3. Hijacking. Hijacking and skyjacking was very much an event of the 1960's and early 1970's.
Hijacking of vehicles carrying staple foods was a favored tactic of the Tupemaros. It fitted their
particular style of armed propaganda. The hijacking would be followed quickly by the free distribution of
the vehicle's cargo to the poor and needy together with propaganda advertising the terrorist's cause. In
any kind of continuing terrorist activity, such as in Spain or Northern Ireland, the hijacking of vehicles is
associated with, and often gives indications of, some future atrocity. For example, the hijacking of a
gasoline truck almost certainly indicates the future appearance of a 50,000 lb. benzine bomb (in the
form of the truck wired with explosive). Additionally, hijacked "legitimate" vehicles give the terrorist an
easy means to approach or gain entry to a closed military post.
4. Ambush. Well-planned ambushes seldom fail. This is especially true of terrorist ambushes which
are generally well-thought out. Diversions and lay-off teams are often included in the plan that they
rehearse and execute with precision. It is often forgotten that the terrorist has time on his side. He will
spend weeks if not months preparing for the operation. To his advantage is the fact that the terrorist
can choose his own time and place of operation. If his intended victim continually uses the same route,
the terrorist can conduct countless rehearsals before the actual event.
5. Kidnapping. Not all ambushes are designed to kill the principal, as was proven in the Schlever and
Moro ambushes and subsequent kidnappings. Both were acted out with extreme precision and with
definite goals in mind by two separate, dedicated terrorist groups.
6. Hostage Taking. The difference between hostage taking and kidnapping is extremely fine in the
world of terrorism; indeed the two terms are often interchanged. However, the kidnapper normally
should be regarded as someone who confines his victim in a secret hideaway and makes material
demands (money, weapons, etc.); whereas, the hostage taker will confront authorities and openly hold
his victim for ransom. The hostage taker's demands are often more than just material in nature.
Political concessions are often demanded in exchange for the lives of the hostages.
The importance of hostage taking as a fairly new and popular terrorist tactic is plain. First, because of
its currency, hostage taking will attract the media. As one observer commented about the Iranian
Embassy scene, "it is street theater." Second, the fact that live hostages are involved increases the
drama of the event. Terrorists can then apply pressure to force concessions which otherwise might not
be made. Finally, the hostage is a tangible asset to the terrorist. He finds he has something with which
7. Assassination. Assassination is perhaps the oldest terrorist tactic. It is widely used today. Groups
favoring the use of assassination include the Basque Separatists (ETA) in Spain, the Red Brigades in
Italy, the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland, Qdadafi's international terror groups, and more recently,
both the FPL and FARN in El Salvador. Targets are often predictable, and invariably claimed after the
event by the terrorists