MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Police and fans close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.  There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening.  Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
How the Manchester Arena explosion unfolded
01:11 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

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

CNN  — 

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

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Mysterious gas sickens hundreds of Afghan school girls
00:45 - Source: CNN

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.

Acid has been thrown at other schoolgirls, disfiguring them.

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

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Islamists blamed for school attack
01:45 - Source: CNN

The radical Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for many attacks against students in Nigeria. Among them:

July 2013: Assaults on student dormitories in a secondary school in Mamudo left 41 students and a teacher dead.

February 2014: Gunmen killed dozens of students ranging in age from 13 to 17 at the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, UNICEF says.

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 appears in court in April 2016.

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

Malala Yousafzai reacts after being announced as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 10, 2014.

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

Volunteers move the coffin of a student who was killed in the December 2014 attack on a school in Peshawar.

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

Two volunteers carry a stretcher as they approach a burning school during a rescue operation on September 3, 2004, in Beslan, Northern Ossetia.

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.