Was The Amtrak Train Crash Terrorism?

An Amtrak train heading to New York from Washington D.C. derailed and crashed in Philadelphia Tuesday, killing five people and leaving at least 50 people injured, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said in a news conference. Authorities said there were 238 passengers and five crew members on board, and searches were ongoing for people still trapped inside the train. Officials have not yet indicated what caused the crash, but there are already questions of whether foul play was to blame. Was the Amtrak train crash terrorism? The FBI is on the scene and has said there is nothing so far that indicates the derailment was caused by an act of terrorism. (Update: Eight passengers have now been confirmed dead.)

Railroads have been the target of terrorists in the past. The FBI on Friday announced a $310,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrests of people responsible for derailing an Amtrak train in Palo Verde, Arizona in October 1995. There were 258 passengers on board, and the crash caused the death of Amtrak employee Mitchell Bates. The $310,000 reward was being provided by the FBI, Amtrak, and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Notes signed "Sons of Gestapo" were found along the site, and authorities at the time discovered railroad spikes had been removed prior to the crash. There has been no information about who the Sons of Gestapo were in two decades.

While preliminary reports indicate there was no terrorist involvement in the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia, railways and other modes of mass transportation have long been targets for terrorists. In this case, we'll just have to wait until authorities figure out what exactly caused the crash.