Current international law contains no definition of terrorism.
The term comprises various acts and kinds of behaviour ranging from what everyone certainly regards as illegal to what some regard as illegal and others as legal. From the point of view of international humanitarian law, terrorism is only covered when committed within the framework or as part of an armed conflict. It does not apply to attacks against combatants and military objectives provided that the acts of violence it entails are perpetrated by combatants or members of armed groups and that the means used are lawful.
Conversely, attacks on the civilian population and civilian objects, by whatever means and for whatever reasons, are prohibited.
Between the extremes of legitimate acts of war against combatants and military objectives, and the prohibition of acts of terrorism against the civilian population and civilian objects, there is a wide range of controversial action.
See War on Terror;
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