In theory, terrorism is a political communication strategy for groups to convey their grievances and the costs of ignoring them. In practice, though, terrorist groups take responsibility for just a small fraction of their attacks. Rather than seeking credit for the violence, terrorist leaders generally deny that their members carried out the attack. This theoretical and empirical disconnect may explain why scholars have ignored the subject of unclaimed attacks despite these being much more prevalent. With a mixed-methods research design, this study helps to fill this gap by proposing and testing a new theory to help account for discrepancies in credit claiming.

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