In his August 22, 2018 message to supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and [greater] Syria (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi implored ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq as well as those on various jihadist fronts in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia not to be dismayed by military setbacks suffered by the Islamic State, but to continue fighting, confident that Allah would ultimately reward those who remained steadfast with victory. In the same message, he exhorted homegrown jihadists abroad— “the fierce lions in the lands of the Cross—Canada, Europe, and elsewhere” to carry out simple attacks within their limited capabilities that would nonetheless have great psychological impact because they would strike in the enemy’s homeland.

Previous reports by the Mineta Transportation Institute have addressed bombings (see "Suicide Bombings Against Trains and Buses Are Lethal but Few in Number" and "Explosives and Incendiaries Used in Terrorist Attacks on Public Surface Transportation: A Preliminary Empirical Analysis"). Car ramming attacks or what are sometimes called vehicular rammings have been the subject of more recent reporting. This report looks first at terrorist stabbing attacks against the public as a general phenomenon, and then examines stabbing attacks in public surface transportation venues.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Security and Counterterrorism

MTI Project

SP 03-19


Defense and Security Studies | Terrorism Studies | Transportation