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Sep 8, 2009 9:49 AM by Associated Press

Study: Terrorists shifting to softer targets

Bombing hotels abroad is becoming more attractive to terrorists -- because it's easier. As military and government targets get harder to hit, the global intelligence company STRATFOR says terrorists are content to strike hotels and other soft targets instead.

STRATFOR says the number of attacks on hotels has more than doubled since Sept. 11. 2001, when compared with eight years before. Injuries and deaths have increased sixfold when compared with the same period.

And when terrorists check in as guests, it gives them full access to the grounds. Such was the case in the July 17th suicide attacks at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Indonesia. STRATFOR also says al-Qaida is changing from a centralized organization with global goals to regional "franchises" with more parochial aims and strong grass-roots support.

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