasion toppled the regime, but they still have come under attack in the post-Taliban era.
Nigeria: Many Boko Haram attacks against students
The radical Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for many attacks against students in Nigeria. Among them:
• November 2014: At least 58 students were killed and 117 injured when a suicide bomber attacked a crowded student assembly ground inside Government Comprehensive Secondary School in Potiskum.
Boko Haram militants also kidnapped more than 270 girls and women, ages 15 to 18, from a boarding school in Chibok, sparking global outrage. Scores of the captives either escaped or were released over the past few years; 113 remain unaccounted for.
Norway, 2011: Massacre at a political youth camp
Anders Behring Breivik, an ultranationalist who authorities say was upset about the rise of multiculturalism in Norway, detonated a bomb in Oslo, killing eight, before shooting to death 69 people – including minors – at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island.
Charged with committing acts of terror and voluntary homicide, Breivik was judged sane and sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Pakistan, 2012: Malala Yousafzai shot
Teen activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen as the 14-year-old headed home from school in Pakistan’s conservative Swat Valley in October 2012.
Malala had enraged the militant group by blogging against extremists who wanted to force girls to stay at home instead of going to school, and had won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize in 2011 for her efforts.
She survived and returned to school months after the attack, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Pakistan, 2014: Attackers kill 132 children at school
Taliban militants raided an army-operated school in Peshawar in December 2014, killing at least 145, including 132 children.
Most of those killed were between the ages of 12 and 16. Some of the victims were shot in an auditorium where they’d been taking exams.
More than 100 people were injured, many of them suffering gunshot wounds.
A Pakistan Taliban spokesman told CNN that the attack was revenge for the deaths of hundreds of tribesmen during army operations.
Russia, 2004: Beslan school siege
Heavily armed Chechen separatists took more than 1,000 people hostage for days in a school gymnasium in Beslan, North Ossetia. After Russian troops moved in to end the standoff, more than 330 people – including more than 180 children – were dead.
In 2006, the only surviving hostage-taker was sentenced to life in prison.