Terrorism hits KoreansThe Yemeni government officially confirmed yesterday that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the suicide bomb attack that on Sunday took the lives of four South Korean tourists who were visiting a historic site in the Arab country. Officials concluded that the suicide bombing carried out by a man who approached the Korean tourists with explosives hidden under his clothes bore the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda. Yemeni security officials have acquired a video recording of the offender that was taped before the attack and questioned 12 other suspects associated with the bombing.
We are deeply worried and shocked to discover that Koreans are not free from the kinds of Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks that have been threatening global peace and security for years.
It is still unclear whether the attack was a random one or was meticulously planned to specifically target Korean nationals. Yemeni security officials must conduct a thorough investigation to make the clarification.
We recall Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden pronouncing that it was a Muslim’s duty to attack Americans and the nationals of countries allied to the United States, whether civilians or military, as he declared “holy war” against the West in 1998. Therefore, we cannot rule out the possibility that the attack targeted Koreans for being allied to the American-led campaign against terrorism. Regardless of the motive, however, no act of terrorism can be tolerated.
The government in Seoul was slow in taking measures to restrict Korean tourists from visiting Yemen, which is also bin Laden’s ancestral homeland. Before the incident, Koreans were advised against travel to the Arab country, but were still free to do so. This was no ordinary incident involving tourists who dismissed a government warning against visiting dangerous areas.
Now that we know of Al-Qaeda’s involvement, the government should take an entirely different and more aggressive approach. It must demand a thorough investigation from its Yemeni counterpart, and the two must work together to take appropriate action against those responsible for the attack.
Despite years of sustained American-led expeditions to eradicate terrorism, the militant Al-Qaeda network appears only to be gaining strength, based on evidence that bin Laden has been building bases in the mountainous areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were the force behind the devastating bomb attacks in London, Madrid, Bali and Mumbai.
It is Korea’s duty as a responsible member of the international community to expand our role in the global campaign against terrorism. The government should take the matter seriously and act accordingly.