A Qualitative Pattern Analysis of Suicide Terrorism: From Past to Future Trends




Royston, Lisbet B. Ejlersen

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Continuous effort has been made to profile the suicide bomber and the topic is as relevant as ever. News about suicide attacks in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and recently Somalia are covered in the news weekly, however, it rarely makes the front page anymore as they have become regular incidents across the world. Research on the topic suggests that there is no clear profile or single formula for a suicide bomber, and an individual engages in such practices because of mixed motivations. The typical suicide bomber is not mentally ill, desperate, poor, or uneducated, but usually healthy, well-educated, in his late teens/early twenties, but most importantly, anyone can become a suicide bomber provided the right condition. Future trends suggest that suicide terrorists use far more advanced methods compared to a decade ago and they are more difficult to spot. There has also been a change in target selection, and at present the main targets are civilians. The purpose of this study is to identify the suicide bomber and to provide a plentiful description of motivational factors in addition to detecting patterns from past behavior to future trends. This study concentrated primarily on Palestinian suicide bombers (Israel, the West Bank and Gaza).



Suicide terrorism, Motivational factors, Root causes


Royston, L. B. E. (2011). <i>A qualitative pattern analysis of suicide terrorism: From past to future trends</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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