Country Reports on Terrorism 2009
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
August 5, 2010
Chapter 6. Terrorist Organizations
Foreign Terrorist Organizations
Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). FTO designations play a critical role in the fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities.
The Department of State continually monitors the activities of terrorist groups around the world in order to identify potential targets for designation. When reviewing potential targets, the Department considers terrorist attacks that a group has carried out, whether the group has engaged in planning and preparations for possible future acts of terrorism, or whether it retains the capability and intent to carry out such acts.
Once a target is identified, a detailed “administrative record” is prepared. This record demonstrates that the criteria for designation have been legally satisfied. If the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, decides to designate an organization, Congress is notified of the Secretary’s intent and given seven days to review the designation, as required by the INA. Upon the expiration of the seven-day waiting period, and in the absence of Congressional action to block the designation, notice of the designation is published in the Federal Register, at which point the designation becomes law. An organization designated as an FTO may seek judicial review of the designation in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit no later than 30 days after the designation is published in the Federal Register.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 provides that a designated FTO may file a petition for revocation two years after its designation date or two years after the determination date of its most recent petition for revocation. In order to provide a basis for revocation, the petitioning FTO must provide evidence that the circumstances forming the basis for the designation have sufficiently changed as to warrant revocation. If no such petition has been filed within a five-year period, the Secretary of State is required to review the designation to determine whether revocation would be appropriate. In addition, the Secretary of State may at any time revoke a designation upon a finding that the circumstances forming the basis for the designation have changed, or that the national security of the United States warrants a revocation. Revocations made by the Secretary of State must undergo the same administrative review and Congressional processes as that of designations. A designation may also be revoked by an Act of Congress.
Legal Criteria for Designation under Section 219 of the INA as amended
1. It must be a foreign organization.
2. The organization must engage in terrorist activity, as defined in section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)), or terrorism, as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C. § 2656f(d)(2)), or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism.
3. The organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.
U.S. Government Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB)
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Aum Shinrikyo (AUM)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Communist Party of Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA)
Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG)
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)
Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
Jemaah Islamiya (JI)
Kata’ib Hizballah (KH)
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT)
Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)
Mujahadin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
National Liberation Army (ELN)
Palestine Liberation Front – Abu Abbas Faction (PLF)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad – Shaqaqi Faction (PIJ)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI)
Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
Real IRA (RIRA)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N)
Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)
Revolutionary Struggle (RS)
Shining Path (SL)
United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)
ABU NIDAL ORGANIZATION
aka ANO; Arab Revolutionary Brigades; Arab Revolutionary Council; Black September; Fatah Revolutionary Council; Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims
Description: The Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The ANO was founded by Sabri al-Banna (aka Abu Nidal) after splitting from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1974. The group’s previous known structure consisted of various functional committees, including political, military, and financial. In August 2002, Abu Nidal died in Baghdad, probably at the hands of Iraqi security officials. Present leadership of the organization remains unclear. ANO advocates the elimination of Israel and has sought to derail diplomatic relations efforts in support of the Middle East peace process.
Activities: The ANO has carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. The group has not staged a major attack against Western targets since the late 1980s. Major attacks included those on the Rome and Vienna airports in 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in Greece in 1988. The ANO is suspected of assassinating PLO Deputy Chief Abu Iyad and PLO Security Chief Abu Hul in Tunis in 1991. In 2008, a Jordanian official reported the apprehension of an ANO member who planned to carry out attacks in Jordan. The ANO did not successfully carry out attacks in 2009.
Strength: Current strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is largely considered dormant operationally, although former and possibly current ANO associates might be present in Iraq and Lebanon.
External Aid: The ANO’s current access to resources is unclear, but it is likely that the decline in support previously provided by Libya, Syria and Iran has had a severe impact on its capabilities.
ABU SAYYAF GROUP
a.k.a. al Harakat al Islamiyya
Description: The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, operating in the southern Philippines. Some ASG leaders allegedly fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and are students and proponents of radical Islamist teachings. The group split from the much larger Moro National Liberation Front in the early 1990s under the leadership of Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who was killed in a clash with Philippine police in December 1998. His younger brother, Khadaffy Janjalani, replaced him as the nominal leader of the group. In September 2006, Khadaffy Janjalani was killed in a gun battle with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Radullah Sahiron is assumed to be the ASG leader.
Activities: The ASG engaged in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, beheadings, assassinations, and extortion. The group’s stated goal is to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago – areas in the southern Philippines heavily populated by Muslims. In 2006, the Armed Forces of the Philippines began “Operation Ultimatum,” a sustained campaign that disrupted ASG forces in safe havens on Jolo Island in the Sulu archipelago, and resulted in the killing of ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani in September 2006 and his deputy, Abu Solaiman in January 2007. In July 2007, the ASG, and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) engaged a force of Philippine military forces on Basilan Island, killing 14, 10 of whom were beheaded.
The group’s first large-scale action was a raid on the town of Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995. In April 2000, an ASG faction kidnapped 21 people, including ten Western tourists, from a resort in Malaysia. In May 2001, the ASG kidnapped three U.S. citizens and 17 Filipinos from a tourist resort in Palawan, Philippines. Several of the hostages, including U.S. citizen Guillermo Sobero, were murdered. A Philippine military hostage rescue operation in June 2002 freed U.S. hostage Gracia Burnham, but her husband Martin Burnham, also a U.S. national, and Filipina Deborah Yap were killed.
U.S. and Philippine authorities blamed the ASG for a bomb near a Philippine military base in Zamboanga in October 2002 that killed a U.S. serviceman. In February 2004, Khadaffy Janjalani’s faction bombed SuperFerry 14 in Manila Bay, killing 132. In March 2004, Philippine authorities arrested an ASG cell whose bombing targets included the U.S. Embassy in Manila. The ASG also claimed responsibility for the February 14, 2005 bombings in Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City, which killed eight and injured more than 150. In November 2007, a motorcycle bomb exploded outside the Congress of the Philippines, killing a congressman and three staff members. While there was no definitive claim of responsibility, three suspected ASG members were arrested during a subsequent raid on a safe house and tried for their respective roles in the bombing. During 2009, the ASG staged multiple kidnappings, beheadings, and assassinations, including the January kidnappings of three Red Cross workers in the southern Philippines who were later released.
Strength: ASG is estimated to have approximately 200 to 500 members.
Location/Area of Operation: The ASG was founded in Basilan Province and operates primarily in the provinces of the Sulu Archipelago, namely Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. The group also operates on the Zamboanga peninsula, and members occasionally travel to Manila. The group expanded its operational reach to Malaysia in 2000 with the abduction of foreigners from a tourist resort there. In mid-2003, the group started operating in Mindanao’s city of Cotobato and on the provincial coast of Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao. The ASG was expelled from Mindanao proper by the MILF in mid-2005.
External Aid: The ASG is funded through acts of ransom and extortion, and may receive funding from external sources such as remittances from overseas Filipino workers and possibly Middle East-based extremists. In October 2007, the ASG appealed for funds and recruits on YouTube by featuring a video of the Janjalani brothers before they were killed.
AL-AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADE
aka al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion
Description: The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade comprises an unknown number of small cells of Fatah-affiliated activists that emerged at the outset of the second Palestinian uprising, or al-Aqsa Intifada, in September 2000. Al-Aqsa’s goal is to drive the Israeli military and West Bank settlers from the West Bank and establish a Palestinian state loyal to the secular nationalist Fatah.
Activities: Al-Aqsa employed primarily small-arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers as the intifada spread in 2000, but by 2002 they turned increasingly to suicide bombings against Israeli civilians inside Israel. In January 2002, the group claimed responsibility for the first female suicide bombing inside Israel. Many al-Aqsa cells suspended anti-Israeli attacks as part of the broader unilateral Palestinian cease-fire agreement during 2005, though others did not, highlighting the group’s absence of central leadership or control. After the June 2007 HAMAS takeover of the Gaza Strip, al-Aqsa Martyrs cells in Gaza stepped up rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. However, the group’s attacks have largely diminished since the end of Israeli Operation CAST LEAD in January 2009 due to HAMAS’ efforts to strictly enforce a ceasefire. West Bank Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade members participated in 2007 and 2008 in an Israeli-Palestinian Authority amnesty program in which the fugitives promised to cease anti-Israeli violence and surrender their weapons. The program remained fragile and threatened to lose credibility with participants due to slow bureaucratic processes and escalating Israeli incursions in the West Bank targeting al-Aqsa members – the most recent of these occurred in December 2009 in reaction to a fatal shooting of an Israeli settler in the West Bank. Al-Aqsa has not targeted U.S. interests as a policy, although its anti-Israeli attacks have killed dual U.S.-Israeli citizens.
Strength: Current strength is unknown, but most likely numbers a few hundred.
Location/Area of Operation: Most of al-Aqsa’s operational activity is in the Gaza Strip but the group also planed and conducted attacks inside Israel and the West Bank. The group also has members in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
External Aid: Iran has exploited al-Aqsa’s lack of resources and formal leadership by providing funds and guidance, mostly through Hizballah facilitators.
aka The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin; al-Shabab; Shabaab; the Youth; Mujahidin al-Shabaab Movement; Mujahideen Youth Movement; Mujahidin Youth Movement
Description: Al-Shabaab was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 18, 2008. Al-Shabaab is the militant wing of the former Somali Islamic Courts Council that took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. In December 2006 and January 2007, Somali government and Ethiopian forces routed the Islamic Court militias in a two-week war. Since the end of 2006, al-Shabaab and disparate clan militias led a violent insurgency, using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the Ethiopian presence in Somalia and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers. Rank and file militia fighters from multiple clans that are aligned with al-Shabaab are predominantly interested in indigenous issues and have not shown a strong affinity for global jihad. However, al-Shabaab’s core leadership is ideologically aligned with al-Qa’ida (AQ) and has made statements praising Usama bin Ladin and linking the Somali jihad movement to AQ’s wider agenda and strategy. In September 2009, al-Shabaab’s emir released a video titled “We Are at Your Command, Usama,” in which he pledged the group’s allegiance to Usama bin Ladin and AQ. Senior al-Shabaab leaders have also benefited from the training program that was created in southern Somalia by now deceased East African AQ operative Saleh Nabhan.
Activities: Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government, forcibly recruit new fighters, and regularly kill activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue and reconciliation. The group has claimed responsibility for several high profile bombings and shootings throughout Somalia targeting Ethiopian and African Union troops and Somali government officials and allies. It has been responsible for the assassination of numerous civil society figures, government officials, and journalists. Al-Shabaab fighters or those who have claimed allegiance to the group have also conducted violent attacks and targeted assassinations against international aid workers and nongovernmental aid organizations. During 2009, al-Shabaab carried out multiple attacks, including a February double suicide car bomb attack against an African Union Mission in Somalia military base in Mogadishu that killed 11 soldiers; a May suicide bombing that killed six policemen and a civilian at a police headquarters in Mogadishu; and a September attack where two al-Shabaab suicide bombers in stolen UN vehicles killed 21 people at an African Union base in Mogadishu. In December, an al-Shabaab attack against a medical school graduation ceremony killed 23, including three members of the Transitional Federal Government.
Foreign AQ operatives operated in Somalia under al-Shabaab’s protection. These included Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (aka Harun Fazul) and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and a 2002 hotel bombing in Kenya. On September 14, Saleh Nabhan was killed while he was traveling in a convoy of armed vehicles.
Location/Area of Operation: The majority of Ethiopian troops left Somalia in late January 2008 and the subsequent security vacuum in parts of central and southern Somalia has led divergent factions to oppose al-Shabaab and its extremist ideology. However, hardcore al-Shabaab fighters and allied militias conducted brazen attacks in Mogadishu and outlying environs, primarily in lower-Somalia. In May, al-Shabaab launched a major offensive in Mogadishu, gaining control over parts of the capital. Al-Shabaab also gained control over the southern port city of Kismayo in late 2009. Al-Shabaab’s victories can also be tied to their ability to play upon clan fissures and the military weakness of the Somali Government.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown. Some of al-Shabaab’s senior leaders are affiliated with AQ operatives, and it is believed that some al-Shabaab members have previously trained and fought with AQ in Afghanistan.
External Aid: Because al-Shabaab is a multi-clan entity, it received significant donations from the global Somali diaspora; however, the donations were not all specifically intended to support terrorism. Rather, the money is also meant to support family members. Al-Shabaab leaders and many rank and file fighters have successfully garnered significant amounts of money from port revenues and through criminal enterprises.
aka Ansar al-Sunna; Ansar al-Sunna Army; Devotees of Islam; Followers of Islam in Kurdistan; Helpers of Islam; Jaish Ansar al-Sunna; Jund al-Islam; Kurdish Taliban; Kurdistan Supporters of Islam; Partisans of Islam; Soldiers of God; Soldiers of Islam; Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan
Description: Ansar al-Islam (AI) is a Salafist terrorist group whose goals include expelling the U.S.-led Coalition from Iraq and establishing an independent Iraqi state based on Sharia law. It was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 22, 2004. AI was established in 2001 in Iraqi Kurdistan with the merger of two Kurdish extremist factions that traced their roots to the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. In a probable effort to appeal to the broader Sunni jihad and expand its support base, AI changed its name to Ansar al-Sunna in 2003, in a bid to unite Iraq-based extremists under the new name. In December 2007, it changed its name back to Ansar al-Islam. AI has ties to al-Qa’ida central leadership and to al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI). Since Operation Iraqi Freedom, AI has become one of the most prominent groups engaged in anti-Coalition attacks in Iraq behind AQI, and has maintained a strong propaganda campaign.
Activities: AI continued to conduct attacks against a wide range of targets including Coalition Forces, the Iraqi government and security forces, and Kurdish and Shia figures, including high profile attacks on U.S. and Coalition forces, as well as Iraqi private citizens in 2008 and 2009. AI has also conducted numerous kidnappings, executions, and assassinations of Iraqi citizens and politicians. One of the more notable attacks was a March 2008 bombing at the Palace Hotel in As Sulamaniyah that killed two people.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown. AI is one of the largest Sunni terrorist groups in Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily northern Iraq but maintained a presence in western and central Iraq.
External Aid: AI received assistance from a loose network of associates in Europe and the Middle East. AI has also been linked to AQ and Iran.
ARMED ISLAMIC GROUP
aka GIA; al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah al-Musallah; Groupement Islamique Arme
Description: The Armed Islamic Group was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The GIA aims to overthrow the Algerian regime and replace it with a state governed by Sharia law. The GIA began its violent activity in 1992 after the military government suspended legislative elections in anticipation of an overwhelming victory by the Islamic Salvation Front, the largest Algerian Islamic opposition party.
Activities: The GIA has engaged in attacks against civilians and government workers. The group began conducting a terrorist campaign of civilian massacres in 1992, sometimes wiping out entire villages and killing tens of thousands of Algerians. Since announcing its campaign against foreigners living in Algeria in 1992, the GIA has killed more than 100 expatriate men and women, mostly Europeans. Almost all of the GIA’s members have now joined other Islamist groups or have been killed or captured by the Algerian government. The Algerian government’s September 2005 reconciliation program led to an increase in the number of GIA terrorist suspects who surrendered to security forces, and the GIA has not conducted attacks since that time. Some senior members of AQIM are former GIA insurgents.
Strength: Almost all former GIA members have accepted amnesty or joined other terrorist groups; precise numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: Algeria
External Aid: Unknown.
aka Asbat al-Ansar; Band of Helpers; Band of Partisans; League of Partisans; League of the Followers; God’s Partisan’s; Gathering of Supporters; Partisan’s League; AAA; Esbat al-Ansar; Isbat al-Ansar; Osbat al-Ansar; Usbat al-Ansar; Usbat ul-Ansar
Description: Asbat al-Ansar was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002. Asbat al-Ansar is a Lebanon-based Sunni extremist group composed primarily of Palestinians with links to al-Qa’ida (AQ) and other Sunni extremist groups. Some of the group’s goals include thwarting perceived anti-Islamic and pro-Western influences in the country.
Activities: Asbat al-Ansar first emerged in the early 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the group assassinated Lebanese religious leaders and bombed nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores. It was involved in clashes in northern Lebanon in December 1999, and carried out a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the Russian Embassy in Beirut in January 2000. Asbat al-Ansar’s leader, Ahmad Abd al-Karim al-Sa’di, a.k.a. Abu Muhjin, remains at large despite being sentenced to death in absentia for the 1994 murder of a Muslim cleric. In September 2004, operatives with links to the group were allegedly involved in planning terrorist operations in Lebanon targeting the Italian Embassy, the Ukrainian Consulate General, and Lebanese government offices. In October 2004, Mahir al-Sa’di, a member of Asbat al-Ansar, was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for his 2000 plot to assassinate then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, David Satterfield.
Members of Asbat al-Ansar were believed responsible for a Katyusha rocket attack on the Galilee region of Israel in December 2005. Asbat al-Ansar operatives have been involved in fighting Coalition Forces in Iraq since at least 2005 and several members of the group have been killed in anti-Coalition operations. Al-Sa’di was working in cooperation with Abu Muhammad al-Masri, the head of AQ at the Ain al-Hilwah refugee camp, where fighting has occurred between Asbat al-Ansar and Fatah elements. In 2007, Asbat al-Ansar remained focused on supporting extremists in Iraq and planning attacks against UNIFIL, Lebanese security forces, and U.S. and Western interests. Asbat al-Ansar-associated elements were implicated in the June 17, 2007 Katyusha rocket attack against northern Israel.
Asbat al-Ansar maintained ties with the AQ network. Asbat al-Ansar has recently been reluctant to involve itself in operations in Lebanon due in part to concerns over losing its safe haven in Ain al-Hilwah. Various extremist web forums criticized Asbat al-Ansar for its failure to support fellow Sunni extremist group Fatah al-Islam (FAI) during the Lebanese Armed Forces campaign in summer 2007. That campaign forced FAI out of Nahr al-Barid refugee camp in northern Lebanon, and severely damaged the group.
Strength: The group commands between 100 and 300 fighters in Lebanon. Its nominal leader is Ahmad Abd al-Karim al-Sa’di.
Location/Area of Operation: The group’s primary base of operations is the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon.
External Aid: It is likely that the group receives money through international Sunni extremist networks.
aka A.I.C. Comprehensive Research Institute; A.I.C. Sogo Kenkyusho; Aleph; Aum Supreme Truth
Description: Aum Shinrikyo (Aum) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Shoko Asahara established Aum in 1987, and the cult received legal status as a religious entity in 1989. Initially, Aum aimed to take over Japan and then the world, but over time it began to emphasize the coming of the end of the world. Asahara predicted in the late 1990s that the United States would initiate Armageddon by starting World War III with Japan. The Japanese government revoked its recognition of Aum as a religious organization following Aum’s deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo in March 1995. In 1997, however, a government panel decided not to invoke the Operations Control Law to outlaw the group. A 1999 law authorized the Japanese government to maintain police surveillance over the group because of concerns that Aum might launch future terrorist attacks. In January 2000, under the leadership of Fumihiro Joyu, the chief of Aum’s once thriving Moscow operation, Aum changed its name to Aleph and tried to distance itself from the violent and apocalyptic teachings of its founder. In late 2003, however, Joyu stepped down under pressure from members who wanted to return fully to the worship of Asahara. A growing divide between members supporting Joyu and Asahara emerged. In 2007, Joyu officially left the group and in May established a splinter group called Hikari No Wa, which is translated as ‘Circle of Light’ or ‘Ring of Light.’ Japanese authorities continued to monitor both Aum (now called Aleph) and Hikari No Wa.
Activities: In March 1995, Aum members simultaneously released the chemical nerve agent sarin on several Tokyo subway trains, killing 12 people and causing up to 6,000 to seek medical treatment. Subsequent investigations by the Japanese government revealed the group was responsible for other mysterious chemical incidents in Japan in 1994, including a sarin gas attack on a residential neighborhood in Matsumoto that killed seven and hospitalized approximately 500. Japanese police arrested Asahara in May 1995, and in February 2004 authorities sentenced him to death for his role in the 1995 attacks. In September 2006, Asahara lost his final appeal against the death penalty and the Japanese Supreme Court upheld the decision in October 2007. The Supreme Court on December 10 upheld a high court decision that sentenced former AUM Shinrikyo cult member Yoshihiro Inoue to death for playing a key role in the deadly 1995 attack. This would bring the number of AUM members on death row to nine for their crimes related to the sarin gas attack.
Since 1997, the cult has recruited new members, engaged in commercial enterprises, and acquired property, although it scaled back these activities significantly in 2001 in response to a public outcry. In July 2001, Russian authorities arrested a group of Russian Aum followers who had planned to set off bombs near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as part of an operation to free Asahara from jail and smuggle him to Russia.
Although Aum has not conducted a terrorist attack since 1995, concerns remain regarding their continued adherence to the violent teachings of founder Asahara that led them to perpetrate the 1995 sarin gas attack.
Strength: According to a study by the Japanese government issued in December 2008, current Aum Shinrikyo/Aleph membership in Japan is approximately 1,500, with another 200 in Russia. According to this study, Aum maintained 30 facilities in 15 Prefectures in Japan and continued to possess a few facilities in Russia. At the time of the Tokyo subway attack, the group claimed to have as many as 40,000 members worldwide, including 9,000 in Japan and 30,000 members in Russia. The group gets money from member contributions.
Location/Area of Operation: Aum’s principal membership is located in Japan, while a residual branch of about 200 followers live in Russia.
External Aid: None.
BASQUE FATHERLAND AND LIBERTY
aka ETA, Askatasuna; Batasuna; Ekin; Euskal Herritarrok; Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna; Herri Batasuna; Jarrai-Haika-Segi; Epanastatiki Pirines; Popular Revolutionary Struggle; K.A.S.; XAKI
Description: Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. ETA was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles encompassing the Spanish Basque provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, and Alava; the autonomous region of Navarra; and the southwestern French territories of Labourd, Basse-Navarre, and Soule. Spain and the EU have listed ETA as a terrorist organization. In 2002, the Spanish Parliament banned the political party Batasuna, ETA’s political wing, charging its members with providing material support to the terrorist group. The European Court of Human Rights in June 2009 upheld the ban on Batasuna. In September 2008, Spanish courts also banned two other Basque independence parties with reported links to Batasuna. Spanish and French prisons together are estimated to hold a total of more than 750 ETA members.
Activities: ETA primarily has conducted bombings and assassinations. Targets typically have included Spanish government officials, security and military forces, politicians, and judicial figures, but the group also targeted journalists and tourist areas. The group is responsible for killing more than 800 and injuring thousands since it formally began a campaign of violence in 1968.
In March 2006, days after claiming responsibility for a spate of roadside blasts in northern Spain that caused no injuries, ETA announced that it would implement a “permanent” ceasefire. On December 30, 2006, however, ETA exploded a massive car bomb that destroyed much of the covered parking garage outside the Terminal Four of Madrid’s Barajas International Airport. The two individuals killed in the blast became ETA’s first fatalities in more than three years. The Spanish government suspended talks with ETA, and government officials later said political negotiations with the group had ended. ETA formally renounced its “permanent” cease-fire in June 2007 and three months later threatened a wave of attacks throughout Spain.
In March 2008, just days before the national election in Spain, ETA fatally shot a former city councilman within the Basque Autonomous Community outside his home in northern Spain. In May 2008, a car bomb exploded outside a Civil Guard barracks in Legutiano, killing one policeman and wounding four others. In July 2008, ETA was responsible for five bomb explosions in northern Spain, including four at popular seaside resorts. In September 2008, an ETA car bomb killed an army officer and injured several other people in the northern town of Santona. In October 2008, ETA members conducted a car bomb attack at a university in Pamplona that injured more than one dozen people. The group also claimed responsibility for the December 2008 killing of a leading Basque businessman, for failing to pay extortion money to ETA and for his construction company’s involvement in the building of high-speed train links in the Basque Country, which ETA opposed.
In 2009, ETA continued to carry out attacks resulting in extensive damage and casualties. A police chief and two police officers were killed in car bomb explosions claimed by ETA in June and July. Also in July, ETA conducted a car bomb attack outside a Civil Guard barracks that resulted in the injury of 64 people, including 32 officers, 12 children, and 20 other civilians.
Between 2007 and 2009, more than 365 ETA members were arrested. In 2008, Spanish and French authorities apprehended ETA’s top three leaders, beginning in May with the arrest of Francisco Javier Lopez Pena (a.k.a. Thierry). In November 2008, French police arrested Garikoitz Aspiazu (a.k.a. Txeroki), who was suspected of ordering the December 2006 car bombing at the Madrid airport. One month later, French police captured his alleged replacement, Aitzol Iriondo Yarza (a.k.a. Gurbitz). In April 2009, ETA’s military leader, Jurdan Martitegi, was also arrested in France. In August 2009, French security seized 13 ETA arms caches containing more than 800 kilos of explosives, 15 complete limpet bombs, several weapons, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. In October, Spanish and French authorities arrested the leader of ETA’s political wing, which since the arrest of Thierry has held less clout than the military wing.
Strength: ETA’s exact strength is unknown, but estimates put membership at approximately 300.
Location/Area of Operation: ETA operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, but has attacked Spanish and French interests elsewhere. Most recently, ETA has sought to establish operational cells in Portugal.
External Aid: ETA financed its activities primarily through bribery and extortion of Basque businesses. It has received training at various times in the past in Libya, Lebanon, and Nicaragua. Some ETA members allegedly fled to Cuba and Mexico, while others resided in South America. ETA members have operated and been arrested in the past in other European countries, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, and Portugal.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF PHILIPPINES/NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY
aka CPP/NPA; Communist Party of the Philippines; the CPP; New People’s Army; the NPA
Description: The Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on August 9, 2002. The military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), is a Maoist group formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. Jose Maria Sison, the chairman of the CPP’s Central Committee and the NPA’s founder, reportedly directs CPP and NPA activity from the Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Luis Jalandoni, a fellow Central Committee member and director of the CPP’s overt political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), also lives in the Netherlands and has become a Dutch citizen. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, the NPA had an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and, at times, used city-based assassination squads.
Activities: The CPP/NPA primarily targeted Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refuse to pay extortion, or “revolutionary taxes.” The CPP/NPA charged politicians running for office in CPP/NPA-influenced areas for “campaign permits.” Despite its focus on Philippine governmental targets, the CPP/NPA has a history of attacking U.S. interests in the Philippines. In 1987, CPP/NPA conducted direct action against U.S. personnel and facilities when three American soldiers were killed in four separate attacks in Angeles City. In 1989, CPP/NPA issued a press statement taking credit for the ambush and murder of Colonel Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.
For many years the CPP/NPA carried out killings, raids, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence. In 2009, CPP/NPA’s attacks continued unabated. On January 11, 2009, CPP/NPA claimed responsibility for an attack that wounded the governor of Masbate. According to the Philippines government, in 2009 the NPA killed 132 soldiers and 55 civilians and committee 360 violent incidents, such as acts of harassment, bombing, and arson. In multiple 2009 public statements, CPP/NPA declared its intention to target western entities, particularly U.S. military forces conducting joint operations with the Philippine military.
Strength: The Philippines government estimated that there were around 5,000 CPP/NPA members at the end of 2009.
Location/Area of Operations: The CPP/NPA operated in rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There were cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.
External Aid: Unknown.
CONTINUITY IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY
aka Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein
Description: The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on July 13, 2004. CIRA is a terrorist splinter group formed in 1994 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein, which split from Sinn Fein in 1986. “Continuity” refers to the group’s belief that it is carrying on the original Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) goal of forcing the British out of Northern Ireland. CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA).
Activities: CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion, and robberies. On occasion, it provided advance warning to police of its attacks. Targets have included the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups. CIRA did not join the Provisional IRA in the September 2005 decommissioning and remained capable of effective, if sporadic, terrorist attacks. In early 2006, the Independent Monitoring Commission reported that two splinter organizations, Óglaigh na hÉireann and Saoirse na hÉireann, were formed as a result of internal disputes within CIRA. Around the same time, CIRA claimed the firebomb attacks of B&Q home-supply stores, although RIRA also claimed such attacks. CIRA activity largely decreased from previous levels seen in 2005.
By 2007, the group had become increasingly active in criminal activity in Northern Ireland and Ireland. In April 2007, following the discovery of an improvised mortar adjacent to the railway line in Lurgan, three cira members were arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder, possession of explosives with intent to endanger life, and possession of articles for use in terrorism. The Independent Monitoring Commission , which was established to oversee the peace process, assessed that CIRA was responsible for the June bombing of a police patrol car and an August 2008 attempted rocket attack in Lisnaskea. In November 2008, CIRA publicly threatened to murder any Belfast Catholic community workers found to be cooperating with the police. In March 2009, the CIRA claimed responsibility for the murder of a Police Service of Northern Ireland constable in Craigavon County, Northern Ireland.
Strength: Membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50 hard-core activists. Police counterterrorist operations have reduced the group’s strength.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. CIRA does not have an established presence in Great Britain.
External Aid: Suspected of receiving funds and arms from sympathizers in the United States. CIRA may have acquired arms and materiel from the Balkans, in cooperation with the RIRA.
aka al-Gama’at; Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya; GI; Islamic Gama’at; IG; Islamic Group,
Description: Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. IG, once Egypt’s largest militant groups, was active in the late 1970s, but is now a loosely organized network. The majority of its Egypt-based members have renounced terrorism, although some located overseas have begun to work with or have joined al-Qa’ida (AQ). The external wing, composed of mainly exiled members in several countries, maintained that its primary goal was to replace the Egyptian government with an Islamic state.
IG announced a cease-fire in 1997 that led to a split into two factions: one, led by Mustafa Hamza, supported the cease-fire; the other, led by Rifa’i Taha Musa, called for a return to armed operations. IG announced another ceasefire in March 1999 that the majority of its leaders have held to through the end of 2009, but its spiritual leader, Sheik Umar Abd al-Rahman, sentenced to life in prison in January 1996 for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and incarcerated in the United States, rescinded his support for the cease-fire in June 2000. IG has not conducted an attack inside Egypt since the 1997 Luxor attack, which killed 58 tourists and four Egyptians, and wounded dozens more. In February 1998, a senior member signed Usama bin Ladin’s fatwa call for attacks against the United States but may not have been acting as part of the IG.
In early 2001, Taha Musa published a book in which he attempted to justify terrorist attacks that cause mass casualties. Musa disappeared several months afterward and the United States has no information about his whereabouts. In March 2002, members of the group’s historic leadership in Egypt declared the use of violence misguided and renounced its future use, prompting denunciations from much of the leadership abroad. The Egyptian government continued to release IG members from prison as part of its rehabilitation program; approximately 900 were released in 2003 and most of the 700 persons released in 2004 at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan were IG members. In August 2006, Ayman al-Zawahiri announced that IG had merged with AQ, but the group’s Egypt-based leadership quickly denied this claim which ran counter to their reconciliation efforts. Supporters of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman still remain a possible threat to U.S. interests as both ‘Abd al-Rahman and his supporters have previously called for reprisal attacks in case of his death in prison.
Activities: Before the 1997 cease-fire, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security and other government officials and Coptic Christians. After the cease-fire, the faction led by Taha Musa launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack. IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. IG was dormant in 2009.
Strength: At its peak, IG probably commanded several thousand hardcore members and a similar number of supporters. Security crackdowns following the 1997 attack in Luxor, the 1999 cease-fire, and post-September 11 security measures and defections to AQ have probably resulted in a substantial decrease in what is left of an organized group.
Location/Area of Operation: The IG maintained an external presence in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and France. IG terrorist presence in Egypt was minimal due to the reconciliation efforts of former local members.
External Aid: AQ and Afghan militant groups provide support to members of the organization to carry out support on behalf of AQ but not in conjunction with the IG. IG also may have obtained some funding through various Islamic non-governmental organizations.
aka the Islamic Resistance Movement; Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya; Izz al-Din al Qassam Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades; Izz al-Din al Qassam Forces; Students of Ayyash; Student of the Engineer; Yahya Ayyash Units; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Brigades; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Forces; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Battalions
Description: HAMAS was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. HAMAS possesses military and political wings, and was formed in late 1987 at the onset of the first Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The armed element, called the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, conducts anti-Israeli attacks, previously including suicide bombings against civilian targets inside Israel. HAMAS also manages a broad, mostly Gaza-based network of “Dawa” or ministry activities that include charities, schools, clinics, youth camps, fund-raising, and political activities. A Shura council based in Damascus, Syria, sets overall policy. After winning Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006, HAMAS seized control of significant Palestinian Authority (PA) ministries in Gaza, including the Ministry of Interior. HAMAS subsequently formed an expanded, overt militia called the Executive Force, subordinate to the Interior Ministry. This force and other HAMAS cadres took control of Gaza in a military-style coup in June 2007, forcing Fatah forces to either leave Gaza or go underground.
Activities: Prior to 2005, HAMAS conducted numerous anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings, rocket launches, improvised-explosive device attacks, and shootings. HAMAS has not directly targeted U.S. interests, though the group makes little or no effort to avoid soft targets frequented by foreigners. The group curtailed terrorist attacks in February 2005 after agreeing to a temporary period of calm brokered by the PA and ceased most violence after winning control of the PA legislature and cabinet in January 2006. After HAMAS staged a June 2006 attack on IDF soldiers near Kerem Shalom that resulted in two deaths and the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Israel took steps that severely limited the operation of the Rafah crossing. In June 2007, HAMAS took control of Gaza from the PA and Fatah, leading to an international boycott and closure of Gaza borders. HAMAS has since dedicated the majority of its activity in Gaza to solidifying its control, hardening its defenses, tightening security, and conducting limited operations against Israeli military forces.
HAMAS fired rockets from Gaza into Israel in 2008 but focused more on mortar attacks targeting Israeli incursions. Additionally, other terrorist groups in Gaza fired rockets into Israel, most, presumably, with HAMAS support or acquiescence. In June 2008, HAMAS agreed to a six-month cease-fire with Israel and temporarily halted all rocket attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip by arresting Palestinian militants and violators of the agreement. HAMAS claimed responsibility for killing nine civilians, wounding 12 children and 80 other civilians in an attack at the residence of Fatah’s Gaza City Secretary in the Gaza Strip in August 2008. HAMAS also claimed responsibility for driving a vehicle into a crowd in Jerusalem, Israel, wounding 19 soldiers and civilians in September 2008. HAMAS fought a 23-day war with Israel from late December 2008 to January 2009, in an unsuccessful effort to break an international blockade on the Gaza Strip and force the openings of the international crossings. Since Israel’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire on January 18, 2009, HAMAS has largely enforced the calm, focusing on rebuilding its weapons caches, smuggling tunnels, and other military infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
Strength: HAMAS probably has several thousand operatives with varying degrees of skills in its armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, along with its reported 9,000-person HAMAS-led Palestinian Interior Ministry paramilitary group known as the “Executive Force.”
Location/Area of Operation: HAMAS has an operational presence in every major city in the Palestinian territories and currently focuses its anti-Israeli attacks on targets in the West Bank and within Israel. HAMAS could potentially activate operations in Lebanon or resume terrorist operations in Israel. The group retains a cadre of leaders and facilitators that conducts diplomatic, fundraising, and arms-smuggling activities in Lebanon, Syria, and other states. HAMAS is also increasing its presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, probably with the mid-term goal of eclipsing Fatah’s long-time dominance of the camps and long-term goal of seizing control of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
External Aid: HAMAS receives some funding, weapons, and training from Iran. In addition, fundraising takes place in the Persian Gulf countries, but the group also receives donations from Palestinian expatriates around the world. Some fundraising and propaganda activity takes place in Western Europe and North America. Syria provides safe haven for its leadership.
aka Harakat ul Jihad e Islami Bangladesh; Harkatul Jihad al Islam; Harkatul Jihad; Harakat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami; Harakat ul Jihad Islami Bangladesh; Islami Dawat-e-Kafela; IDEK
Description: Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 5, 2008. HUJI-B was formed in April 1992 by a group of former Bangladeshi Afghan veterans to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh. The group was banned by Bangladeshi authorities in October 2005. In May 2008, HUJI-B members formed a political off-shoot of HUJI-B called the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) in an effort to advance HUJI-B goals through Bangladeshi politics. In November, government authorities rejected the IDP’s application for registering as a party that could participate in national elections. HUJI-B has connections to the Pakistani militant groups Harakat ul-Jihad-Islami (HUJI) and Harakat ul-Mujahedin (HUM), as well as Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT), which advocate similar objectives in Pakistan, Jammu, and Kashmir. The leaders of HUJI-B signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Usama bin Ladin that declared American civilians legitimate targets for attack.
Activities: HUJI-B may be responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in India, including an October 2008 attack in a shopping area in Agartala, Tripura that killed three and wounded more than 100 people. The Agartala attack may have been conducted jointly with a local Indian separatist group. HUJI-B has trained and fielded operatives in Burma to fight on behalf of the Rohingya, an Islamic minority group. HUJI-B and its detained leader, Mufti Hannan, are also suspected in a 2000 assassination attempt on Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Three HUJI-B members were convicted in December 2008 for the May 2004 grenade attack that wounded the British High Commissioner in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Bangladeshi courts issued warrants in December 2008 for the arrest of eight HUJI-B members for the bombing at a festival in April 2001 that killed 10 and injured scores of people. In May 2008, Indian police arrested HUJI-B militant Mohammad Iqbal, a.k.a. Abdur Rehman, who was charged with plotting attacks in Delhi, India.
Strength: HUJI-B leaders claim that up to 400 of its members are Afghan war veterans, but its total membership is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates primarily in Bangladesh, India, and Burma. HUJI-B has a network of madrassas and conducts trainings in Bangladesh. HUJI-B members are also known train in Pakistan alongside Kashmir-focused groups such as LT, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), HUJI, and HUM.
External Aid: HUJI-B funding comes from a variety of sources. Several international Islamic NGOs such as the South African-based Servants of Suffering Humanity may have funneled money to HUJI-B and other Bangladeshi militant groups. HUJI-B also can draw funding from local militant madrassa leaders and teachers.
aka HUM; Harakat ul-Ansar; HUA; Jamiat ul-Ansar; Al-Faran; Al-Hadid; Al-Hadith; Harakat ul-Mujahidin;
Description: Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. HUM, an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan, is aligned politically with the political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F), and operates primarily in Kashmir. Reportedly under pressure from the Government of Pakistan, HUM’s long-time leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down and was replaced by Dr. Badr Munir as the head of HUM in January 2005. Khalil has been linked to Usama bin Ladin, and his signature was found on Bin Ladin’s February 1998 fatwa calling for attacks on U.S. and Western interests. HUM operated terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan until Coalition air strikes destroyed them in autumn 2001. Khalil was detained by Pakistani authorities in mid-2004 and subsequently released in late December of the same year. In 2003, HUM began using the name Jamiat ul-Ansar (JUA). Pakistan banned JUA in November 2003.
Activities: HUM has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. It is linked to the Kashmiri militant group al-Faran, which kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; the five reportedly were killed later that year. HUM was responsible for the hijacking of an Indian airliner in December 1999 that resulted in the release of Masood Azhar, an important leader in the former Harakat ul-Ansar, who was imprisoned by India in 1994 and then founded Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) after his release. Ahmed Omar Sheik also was released in 1999 and was later convicted of the abduction and murder in 2002 of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.
HUM is still actively planning and carrying out operations against Indian security and civilian targets in Kashmir. In 2005, such attacks resulted in the deaths of 15 people. In November 2007, two Indian soldiers were killed in Kashmir while engaged in a firefight with a group of HUM militants. Indian police and army forces have engaged with HUM militants in the Kashmir region, killing a number of the organization’s leadership in April, October, and December 2008. In February 2009, Lalchand Kishen Advani, leader of the Indian opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, received a death threat that was attributed to HUM.
Strength: HUM has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan; India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions; and in the Kashmir valley. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. HUM uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets. After 2000, a significant portion of HUM’s membership defected to JEM.
Location/Area of Operation: Based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other cities in Pakistan, HUM conducts insurgent and terrorist operations primarily in Kashmir, but members have also been found operating in Afghanistan. HUM trains its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
External Aid: HUM collects donations from wealthy and grassroots donors in Pakistan, Kashmir, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states. HUM’s financial collection methods include soliciting donations in magazine ads and pamphlets. The sources and amount of HUM’s military funding are unknown. Its overt fundraising in Pakistan has been constrained since the government clampdown on extremist groups and the freezing of terrorist assets.
aka the Party of God; Islamic Jihad; Islamic Jihad Organization; Revolutionary Justice Organization; Organization of the Oppressed on Earth; Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine; Organization of Right Against Wrong; Ansar Allah; Followers of the Prophet Muhammed
Description: Hizballah was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Formed in 1982, in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Lebanese-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The group generally follows the religious guidance of Khomeini’s successor, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Hizballah is closely allied with Iran and often acts at its behest, though it also acts independently. Although Hizballah does not share the Syrian regime’s secular orientation, the group has helped Syria advance its political objectives in the region. Hizballah remains the most technically-capable terrorist group in the world. It has strong influence in Lebanon’s Shia community. The Lebanese government and the majority of the Arab world still recognize Hizballah as a legitimate “resistance group” and political party.
Hizballah provides support to several Palestinian terrorist organizations, as well as a number of local Christian and Muslim militias in Lebanon. This support includes the covert provision of weapons, explosives, training, funding, and guidance, as well as overt political support.
Activities: Hizballah’s terrorist attacks have included the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983; the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in 1984; and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping, detention, and murder of Americans and other Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s. Hizballah also was implicated in the attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and on the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires in 1994. In 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Sheba’a Farms area and kidnapped an Israeli non-combatant.
Since at least 2004, Hizballah has provided training to select Iraqi Shia militants, including the construction and use of shaped charge improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that can penetrate heavily-armored vehicles. A senior Hizballah operative, Ali Mussa Daqduq, was captured in Iraq in 2007 while facilitating Hizballah training of Iraqi Shia militants. In July 2006, Hizballah attacked an Israeli Army patrol, kidnapping two soldiers and killing three, starting a conflict with Israel that lasted into August. Since the February 2008 killing in Damascus of Imad Mughniyah, the Hizballah terrorist and military chief suspected of involvement in many attacks, senior Hizballah officials have repeatedly made public statements blaming Israel for the killing and vowing retaliation. In a two-week period in May 2008, Hizballah’s armed takeover of West Beirut resulted in more than 60 deaths. In November 2009, the Israeli navy seized a ship carrying an estimated 400-500 tons of weapons originating in Iran and bound for Hizballah, via Syria.
Strength: Thousands of supporters, several thousand members, and a few hundred terrorist operatives.
Location/Area of Operation: Operates in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon. Receives support from Lebanese Shia communities in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia. Support from these communities is primarily financial, although Hizballah can expect to receive logistic support if needed.
External Aid: Receives training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran. Hizballah receives diplomatic, political, logistical, and material support from Syria. Hizballah also receives funding from private donations and profits from legal and illegal businesses.
ISLAMIC JIHAD UNION
aka Islomiy Jihod Ittihodi; formerly known as Islamic Jihad Group; al-Djihad al-Islami; Dzhamaat Modzhakhedov; Islamic Jihad Group of Uzbekistan; Jamiat al-Jihad al-Islami; Jamiyat; The Jamaat Mojahedin; The Kazakh Jama’at; The Libyan Society
Description: The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on June 17, 2005. The IJU is a Sunni extremist organization that splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. They oppose secular rule in Uzbekistan and seek to replace it with a government based on Islamic law.
Activities: The IJU primarily operated against Coalition forces in Afghanistan but continued to plan and carry out attacks in Central Asia. The group first conducted attacks in March and April 2004, targeting police at several roadway checkpoints and a popular bazaar. These attacks killed approximately 47 people, including 33 IJU members, some of whom were suicide bombers. The IJU’s claim of responsibility, which was posted to multiple militant Islamic websites, denounced the leadership of Uzbekistan. These attacks marked the first use of suicide bombers in Central Asia. In July 2004, the group carried out near-simultaneous suicide bombings in Tashkent of the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s office and the U.S. and Israeli Embassies. The IJU again claimed responsibility via a radical Islamic website and stated that martyrdom operations by the group would continue. The statement also indicated that the attacks were done in support of IJU’s Palestinian, Iraqi, and Afghan “brothers” in the global insurgency. The date of the July attack corresponded with the trial of individuals arrested for their alleged participation in the March and April attacks.
The IJU issued a statement in May 2005, fully supporting the armed attacks on Uzbek police and military personnel in Andijan, Uzbekistan, and called for the overthrow of the regime in Uzbekistan. In September 2007, German authorities disrupted an IJU plot by detaining three IJU operatives. Two of the three had attended IJU-run terrorist training camps in Pakistan and maintained communications with their Pakistani contacts after returning to Germany. The operatives had acquired large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and an explosives precursor that they stockpiled in a garage in southern Germany for possible use in multiple car bomb attacks. The IJU subsequently claimed responsibility for the foiled attacks. The IJU claimed responsibility for attacks targeting Coalition forces in Afghanistan in 2008, including a March suicide attack against a U.S. military post. IJU claimed responsibility for two May 2009 attacks in Uzbekistan. The attacks, an armed assault on the police and National Security Service in the border town of Xonobod and a suicide bombing in nearby Andijon, killed a police officer and injured several people.
Location/Area of Operation: IJU members are scattered throughout Central Asia, South Asia, and Europe.
External Aid: Unknown.
ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF UZBEKISTAN
Description: The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 25, 2000. The IMU is a group of Islamic extremists from Uzbekistan, other Central Asian states, and Europe, whose goal is to overthrow the Uzbek regime and to establish an Islamic state. The IMU has a relationship with the Taliban and al-Qa’ida.
Activities: The IMU primarily targeted Uzbek interests before October 2001 and is believed to have been responsible for several explosions in Tashkent in February 1999. In August 1999, IMU militants took four Japanese geologists and eight Kyrgyz soldiers hostage. In May 2003, Kyrgyz security forces disrupted an IMU cell that was seeking to bomb the U.S. Embassy and a nearby hotel in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In November 2004, the IMU was blamed for an explosion in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh that killed one police officer and one terrorist.
Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, the IMU has been predominantly occupied with attacks on U.S. and Coalition soldiers in Afghanistan, and has also been active in terrorist operations in Central Asia. In late 2009, NATO forces reported an increase in IMU-affiliated foreign fighters in Afghanistan. There are conflicting reports regarding the possible demise of Tahir Yuldashev during an August 2009 airstrike in Pakistan. Government authorities in Russia arrested three suspected IMU-affiliated extremists in November 2009.
Strength: Approximately 500-600 members.
Location/Area of Operation: IMU militants are located in South Asia, Central Asia, and Iran. Their area of operation includes Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
External Aid: The IMU receives support from a large Uzbek diaspora, terrorist organizations, and patrons in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.
aka the Army of Mohammed; Mohammed’s Army; Tehrik ul-Furqaan; Khuddam-ul-Islam; Khudamul Islam; Kuddam e Islami; Jaish-i-Mohammed
Description: Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 26, 2001. JEM is a terrorist group based in Pakistan that was founded in early 2000 by Masood Azhar, a former senior leader of Harakat ul-Ansar, upon his release from prison in India. The group’s aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan, and it has openly declared war against the United States. It is politically aligned with the radical political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F). Pakistan outlawed JEM in 2002. By 2003, JEM had splintered into Khuddam ul-Islam (KUI), headed by Azhar, and Jamaat ul-Furqan (JUF), led by Abdul Jabbar, who was released from Pakistani custody in August 2004. Pakistan banned KUI and JUF in November 2003.
Activities: Operating under the umbrella of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), JEM continued to operate openly in parts of Pakistan despite then-President Musharraf’s 2002 ban on its activities. The group was well-funded and supported attacks against Indian targets, the Pakistani government, sectarian minorities, and Coalition forces in Afghanistan. Since Masood Azhar’s 1999 release from Indian custody in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages, JEM has conducted many fatal terrorist attacks in the region.
JEM claimed responsibility for several suicide car bombings in Kashmir, including an October 2001 suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar that killed more than 30 people. The Indian government has publicly implicated JEM, along with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, for the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed nine and injured 18. Pakistani authorities suspect that JEM members may have been involved in the 2002 anti-Christian attacks in Islamabad, Murree, and Taxila that killed two Americans. In December 2003, Pakistan implicated JEM members in the two assassination attempts against President Musharraf. In July 2004, Pakistani authorities arrested a JEM member wanted in connection with the 2002 abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. In 2006, JEM claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including the killing of several Indian police officials in the Indian-administered Kashmir capital of Srinagar. Indian police and JEM extremists continued to engage in firefights throughout 2008 and 2009. In August 2009, JEM was believed to have fired upon three police officers in two separate incidents, killing one.
Strength: JEM has at least several hundred armed supporters – including a large cadre of former HUM members – located in Pakistan, India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions, and in the Kashmir Valley. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. The group uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, improvised explosive devices, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Location/Area of Operation: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.
External Aid: Most of JEM’s cadre and material resources have been drawn from the Pakistani militant groups Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami and the Harakat ul-Mujahadin. In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani government, JEM withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods. In addition, JEM collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets, and allegedly from al-Qa’ida.
aka Jemaa Islamiyah; Jema’a Islamiyah; Jemaa Islamiyya; Jema’a Islamiyya; Jemaa Islamiyyah; Jema’a Islamiyyah; Jemaah Islamiah; Jemaah Islamiyah; Jema’ah Islamiyah; Jemaah Islamiyyah; Jema’ah Islamiyyah; JI
Description: Jemaah Islamiya (JI) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 23, 2002. Southeast Asia-based JI is a terrorist group that seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and the southern Philippines. More than 400 JI operatives, including operations chief Hambali, have been captured since 2002, although many of these were subsequently released after serving short sentences, including former JI emir Abu Bakar Bashir. Abu Bakar was released from prison in 2006 after serving a 25-month sentence for his involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings. Indonesia’s Supreme Court later that year acquitted him of the charges. The death of top JI bomb maker Azahari bin Husin in 2005 and a series of high-profile arrests between 2005 and 2008, in combination with additional efforts by the Government of Indonesia, likely reduced JI’s capabilities. But the July 2009 Jakarta hotel bombings demonstrated that JI remained willing and capable of carrying out deadly operations.
Since 2006, many high profile JI operatives have been either captured or killed. These include the 2006 arrests of several close associates of senior JI operative Noordin Mohammad Top; the 2007 arrests of former acting JI emir Muhammad Naim (a.k.a. Zarkasih) and JI military commander Abu Dujana; the 2008 arrests of two senior JI operatives in Malaysia; the mid-2008 arrest of a JI-linked cell in Sumatra; and the September 2009 death of Noordin Mohammad Top in a police raid.
Activities: In December 2000, JI coordinated bombings of numerous Christian churches in Indonesia and was involved in the bombings of several targets in Manila. In December 2001, Singaporean authorities uncovered a JI plot to attack the U.S. and Israeli Embassies, and British and Australian diplomatic buildings in Singapore. Other significant JI attacks included the September 2004 bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the August 2003 bombing of the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, and the October 2002 Bali bombing, which killed more than 200. In February 2004, JI facilitated attacks in Manila, Davao, and General Santos City. JI operatives in the Philippines provide some operational support and training for indigenous Philippine Muslim insurgents. JI’s October 2005 suicide bombing in Bali left 26 dead, including the three suicide bombers.
A JI faction led by Noordin Mohammad Top conducted the group’s most recent high-profile attack on July 17, 2009 at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta when two suicide bombers detonated explosive devices. The attack killed seven and injured more than 50, including seven Americans.
Strength: Estimates of total JI members vary from 500 to several thousand.
Location/Area of Operation: JI is based in Indonesia and is believed to have elements in Malaysia and the Philippines.
External Aid: Investigations indicate that JI is fully capable of its own fundraising through membership donations and criminal and business activities, although it also has received financial, ideological, and logistical support from Middle Eastern contacts and non-governmental organizations.
aka American Friends of the United Yeshiva; American Friends of Yeshivat Rav Meir; Committee for the Safety of the Roads; Dikuy Bogdim; DOV; Forefront of the Idea; Friends of the Jewish Idea Yeshiva; Jewish Legion; Judea Police; Judean Congress; Kach; Kahane; Kahane Lives; Kahane Tzadak; Kahane.org; Kahanetzadak.com; Kfar Tapuah Fund; Koach; Meir’s Youth; New Kach Movement; Newkach.org; No’ar Meir; Repression of Traitors; State of Judea; Sword of David; The Committee Against Racism and Discrimination (CARD); The Hatikva Jewish Identity Center; The International Kahane Movement; The Jewish Idea Yeshiva; The Judean Legion; The Judean Voice; The Qomemiyut Movement; The Rabbi Meir David Kahane Memorial Fund; The Voice of Judea; The Way of the Torah; The Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea; Yeshivat Harav Meir
Description: Kach – the precursor to Kahane Chai – was founded by radical Israeli-American Rabbi Meir Kahane with the goal of restoring Greater Israel, which is generally used to refer to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. Its offshoot, Kahane Chai, (translation: “Kahane Lives”) was founded by Meir Kahane’s son Binyamin following his father’s 1990 assassination in the United States. Both organizations were designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations on October 8, 1997 after they were declared terrorist organizations in 1994 by the Israeli Cabinet under its 1948 Terrorism Law. This designation followed the groups’ statements in support of Baruch Goldstein’s February 1994 attack on the Ibrahimi Mosque and their verbal attacks on the Israeli government. Palestinian gunmen killed Binyamin Kahane and his wife in a drive-by shooting in December 2000 in the West Bank. The group has attempted to gain seats in the Israeli Knesset over the past several decades, but has won only one seat, in 1984.
Activities: Kahane Chai has harassed and threatened Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli government officials, and has vowed revenge for the death of Binyamin Kahane and his wife. The group is suspected of involvement in a number of low-level attacks since the start of the First Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Since 2003, Kahane Chai activists have called for the execution of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and physically intimidated other Israeli and Palestinian government officials who favored the dismantlement of Israeli settlements. Israeli authorities in May 2005 arrested Kahane Chai and other right-wing extremists planning attacks on the Temple Mount using a model aircraft, according to Israeli news services. In August 2005, an Israeli Army deserter, affiliated with Kahane Chai, opened fire on a bus in the Israeli city of Shfaram, killing four Israeli Arabs and injuring 12. In June 2006, an Israeli court charged an American born Israeli immigrant and Kahane Chai member with illegally importing and possessing weapons, ammunition, and additional equipment from the United States. The indictment stated the immigrant intended to use the arms against Arabs for “ideological reasons.” In an August 24, 2007 interview with Kuwaiti TV, a leading Kahane Chai member admitted that Kahane Chai had military equipment and weapons and had engaged in military training.
Strength: Kahane Chai’s core membership is believed to be fewer than 100. The group’s membership and support networks are overwhelmingly composed of Israeli citizens, most of whom live in West Bank settlements. Kahane Chai has engaged in terrorist acts in various locations, including the Temple Mount, Hebron, and Shfaram.
Location/Area of Operation: Israel and West Bank settlements, particularly Qiryat Arba’ in Hebron.
External Aid: Receives support from sympathizers in the United States and Europe.
aka Hizballah Brigades; Hizballah Brigades In Iraq; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq; Kata’ib Hezbollah; Khata’ib Hezbollah; Khata’ib Hizballah; Khattab Hezballah; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq Of The Islamic Resistance In Iraq; Islamic Resistance In Iraq; Kata’ib Hizballah Fi Al-Iraq; Katibat Abu Fathel Al A’abas; Katibat Zayd Ebin Ali; Katibut Karbalah
Description: Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on July 2, 2009. Formed in 2006, KH is a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western outlook and jihadist ideology that has conducted attacks against Iraqi, U.S., and Coalition targets in Iraq. KH has ideological ties to Lebanese Hizballah and may have received support from that group. KH gained notoriety in 2007 with attacks on U.S. and Coalition forces designed to undermine the establishment of a democratic, viable Iraqi state. KH has been responsible for numerous violent terrorist attacks since 2007, including improvised explosive device bombings, rocket propelled grenade attacks, and sniper operations. In addition, KH has threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians that support the legitimate political process in Iraq.
Activities: KH is responsible for numerous attacks on U.S. forces and Coalition forces, as well as Government of Iraq military, police, politicians, and civilians. The group is particularly notable for its extensive use of media operations and propaganda by filming and releasing videos of attacks.
KH was particularly active in summer 2008, recording and distributing video footage of its attacks against U.S. and Coalition soldiers. Using the alias “Hizballah Brigades in Iraq,” KH filmed attacks on U.S. Stryker vehicles, Abram tanks, and Bradley armored personnel carriers. In August 2008, in addition to these attacks, KH filmed seven separate attacks on U.S. and Coalition vehicles. These recorded attacks carried on into September 2008, with KH targeting U.S. bases, U.S. and Coalition vehicles, and private contractors affiliated with Coalition forces.
KH’s activity carried over into 2009 on a number of fronts. For example, in March 2009, the group continued to record and distribute its attacks by utilizing an Iraqi video hosting website to promote its operational films. In May 2009, KH displayed videos of its attacks, ranging in date from 2006 to 2008, showcasing operations against U.S. forces in and around Baghdad; and in July 2009 the group highlighted its use of rocket propelled grenades in more operational video footage.
Strength: Membership is estimated at approximately 400 individuals.
Location/Area of Operation: KH’s operations are predominately Iraq-based. KH currently conducts the majority of its operations in Baghdad but has been active in other areas of Iraq, including Kurdish areas such as Mosul.
External Aid: KH is suspected of receiving support from Iran through links with Lebanese Hizballah.
KURDISTAN WORKERS’ PARTY
aka the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress; the Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan; KADEK; Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan; the People’s Defense Force; Halu Mesru Savunma Kuvveti; Kurdistan People’s Congress; People’s Congress of Kurdistan; KONGRA-GEL
Description: The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or Kongra-Gel (KGK) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The PKK was founded by Abdullah Ocalan in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist separatist organization. The group, composed primarily of Turkish Kurds, launched a campaign of violence in 1984. The PKK aspires to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, but in recent years has spoken more often about autonomy within a Turkish state that guarantees Kurdish cultural and linguistic rights.
In the early 1990s, the PKK moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to include urban terrorism. In the 1990s, southeastern Anatolia was the scene of significant violence; some estimates place casualties at approximately 30,000 persons. Following his capture in 1999, Ocalan announced a “peace initiative,” ordering members to refrain from violence and requesting dialogue with Ankara on Kurdish issues. Ocalan’s death-sentence was commuted to life-imprisonment; he remains the symbolic leader of the group. The group foreswore violence until June 2004, when the group’s hard-line militant wing took control and renounced the self-imposed cease-fire of the previous five years. Striking over the border from bases within Iraq, the PKK has engaged in terrorist attacks in eastern and western Turkey. The Turkish government in November 2009 announced a reform initiative aimed at giving Kurds more democratic rights in Turkey, in large part to establish a political resolution to the ongoing PKK insurgency.
Activities: Primary targets have been Turkish government security forces, local Turkish officials, and villagers who oppose the organization in Turkey. The PKK’s reputed military wing, the People’s Defense Force, has been responsible mainly for attacks against military and paramilitary targets in the southeastern area of Turkey. The PKK’s reported urban terrorist arm, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), has attacked primarily tourist areas in Western Turkey, and in late February 2008, announced a new wave of terrorist actions against Turkey. The PKK did not claim credit for any attacks in 2009.
In an attempt to damage Turkey’s tourist industry, the PKK has bombed tourist sites and hotels and kidnapped foreign tourists. In July 2008, PKK operatives kidnapped three German tourists on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey in retaliation for Germany’s tough stance against the group. In October 2008, PKK militants killed 15 Turkish soldiers at the Aktutun outpost on the Turkish-Iraqi border, and five days later the group killed several police officers and wounded 19 in an attack in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, PKK violence killed or injured hundreds of Turks. PKK activity was lower in 2009, but was still a constant throughout the year. Despite Ankara’s recent democratic initiative, PKK militants killed seven Turkish soldiers near Tokat in north-central Turkey in December 2009.
Strength: Approximately 4,000 to 5,000, of which 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: Operates primarily in Turkey, Iraq, Europe, and the Middle East.
External Aid: In the past, the PKK received safe haven and modest aid from Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Syria ended support for the group in 1999 and since then has cooperated with Turkey against the PKK. Since 1999, Iran has also cooperated in a limited fashion with Turkey against the PKK. In 2008, Turkey and Iraq began cooperating to fight the PKK. The PKK continues to receive substantial financial support from the large Kurdish diaspora in Europe and from criminal activity there.
aka al Mansooreen; Al Mansoorian; Army of the Pure; Army of the Pure and Righteous; Army of the Righteous; Lashkar e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba; Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis; Paasban-e-Kashmir; Paasban-i-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Kashmir; Jamaat-ud-Dawa, JUD; Jama’at al-Dawa; Jamaat ud-Daawa; Jamaat ul-Dawah; Jamaat-ul-Dawa; Jama’at-i-Dawat; Jamaiat-ud-Dawa; Jama’at-ud-Da’awah; Jama’at-ud-Da’awa; Jamaati-ud-Dawa; Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq
Description: Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 26, 2001. The group was responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. LT is one of the largest and most proficient of the traditionally Kashmiri-focused militant groups. LT formed in the late 1980s or early 1990s as the militant wing of the Islamic extremist organization Markaz Dawa ul-Irshad, a Pakistan-based Islamic fundamentalist mission organization and charity founded to oppose the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. LT, which is not connected to any political party, is led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Shortly after LT was designated as an FTO, Saeed changed the name to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and began humanitarian projects to avoid restrictions. LT disseminates its message through JUD’s media outlets. Elements of LT and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JEM) combined with other groups to mount attacks as “The Save Kashmir Movement.” The Pakistani government banned the group and froze its assets in January 2002. LT and its leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, continued to spread ideology advocating terrorism, as well as virulent rhetoric condemning the United States, India, Israel, and other perceived enemies.
Activities: LT has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir since 1993, as well as several high profile attacks inside India. LT claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in 2001, including a January attack on Srinagar airport that killed five Indians; an attack on a police station in Srinagar that killed at least eight officers and wounded several others; and an April attack against Indian border security forces that left at least four dead. The Indian government publicly implicated LT, along with JEM, for the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament building. LT is also suspected of involvement in the May 2002 attack on an Indian Army base in Kaluchak that left 36 dead. India blamed LT for an October 2005 attack in New Delhi and a December 2005 Bangalore attack. Senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) lieutenant Abu Zubaydah was captured at an LT safe house in Faisalabad in March 2002, which suggested that some members were facilitating the movement of AQ members in Pakistan. Indian governmental officials hold LT responsible for the July 2006 train attack in Mumbai and several attacks since then in Hyderabad.
LT was behind the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai against luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a prominent train station, and a popular café that killed at least 183, including 22 foreigners, and injured more than 300. India has charged 38 people in the case, including the lone surviving suspected terrorist who was captured at the scene. While most of those charged are at large and thought to be in Pakistan, the suspected terrorist remains in Indian custody and is awaiting trial. In 2009, the FBI charged Pakistani-American businessman David Headley (born Daood Sayed Gilani) with plotting attacks against the employees of a Copenhagen, Denmark newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. Headley, has pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to crimes relating to his role in the November 2008 Lashkar e-Tayyiba attacks in Mumbai, which killed more than 170 people – including six Americans – as well as to crimes relating to a separate plot to bomb the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
Strength: The actual size of the group is unknown, but LT has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan; in the southern Jammu, Kashmir, and Doda regions; and in the Kashmir Valley. Most LT members are Pakistanis or Afghans and/or veterans of the Afghan wars, though the group is alleged to augment its strength through collaboration with terrorist groups comprised of non-Pakistanis. The group uses assault rifles, light and heavy machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Location/Area of Operation: Based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad, Pakistan; maintains a number of facilities, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics. It has a strong operational network through South Asia.
External Aid: The precise amount of LT funding is unknown. LT collects donations from the Pakistani expatriate communities in the Middle East and the United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and other Kashmiri business people. LT coordinates its charitable activities through its front organization JUD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation, which spearheaded humanitarian relief to the victims of the October 2005 earthquake in Kashmir.
LASHKAR I JHANGVI
Description: Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 30, 2003. LJ is the militant offshoot of the Sunni Deobandi sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. LJ focuses primarily on anti-Shia attacks and was banned by then Pakistani President Musharraf in August 2001 as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence. Many of its members then sought refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban, with whom they had existing ties. After the collapse of the Taliban, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists, providing safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi.
Activities: LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings and has admitted responsibility for numerous killings of Shia religious and community leaders in Pakistan. In January 1999, the group attempted to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province. Pakistani authorities have publicly linked LJ members to the 2002 abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. Media reports linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a March 2002 grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad that killed two U.S. citizens, but no formal charges were filed. Pakistani authorities believe LJ was responsible for the July 2003 bombing of a Shia mosque in Quetta, Pakistan. Authorities also implicated LJ in several sectarian incidents in 2004, including the May and June bombings of two Shia mosques in Karachi that killed more than 40 people.
In May 2006, Pakistani police arrested two LJ militants suspected of involvement in the March bombing outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi that killed one U.S. official. The Government of Pakistan claimed that the group was involved in the July 2006 assassination of Allama Turabi, an influential Shia leader. In June 2008, Sindh authorities issued a statement attributing the April 2006 Mishtar Parking bombing in Karachi to a militant with ties to LJ. In January 2008, the Interior Ministry ordered the arrest of three LJ militants suspected of being involved in a suicide bombing at a Shia religious procession in Peshawar that killed 15 people. In February 2008, police arrested 20 LJ militants wanted for various terrorism attacks in the Punjab and Sindh provinces. In October 2008, Afghan security forces claimed to have arrested four Pakistani suicide bombers in Kandahar who asserted that they belonged to LJ.
The group was active in 2009. In January, Hussain Ali Yousafi, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, was shot dead by LJ in the southwestern city of Quetta. Similarly, LJ claimed responsibility for a November attack on the vehicle of Shahid Nizam Durrani, Deputy Inspector General (Operations) of Quetta; one passerby was killed and six others injured.
Strength: Probably fewer than 100.
Location/Area of Operation: LJ is active primarily in Punjab and Karachi. Some members travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
External Aid: Unknown.
LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM
aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers
Description: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Founded in 1976, the LTTE became a powerful Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka. The LTTE wants to establish an independent Tamil state in the island’s north and east. Since the beginning of its insurgency against the Sri Lankan government in 1983, it evolved its capability from terrorist and guerilla tactics to conventional warfare. Although the LTTE nominally committed to a 2002 cease-fire agreement with the Sri Lankan government, it continued terrorist attacks against government leaders and dissident Tamils. In spite of losing the 2009 war on the ground in Sri Lanka, the LTTE’s international network of financial support was suspected of surviving largely intact. However, the international network likely suffered a serious blow by the arrest in southeast Asia and rendition to Sri Lanka of Selvarajah Patmanathan (aka KP), the LTTE’s principle financier and arms supplier. This network continued to collect contributions from the Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, where there were reports that some of these contributions were coerced by locally-based LTTE sympathizers. The LTTE also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for its fundraising. The Sri Lankan Navy sunk a number of LTTE supply ships during the war, and confiscated at least one such ship, the Princess Chrisanta, after the end of the war.
Activities: LTTE integrated a battlefield insurgent strategy with a terrorist program that targeted key personnel in the countryside and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders in Colombo and other urban centers. It has conducted a sustained campaign targeting rival Tamil groups, and assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India in 1991 and President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka in 1993. Although most notorious for its cadre of suicide bombers, the Black Tigers, the organization included an amphibious force, the Sea Tigers, and a nascent air wing, the Air Tigers. Fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government escalated in 2006 and continued through 2008. The LTTE was blamed for a claymore mine on a crowded bus near Colombo on June 6, 2008, killing 22 civilians and wounding more than 50 others. Political assassinations and bombings were commonplace tactics prior to the 2002 cease-fire and have increased again since mid-2005. Most LTTE attacks targeted Sri Lankan military and official personnel but, as illustrated by the June 2008 bombing, the LTTE appeared to continue to target civilians. In 2009, there were more than 40 attacks attributed to the LTTE, including: a February suicide bombing that killed 30 people and injured 64 in an attack at a Mullaithivu IDP Rescue Center; a February air raid in Colombo that killed three people and injured 45 after an LTTE plane, reportedly engaging in kamikaze-style tactics indicating a suicide attack, was hit by anti-aircraft gunfire and crashed into the Inland revenue Building; and a suicide bombing in March that killed 14 and injured 46 people during a religious procession at a mosque in Matara. In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces re-captured the LTTE’s key strongholds and killed LTTE’s second in command. As a result, the Sri Lankan government declared military victory over LTTE in May 2009.
Strength: Exact strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operations: Sri Lanka
External Aid: The LTTE uses its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies. The group employs charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for their activities.
LIBYAN ISLAMIC FIGHTING GROUP
Description: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 17, 2004. In the early 1990s, the LIFG emerged from the group of Libyans who had fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan and pledged to overthrow Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi. In the years following, some members maintained a strictly anti-Qadhafi focus and targeted Libyan government interests. Others, such as Abu al-Faraj al-Libi, who in 2005 was arrested in Pakistan, aligned with Usama bin Ladin, and are believed to be part of the al-Qa’ida (AQ) leadership structure or active in the international terrorist network. On November 3, 2007, AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced a formal merger between AQ and LIFG. However on July 3, 2009, LIFG members in the United Kingdom released a statement formally disavowing any association with AQ. In September 2009, six imprisoned LIFG members issued a 417-page document that renounced violence and claimed to adhere to more sound Islamic theology than that of AQ. More than 100 LIFG members pledged to adhere to this revised doctrine and have been pardoned and released from prison in Libya as of September 2009.
Activities: LIFG has been largely inactive operationally in Libya since the late 1990s when members fled predominately to Europe and the Middle East because of tightened Libyan security measures. To date, the November 3, 2007 merger with AQ, which many LIFG members in Europe and Libya did not recognize, has not resulted in a significant increase in LIFG activities within Libya. LIFG engaged Libyan security forces in armed clashes during the 1990s and attempted to assassinate Qadhafi four times. On July 3, 2009, the LIFG released a statement that the group would cease terrorist activities in Libya. Although LIFG has not claimed responsibility for terrorist acts in recent years, in February 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department accused five suspected LIFG members residing in the UK of financing terrorism by providing false documents and financial assistance through front companies. The five were placed on the UN’s al-Qa’ida and Taliban Sanctions Committee’s consolidated terrorist list.
Location/Area of Operation: Since the late 1990s, many members have fled to various Asian, Arabian Gulf, African, and European countries, particularly the UK.
External Aid: The LIFG has used Islamic charitable organizations as cover for fundraising and transferring money and documents. LIFG also finances operations with criminal activity.
MOROCCAN ISLAMIC COMBATANT GROUP
aka Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain (GICM)
Description: The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 11, 2005. The GICM is a clandestine transnational terrorist group centered in the Moroccan diaspora communities of Western Europe. Its goals include establishing an Islamic state in Morocco and supporting al-Qa’ida’s (AQ) war against the West by assisting in the assimilation of AQ operatives into Moroccan and European society. The group emerged in the 1990s and is composed of Moroccan recruits who trained in armed camps in Afghanistan, including some who fought in the Soviet Afghan war. GICM members interact with other North African extremists, particularly in Europe.
Activities: GICM members are believed to be among those responsible for the 2004 Madrid bombing. GICM members were also implicated in the recruitment network for Iraq, and at least one GICM member carried out a suicide attack against Coalition Forces in Iraq. GICM individuals are believed to have been involved in the 2003 Casablanca attacks. However, the group has largely been moribund since these attacks.
Strength: Much of the GICM’s leadership in Morocco and Europe has been killed, imprisoned, or are awaiting trial. Alleged leader Mohamed al-Guerbouzi was convicted in absentia by the Moroccan government for his role in the Casablanca attacks but remains free in exile in the UK. Current strength of GICM is unknown
Location/Area of Operation: Morocco, Western Europe, and Afghanistan.
External Aid: The GICM has been involved in narcotics trafficking in North Africa and Europe to fund its operations. Moroccan security officials believe money from drug trafficking largely financed the 2003 Casablanca attacks. The Madrid attacks were financed mainly by the narcotics trafficking of Moroccan terrorist Jamal Ahmidan.
MUJAHADIN-E KHALQ ORGANIZATION
aka MEK; MKO; Mujahadin-e Khalq (Iranian government name for group); Muslim Iranian Students’ Society; National Council of Resistance; NCR; Organization of the People’s Holy Warriors of Iran; the National Liberation Army of Iran; NLA; People’s Mujahadin Organization of Iran; PMOI; National Council of Resistance of Iran; NCRI; Sazeman-e Mujahadin-e Khalq-e Iran
Description: The MEK was originally designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The MEK is a Marxist-Islamic Organization that seeks the overthrow of the Iranian regime through its military wing, the National Liberation Army (NLA), and its political front, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
The MEK was founded in 1963 by a group of college-educated Iranian Marxists who opposed the country’s pro-western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The group participated in the 1979 Islamic Revolution that replaced the Shah with a Shiite Islamist regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini. However, the MEK’s ideology – a blend of Marxism, feminism, and Islamism – was at odds with the post-revolutionary government and its original leadership was soon executed by the Khomeini regime. In 1981, the group was driven from its bases on the Iran-Iraq border and resettled in Paris, where it began supporting Iraq in its eight year war against Khomeini’s Iran. In 1986, after France recognized the Iranian regime, the MEK moved its headquarters to Iraq, which facilitated its terrorist activities in Iran. Since 2003, roughly 3,400 MEK members have been encamped at Camp Ashraf in Iraq.
Activities: The group’s worldwide campaign against the Iranian government uses propaganda and terrorism to achieve its objectives. During the 1970s, the MEK staged terrorist attacks inside Iran and killed several U.S. military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran. In 1972, the MEK set off bombs in Tehran at the U.S. Information Service office, a U.S. diplomatic facility staffed by internationally protected persons, the Iran-American Society, and the offices of several U.S. companies to protest the visit of President Nixon to Iran. In 1973, the MEK assassinated the deputy chief of the U.S. Military Mission in Tehran and bombed several businesses, including Shell Oil. In 1974, the MEK set off bombs in Tehran at the offices of U.S. companies to protest the visit of then U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger. In 1975, the MEK assassinated two U.S. military officers who were members of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group in Tehran. In 1976, the MEK assassinated two U.S. citizens who were employees of Rockwell International in Tehran. In 1979, the group claimed responsibility for the murder of an American Texaco executive.
In 1981, MEK leadership attempted to overthrow the newly installed Islamic regime; Iranian security forces subsequently initiated a crackdown on the group. The MEK instigated a bombing campaign, including an attack against the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Prime Minister’s office, which killed some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, and Prime Minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar. These attacks resulted in a popular uprising against the MEK and an expanded Iranian government crackdown that forced MEK leaders to flee to France. For five years, the MEK continued to wage its terrorist campaign from its Paris headquarters. Expelled by France in 1986, MEK leaders turned to Saddam Hussein’s regime for basing, financial support, and training. Near the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Baghdad armed the MEK with heavy military equipment and deployed thousands of MEK fighters in suicidal, mass wave attacks against Iranian forces.
The MEK’s relationship with the former Iraqi regime continued through the 1990s. In 1991, the group reportedly assisted the Iraqi Republican Guard’s bloody crackdown on Iraqi Shia and Kurds who rose up against Saddam Hussein’s regime. In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian embassies and installations in 13 countries, demonstrating the group’s ability to mount large-scale operations overseas. In June 1998, the MEK was implicated in a series of bombing and mortar attacks in Iran that killed at least 15 and injured several others. In April 1999, the MEK targeted key Iranian military officers and assassinated the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff, Brigadier General Ali Sayyaad Shirazi.
In April 2000, the MEK attempted to assassinate the commander of the Nasr Headquarters, Tehran’s interagency board responsible for coordinating policies on Iraq. The pace of anti-Iranian operations increased during “Operation Great Bahman” in February 2000, when the group launched a dozen attacks against Iran. One attack included a mortar attack against a major Iranian leadership complex in Tehran that housed the offices of the Supreme Leader and the President. In 2000 and 2001, the MEK was involved in regular mortar attacks and hit-and-run raids against Iranian military and law enforcement personnel, as well as government buildings near the Iran-Iraq border. Also in 2001, the FBI arrested seven Iranians in the United States who funneled US$ 400,000 to an MEK-affiliated organization in the UAE, which used the funds to purchase weapons. Following an initial Coalition bombardment of the MEK’s facilities in Iraq at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, MEK leadership negotiated a cease-fire with Coalition Forces and surrendered their heavy-arms to Coalition control. Since 2003, roughly 3,400 MEK members have been encamped at Ashraf in Iraq.
In 2003, French authorities arrested 160 MEK members at operational bases they believed the MEK was using to coordinate financing and planning for terrorist attacks. Upon the arrest of MEK leader Maryam Rajavi, MEK members took to Paris’ streets and engaged in self-immolation. French authorities eventually released Rajavi. Although currently in hiding, Rajavi has made “motivational” appearances via video-satellite to MEK-sponsored conferences across the globe.
According to evidence which became available after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the MEK received millions of dollars in Oil-for-Food program subsidies from Saddam Hussein from 1999 through 2003. In addition to discovering 13 lists of recipients of such vouchers on which the MEK appeared, evidence linking the MEK to the former Iraqi regime includes lists, as well as video footage of both Saddam Hussein handing over suitcases of money to known MEK leaders, and of MEK operatives receiving training from the Iraqi military.
Strength: Estimates place MEK’s worldwide membership at between 5,000 and 10,000 members, with large pockets in Paris and other major European capitals. In Iraq, roughly 3,400 MEK members are gathered at Camp Ashraf, the MEK’s main compound north of Baghdad. As a condition of the 2003 cease-fire agreement, the MEK relinquished more than 2,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and heavy artillery. Between 2003 and 2006, a significant number of MEK personnel voluntarily left Ashraf, and an additional several hundred individuals renounced ties to the MEK and been voluntarily repatriated to Iran.
Location/Area of Operation: The MEK’s global support structure remains in place, with associates and supporters scattered throughout Europe and North America. Operations target Iranian government elements across the globe, including in Europe and Iran. The MEK’s political arm, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has a global support network with active lobbying and propaganda efforts in major Western capitals. NCRI also has a well-developed media communications strategy.
External Aid: Before Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, the MEK received all of its military assistance and most of its financial support from Saddam Hussein. The fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime has led the MEK increasingly to rely on front organizations to solicit contributions from expatriate Iranian communities.
NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY
aka ELN, Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional
Description: The National Liberation Army (ELN) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The ELN is a Colombian Marxist-Leninist group formed in 1964 by intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. It is primarily rural-based, although it also has several urban units. Peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government began in Cuba in December 2005 and continued as recently as August 2007. To date, Colombia and the ELN have yet to agree on a formal framework for peace negotiations and talks stalled in early 2008, although sporadic efforts have been made to revive them.
Activities: The ELN engages in kidnappings, hijackings, bombings, drug trafficking, and extortion activities. Historically, the ELN has been one of the biggest users of anti-personnel mines in Colombia. The ELN continues to attempt high profile attacks, but these have fallen off. For example, in 2003, ELN murdered two mayors from the State of Cauca, Colombia. In July 2004, ELN kidnapped a Catholic Archbishop while he was traveling in eastern Colombia. In 2005, after the ELN removed 54 landmines it had placed in Bolivar province, the group promptly replaced them with 50 new ones. In August 2006, the ELN was believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of three China National Petroleum Corporation contractors in the Colombian state of Choco near the Panamanian border. In February 2008, ELN rebels kidnapped a Radio Delfin journalist near Dibuya. In 2009, the ELN remained active but with diminished resources and reduced offensive capability. Still, the ELN continued to inflict casualties on the Colombian military through use of land mines and occasional attacks. It continued to fund its operations through narcotics trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion.
Strength: Approximately 2,000 armed combatants and an unknown number of active supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Mostly in rural and mountainous areas of northern, northeastern, and southwestern Colombia, as well as the border regions with Venezuela.
External Aid: Cuba provides some medical care and political consultation. Nevertheless, Cuba has encouraged the Colombian government and the ELN to reach an agreement.
PALESTINE LIBERATION FRONT- ABU ABBAS FACTION
aka PLF; PLF-Abu Abbas; Palestine Liberation Front
Description: The Palestinian Liberation Front – Abu Abbas Faction (PLF) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. In the late 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) splintered from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and then later split into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Zaydan (a.k.a. Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Activities: Abbas’s group was responsible for the 1985 attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer. In 1993, the PLF officially renounced terrorism when it acknowledged the Oslo accords, although it was suspected of supporting terrorism against Israel by other Palestinian groups into the 1990s. In April 2004, Abu Abbas died of natural causes while in U.S. custody in Iraq. The PLF took part in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentarian elections but did not win a seat. In 2008, as part of a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizballah, Samir Kantar, a PLF member, and purportedly the longest serving Arab prisoner in Israeli custody, was released from an Israeli prison. After going approximately 16 years without claiming responsibility for an attack, PLF claimed responsibility for two attacks against Israeli targets on March 14, 2008, according to media reports. One attack was against an Israeli military bus in Huwarah, Israel, and the other involved a PLF “brigade” firing at an Israeli settler south of the Hebron Mountain, seriously wounding him. On March 28, 2008, shortly after the attacks, a PLF Central Committee member reaffirmed PLF’s commitment to using “all possible means to restore” its previous glory and to adhering to its role in the Palestinian “struggle” and “resistance,” through its military.
Strength: Estimates have placed membership between 50 and 500.
Location/Area of Operation: Based in Iraq from 1990 until 2003. Current PLF leadership and membership appears to be based in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
External Aid: Unknown.
PALESTINE ISLAMIC JIHAD - SHAQAQI FACTION
aka PIJ; Palestine Islamic Jihad; PIJ-Shaqaqi Faction; PIJ-Shallah Faction; Islamic Jihad of Palestine; Islamic Jihad in Palestine; Abu Ghunaym Squad of the Hizballah Bayt Al-Maqdis; Al-Quds Squads; Al-Quds Brigades; Saraya Al-Quds; Al-Awdah Brigades
Description: Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Formed by militant Palestinians in Gaza during the 1970s, PIJ is committed to both the the destruction of Israel through attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets and the creation of an Islamic state in all of historic Palestine, including present day Israel.
Activities: PIJ terrorists have conducted numerous attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings against Israeli civilian and military targets. The PIJ continued to plan and direct attacks against Israelis both inside Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Although U.S. citizens have died in PIJ attacks, the group has not directly targeted U.S. interests. PIJ attacks in 2008 and 2009 were primarily rocket attacks aimed at southern Israeli cities. In March 2008, two IDF soldiers died as a result of an explosive device detonated near their jeep while patrolling the security fence in the central Gaza Strip, near Kissufim. HAMAS and PIJ claimed responsibility for the attack. In April 2008 alone, PIJ fired 216 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli towns. In 2009, the number of PIJ attacks decreased, but rocket attacks on Israeli towns continued as the PIJ claimed that it had launched 12 rockets in January, one in February and another in September. Attacks against the Israeli military continued as PIJ teamed up with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to attack military jeeps with explosives on at least two occasions in May and June.
Strength: PIJ currently has less than 1000 members.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. The group’s senior leadership resides in Syria. Other leadership elements reside in Lebanon and official representatives are scattered throughout the Middle East.
External Aid: Receives financial assistance and training primarily from Iran. Syria provides the group with safe haven.
POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE
aka PFLP; Halhul Gang; Halhul Squad; Palestinian Popular Resistance Forces; PPRF; Red Eagle Gang; Red Eagle Group; Red Eagles; Martyr Abu-Ali Mustafa Battalion
Description: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The PFLP, a Marxist-Leninist group founded by George Habash, broke away from the Arab Nationalist Movement in 1967. The PFLP views the Palestinian struggle as a broader non-religious revolution against Western imperialism. The group earned a reputation for spectacular international attacks in the 1960s and 1970s, including airline hijackings that killed at least 20 U.S. citizens. A leading faction within the PLO, the PFLP has long accepted the concept of a two-state solution but has opposed specific provisions of various peace initiatives.
Activities: The PFLP stepped up its operational activity during the Second Intifada. This was highlighted by at least two suicide bombings since 2003, multiple joint operations with other Palestinian terrorist groups, and the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001 to avenge Israel’s killing of the PFLP Secretary General earlier that year. In March 2006, the PFLP’s current Secretary General, Ahmed Sa’adat, then imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority for his involvement in the Ze’evi assassination, was seized from the Jericho prison compound by Israeli forces and sentenced to 30 years in prison by an Israeli military court in December 2008. The PFLP was involved in several rocket attacks, launched primarily from the Gaza Strip, against Israel in 2008 and 2009. PFLP also claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, including sniper attacks at border crossings and a December 2009 ambush of Israeli soldiers in central Gaza.
Location/Area of Operation: Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
External Aid: Receives safe haven from Syria.
POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE - GENERAL COMMAND
Description: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The PFLP-GC split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on resistance and less on politics. Originally, the group was violently opposed to the Arafat-led PLO. Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian Army whose son, Jihad, was killed by a car bomb in May 2002, has led the PFLP-GC since its founding. The PFLP-GC is closely tied to both Syria and Iran.
Activities: The PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. The organization was known for cross-border terrorist attacks into Israel using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders. The group’s primary focus is now on supporting Hizballah’s attacks against Israel, training members of other Palestinian terrorist groups, and smuggling weapons. The PFLP-GC maintained an armed presence in several Palestinian refugee camps and at its own military bases in Lebanon and along the Lebanon-Syria border. The PFLP-GC has been implicated by Lebanese security officials in several rocket attacks against Israel in 2008. In May 2008, the PFLP-GC claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on a shopping center in Ashkelon that wounded at least ten people. A health clinic took the brunt of the attack.
Strength: Several hundred to several thousand.
Location/Area of Operation: Headquartered in Damascus, with bases in southern Lebanon and a presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria.
External Aid: Receives logistical and military support from Syria and financial support from Iran.
Variant spelling of al-Qa’ida, including al Qaeda; translation “The Base”; Qa’idat al-Jihad (The Base for Jihad); formerly Qa’idat Ansar Allah (The Base of the Supporters of God); the Islamic Army; Islamic Salvation Foundation; the Base; The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites; The Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places; the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders; the Usama Bin Ladin Network; the Usama Bin Ladin Organization; al-Jihad; the Jihad Group; Egyptian al-Jihad; Egyptian Islamic Jihad; New Jihad
Description: Al-Qa’ida (AQ) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1999. AQ was established by Usama bin Ladin in 1988 with Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. The group helped finance, recruit, transport, and train Sunni Islamist extremists for the Afghan resistance. AQ’s strategic objectives include uniting Muslims to fight the United States and its allies, overthrowing regimes it deems “non-Islamic,” and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries. Its ultimate goal is the establishment of a pan-Islamic caliphate throughout the world. AQ leaders issued a statement in February 1998 under the banner of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders,” saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens, civilian and military, and their allies everywhere. AQ merged with al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) in June 2001.
Activities: Even as AQ’s top leaders continued to plot and direct terrorist attacks worldwide, terrorists affiliated with, but not necessarily controlled by AQ, have increasingly carried out high-profile attacks. AQ, its affiliates, and those inspired by the group were involved in anti-U.S. and anti-Coalition attacks in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia including suicide bombings and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
AQ is the most significant terrorist threat to the United States and is developing stronger operational relationships with affiliates in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. AQ remained committed to attacking the United States and focused its planning on targets that would produce mass casualties, dramatic visual destruction, and economic dislocation.
AQ and its supporters claim to have shot down U.S. helicopters and killed U.S. servicemen in Somalia in 1993, and to have conducted three bombings that targeted U.S. troops in Aden in December 1992. AQ also carried out the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing up to 300 individuals and injuring more than 5,000. In October 2000, AQ conducted a suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, with an explosive-laden boat, killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors and injuring 39.
On September 11, 2001, 19 AQ members hijacked and crashed four U.S. commercial jets – two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon near Washington, DC; and a fourth into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – leaving over 3,000 individuals dead or missing.
In October 2002, AQ directed a suicide attack on the French tanker MV Limburg off the coast of Yemen that killed one and injured four. The group also carried out the November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya that killed 15. AQ probably provided financing for the October 2002 Bali bombings by Jemaah Islamiya that killed more than 200.
In 2003 and 2004, Saudi-based AQ operatives and associated extremists launched more than a dozen attacks, killing at least 90 people, including 14 Americans in Saudi Arabia. AQ may have been connected to the suicide bombers and planners of the November 2003 attacks in Istanbul that targeted two synagogues, the British Consulate, and the HSBC Bank, and resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people. Former Pakistani President Musharraf blamed AQ for two attempts on his life in December 2003. Bin Ladin’s deputy al-Zawahiri claimed responsibility on behalf of AQ for the July 7, 2005 attacks against the London public transportation system. The extent of senior leadership involvement in planning the July 2005 attacks was unclear.
The Government of Pakistan accused AQ, along with the Pakistani Taliban, of being responsible for the October 2007 suicide bombing attempt against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto that killed at least 144 people in Karachi, Pakistan. On December 27, 2007, the Government of Pakistan stated that Baitullah Mehsud, a now-deceased Pakistani Taliban leader with close ties to AQ, was responsible for Bhutto’s assassination.
In January 2008, militants attacked a convoy of Belgian tourists in Hadhramout, Yemen, killing two Belgian women and two Yemeni drivers. AQ claimed responsibility for the attack. In June 2008, a suicide car bomber attacked the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, killing six people, including a Danish citizen. The blast was so powerful that it damaged windowpanes of buildings in a four kilometer radius and left a three-foot crater at impact. In a press interview, an AQ commander in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack, on behalf of AQ.
In January 2009, Bryant Neal Vinas – a U.S. citizen who traveled to Pakistan, allegedly trained in explosives at AQ camps, and was eventually captured in Pakistan and extradited to the United States – was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit murder. Vinas later admitted his role in helping AQ plan an attack against the Long Island Rail Road in New York and confessed to having fired missiles at a U.S. base in Afghanistan.
In September 2009, Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, was charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction as part of an AQ plot to attack the New York subway system. Zazi later admitted to contacts with AQ senior leadership, which suggests they took an interest in his plans. U.S. officials have described the alleged bombing plot as one of the most serious terrorism threats to the United States since the 9/11 attacks.
Strength: AQ’s organizational strength is difficult to determine in the aftermath of extensive counterterrorist efforts since 9/11. The arrests and deaths of mid-level and senior AQ operatives have disrupted some communication, financial, and facilitation nodes and some terrorist plots. Additionally, supporters and associates worldwide who are “inspired” by the group’s ideology may be operating without direction from AQ central leadership; it is impossible to estimate their numbers. AQ serves as a focal point of “inspiration” for a worldwide network that is comprised of many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, including some members of the Gama’at al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, Lashkar i Jhangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahadin, the Taliban, and Jemaah Islamiya. Pakistani Taliban, separate from the Taliban in Afghanistan, also appear to have strengthened their ties to AQ.
Location/Area of Operation: AQ worldwide networks are augmented by ties to local Sunni extremists. The group was based in Afghanistan until Coalition Forces removed the Taliban from power in late 2001. While the largest concentration of senior AQ members now resides in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the network incorporates members of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), Yemen, Algeria, and other associates throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central Asia.
External Aid: AQ primarily depends on donations from like-minded supporters and individuals who believe that their money is supporting a humanitarian or other cause. Some funds are diverted from Islamic charitable organizations. In addition, parts of the organization raise funds through criminal activities; for example, AQI raises funds through hostage-taking for ransom, and members in Europe have engaged in credit card fraud. U.S. and international efforts to block AQ funding have hampered the group’s ability to raise money.
AL-QA’IDA IN IRAQ
aka al-Qa’ida Group of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa’ida Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers;
al-Qa’ida in Mesopotamia; al-Qa’ida in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of The Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Tawhid; Jam'at al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad; Tanzeem Qa’idat al Jihad/Bilad al Raafidaini; Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn; The Monotheism and Jihad Group; The Organization Base of Jihad/Country of the Two Rivers; The Organization Base of Jihad/Mesopotamia; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers; al-Zarqawi Network
Description: Al-Qa’ida in Iraq was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 17, 2004. In the 1990s, Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant, organized aterrorist group called al-Tawhid wal-Jihad as an opposition to the presence of U.S. and Western military forces in the Islamic world and also the West's support for and the existence of Israel. He traveled to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and led his group against U.S. and Coalition forces there until his death in June 2006. In late 2004 he joined al-Qaeda and pledged allegiance to Usama bin Laden. After this al-Tawhid wal-Jihad became known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and al-Zarqawi was given the Al-Qaeda title, "Emir of al-Qa’ida in the Country of Two Rivers."
In January 2006, in an attempt to unify Sunni extremists in Iraq, al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) created the Mujahidin Shura Council (MSC), an umbrella organization meant to encompass the various Sunni terrorist groups in Iraq. AQI claimed its attacks under the MSC until mid-October, when Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, took the first step toward al-Qa’ida’s (AQ’s) goal of establishing a caliphate in the region by declaring the “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI), under which AQI now claims its attacks. Although Iraqis comprise at least 90 percent of the group’s membership, a disproportionate percentage of AQI’s senior leadership is foreign-born. In an attempt to give AQI a more Iraqi persona, the AQI-led ISI was created with Iraqi-national Abu Umar al-Baghdadi named its leader.
Abu Ayyub al-Masri, Zarqawi’s successor, issued a statement pledging to continue what Zarqawi began, and AQI has continued its strategy of targeting Coalition Forces, Iraqi government groups, anti-AQI Sunni tribal and security elements, and Shia civilians to provoke violence and undermine perceptions that the Iraqi central government can effectively govern. AQI has claimed joint attacks with both Ansar al-Islam (AI) and the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI); however, ideological differences have prevented these groups from merging. More recently, IAI and the 1920 Revolution Brigades cooperated with Coalition Forces in targeting AQI.
Activities: AQI’s predecessor group, led by al-Zarqawi, was established in 2003 and swiftly gained prominence, striking numerous Iraqi, Coalition, and relief agency targets such as the Red Cross. In August 2003, AQI carried out major terrorist attacks in Iraq when it bombed the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, which was followed 12 days later by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack against the UN Headquarters in Baghdad that killed 23, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. That same month the group conducted a VBIED attack against Shia worshippers outside the Imam Ali Mosque in al Najaf, killing 85, including the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
AQI conducted VBIED attacks against U.S. military personnel and Iraqi infrastructure throughout 2004, including suicide attacks inside the Green Zone perimeter in Baghdad. The group successfully penetrated the Green Zone in the October 2004 bombing of a popular café and market. It also claimed responsibility for the videotaped execution by beheading of Americans Nicholas Berg (May 11, 2004), Jack Armstrong (September 22, 2004), and Jack Hensley (September 21, 2004). AQI was likely involved in other hostage incidents as well. In 2005, AQI largely focused on conducting multiple high-profile, coordinated suicide attacks. AQI claimed numerous attacks primarily aimed against civilians, the Iraqi government, and security forces, such as the coordinated attacks against polling sites during the January elections and the coordinated VBIED attacks outside the Sheraton and Palestine hotels in Baghdad on October 24. The group also continued assassinations against Shia leaders and members of the Shia militia groups Jaysh al-Mahdi and Badr Corps.
AQI increased its external operations in 2005 by claiming credit for three attacks: suicide bomber attacks against three hotels in Amman on November 9; a rocket attack against U.S. Navy ships in the port of Aqaba in August, which resulted in limited damage in Jordan and in Eilat, Israel; and the firing of several rockets into Israel from Lebanon in December. In August 2005, an AQI operative was arrested in Turkey while planning an operation targeting Israeli cruise ships. Prior to 2005, AQI planned and conducted limited attacks in Jordan, including the assassination of USAID official Laurence Foley in 2002. AQI was implicated in the February 2006 Samarra’ al-Askari Mosque bombing that precipitated the escalation in sectarian violence.
In October 2006, AQI declared the ISI would become a platform from which AQI would launch terrorist attacks throughout the world. Following the announcement, AQI members marched through cities they considered to be part of their new state as a show of force. AQI attack claims, which the group released under the auspices of the Mujahidin Shura Council and now the ISI, increased in 2006 but decreased significantly starting in late 2007.
High-profile attacks in 2007 included the suicide car-bombing attack of a mosque in Al Habbaniyah in February; the multiple suicide bombing attack of Shia pilgrims in Al Hillah in March; several chlorine gas canister bombings from January through June; the suicide truck bombing of a market in Tall ‘Afar in March; the suicide truck bombings of a market and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party offices in Amurli and Kirkuk in July; and the multiple suicide truck bombings of two Yazidi villages near Sinjar in August – the single deadliest attack of the Iraq war.
Although a series of setbacks since late 2007 have diminished its strength, AQI remained the largest violent extremist group in Iraq. It is still capable of high profile attacks that negatively affect public perceptions of stability in Iraq. The group garnered significant media attention in 2009 with a series of high-profile bombings focused on Government of Iraq targets such as ministry buildings and police stations. Three of the biggest attacks, in April, October, and December, killed more than 380 people and injured approximately 1,500. The attacks were designed to highlight the Iraqi government’s inability to provide security in Baghdad. Prime Minister Maliki condemned the bombings as a “cowardly” attempt to “cause chaos and hinder the election” taking place at the time. This focus on fewer, better-planned attacks is evidence of the group’s shift in strategy and designed to counter its waning influence in 2008 by focusing on the Shia-led Iraqi Government in an effort to heighten sectarian tensions.
Strength: Membership is estimated at 1,000-2,000, making it the largest, most potent Sunni extremist group in Iraq. AQI perpetrates the majority of suicide and mass casualty bombings in Iraq, using foreign and Iraqi operatives. The selection of civilian targets, particularly in large urban areas, generates widespread media coverage, but garners public backlash against the group.
Location/Area of Operation: AQI’s operations are predominately Iraq-based, but it has perpetrated attacks in Jordan. The group maintains a logistical network throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, South Asia, and Europe. In Iraq, AQI currently conducts the majority of its operations in Ninawa, Diyala, Salah ad Din, and Baghdad provinces and is re-establishing its capabilities in Al Anbar.
External Aid: AQI probably receives most of its funding from a variety of businesses and criminal activities within Iraq, although it likely also receives some funds and other international extremists.
AL-QA’IDA IN THE ISLAMIC MAGHREB
aka AQIM; formerly known as Group for Call and Combat; GSPC; Le Groupe Salafiste Pour La Predication Et Le Combat; Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat
Description: The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002. The GSPC officially merged with al-Qa’ida (AQ) in September 2006 and subsequently changed its name to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in January 2007.
Despite its affiliation, AQIM remains largely a regionally-focused terrorist group. It has adopted a more anti-Western rhetoric and ideology and has aspirations of overthrowing “apostate” African regimes and creating an Islamic Caliphate. AQIM numbers under a thousand fighters and is significantly constrained by its poor finances and lack of broad general appeal to Sufi Muslims in the region. Some senior members of AQIM are former GIA insurgents.
Activities: AQIM has not been able to conduct spectacular attacks in over two years since it bombed the UN building and Algerian government buildings in 2007. AQIM continued to conduct small scale attacks and ambushes in northeastern Algeria against Algerian security forces and regularly used improvised explosive devices there. AQIM in northeastern Algeria was under significant pressure by Algerian security forces. AQIM’s goals of expanding into Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Europe have failed thus far.
AQIM factions in the northern Sahel (northern Mali, Niger and Mauritania) conduct kidnap for ransom operations and can conduct small scale attacks and ambushes on security forces there. The target for kidnap for ransom is usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of making concessions in the form of payment of money or release of operatives in custody. Last year, one citizen from the United States and the United Kingdom were murdered in Mauritania and Mali respectively.
Strength: AQIM has under a thousand fighters operating in Algeria with a smaller number in the Sahel. Abdelmalek Droukdel, aka Abu Mus’ab Abd al-Wadoud, is the leader of the group.
Location/Area of Operation: Northeastern Algeria (the Kabylie region) and northern Mali, Niger, and Mauritania. AQIM aspires to expand into Europe but its efforts to do so thus far have failed.
External Aid: Algerian expatriates and AQIM members abroad, many residing in Western Europe, provide some limited financial and logistical support. AQIM members also engage in hostage-taking for ransom and criminal activity to finance their operations.
aka RIRA; Real Irish Republican Army; 32 County Sovereignty Committee; 32 County Sovereignty Movement; Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association; Real Oglaigh Na Heireann
Description: The Real IRA (RIRA) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 16, 2001. The RIRA was formed in 1997 as the clandestine armed wing of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, a “political pressure group” dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. The RIRA also seeks to disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process and did not participate in the September 2005 weapons decommissioning. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement opposed Sinn Fein’s adoption in September 1997 of the Mitchell principles of democracy and non-violence. It also opposed the amendment in December 1999 of Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution that laid claim to Northern Ireland. Despite internal rifts and calls by some jailed members, including the group’s founder Michael “Mickey” McKevitt, for a cease-fire and disbandment, the RIRA has pledged additional violence and continued to conduct attacks.
Activities: Many RIRA members are former Provisional Irish Republican Army members who left the organization after that group renewed its cease-fire in 1997. These members brought a wealth of experience in terrorist tactics and bomb-making to the RIRA. Targets have included civilians (most notoriously in the Omagh bombing in August 1998), British security forces, police in Northern Ireland, and local Protestant communities. The RIRA’s attack in August 2002 at a London army base killed a construction worker. The RIRA continued to attract new members, and its senior members were committed to launching attacks on security forces. In November 2007, the RIRA claimed two armed attacks that wounded two Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers that same month. The RIRA claimed responsibility for a May 2008 improvised explosive device that injured a PSNI officer in Belfast and the firebombing of two stores. The Independent Monitoring Commission, which was established to oversee the peace process, assesses that RIRA members were likely responsible for the majority of the shootings and assaults that occurred in Northern Ireland in 2008. In November 2008, Lithuania arrested a RIRA member for attempting to arrange a shipment of weapons to Northern Ireland. In March 2009, the group claimed responsibility for an attack that killed two British soldiers outside a British Army barracks in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Strength: According to the Irish government, the RIRA has approximately 100 active members. The organization may receive limited support from IRA hardliners and Republican sympathizers who are dissatisfied with the IRA’s continuing cease-fire and with Sinn Fein’s involvement in the peace process. Approximately 40 RIRA members are in Irish jails.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the Irish Republic.
External Aid: The RIRA is suspected of receiving funds from sympathizers in the United States and of attempting to buy weapons from U.S. gun dealers. The RIRA also is reported to have purchased sophisticated weapons from the Balkans and also occasionally collaborates with its sister organization, the Continuity Irish Republican Army.
REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES OF COLOMBIA
aka FARC; Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia
Description: The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The FARC is Latin America’s oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped terrorist organization, and remains so in spite of recent losses at the hands of the Colombian government. It began in the early 1960s as an outgrowth of the Liberal Party-based peasant self-defense leagues, but took on Marxist ideology. Today, it only nominally fights in support of Marxist goals. The FARC is responsible for large numbers of ransom kidnappings in Colombia and in some years have held more than 700 hostages. In 2008, the FARC experienced several significant setbacks. A continuing Colombian military offensive targeting key FARC units and leaders succeeded in capturing or killing a number of FARC senior and mid-level commanders.
Activities: The FARC has carried out bombings, murder, mortar attacks, kidnapping, extortion, and hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets. The FARC has also used landmines extensively. Foreign citizens are often targets of abductions that the FARC carried out to obtain ransom and political leverage. The FARC has well-documented ties to the full range of narcotics trafficking activities, including taxation, cultivation, and distribution. Over the years, the FARC has perpetrated a large number of high profile terrorist acts, including the 1999 murder of three U.S. missionaries working in Colombia, which resulted in a U.S. indictment of the FARC in 2002. In 2001, the FARC kidnapped and killed a former Colombian minister of culture. In 2002, the group kidnapped presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt and hijacked a domestic commercial flight, kidnapping a Colombian senator on board. In 2004, the group kidnapped eight Colombian tourists at a spa in San Rafael, Antioquia Department, the mayors of Toribio, Cauca Department and Ricaurte, Narino Department. In January 2005, authorities attributed to the FARC the murder of the governor of the indigenous reserve of La Ciria in Cauca Department, and the FARC accepted responsibility for the kidnapping and death of the governor of the Kuambi Yalasbi indigenous reserve in Narino Department and a mayor in Quindio Department.
During 2005, the FARC also targeted politicians, assassinating a congressional representative from Caldas Department and four town councilors in Caqueta Department. In August 2005, a suspected FARC member shot and killed a parish priest in Tolima Department. A taped conversation of a FARC deserter indicated that a FARC commander ordered the killing. In 2007, the FARC assassinated eleven state assemblymen and executed a well-known mayor near the Pacific coast. Also, in 2007, the FARC murdered two town councilmen and another person in Caqueta. In July 2008, the Colombian military made a dramatic rescue of 15 high-value FARC hostages including three U.S. Department of Defense contractors and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.
Significant FARC attacks in 2009 included a May bombing near a police station in Valledupar, Cesar that killed two and injured 10 civilians; an August bombing in the middle of a crowded marketplace in San Vicente del Caguan, Meta that killed two and wounded 19 civilians; and a November incident in which the FARC stopped and burned a passenger bus in Barbacoas, Narino, killing four adults and two children. On November 11, FARC fighters killed nine Colombian soldiers during an offensive in a southwestern region of Colombia. In late December, the FARC kidnapped and killed the Governor of Caqueta. He was the first governor to be kidnapped since President Uribe took office in 2002.
Strength: Approximately 9,000 to 12,000 combatants, with several thousand more supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily in Colombia with some activities, such as extortion, kidnapping, weapons sourcing, and logistics in neighboring countries.
External Aid: Venezuela provided some logistical, financial, and lethal aid to the FARC. Cuba provided some medical care, safe haven, and political consultation. The FARC often used the Colombia/Venezuela, Colombia/Panama, and Colombia/Ecuador border areas for incursions into Colombia and also used Venezuelan and Ecuadorian territory for safe haven, although the degree of government acquiescence was not always clear. In 2008, based on captured computer documents, the Colombian government accused the Venezuelan government of funding and providing weapons to the FARC.
REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION 17 NOVEMBER
aka Epanastatiki Organosi 17 Noemvri; 17 November
Description: The Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. 17N is a radical leftist group established in 1975 and named for the student uprising in Greece in November 1973 that protested the ruling military junta. 17N is opposed to the Greek government, the United States, Turkey, and NATO and seeks the end of the U.S. military presence in Greece, the removal of Turkish military forces from Cyprus, and the severing of Greece’s ties to NATO and the European Union (EU).
Activities: Initial attacks consisted of assassinations of senior U.S. officials and Greek public figures. Five U.S. Embassy employees have been murdered since 17N began its terrorist activities in 1975. The group began using bombings in the 1980s. In 1990, 17N expanded its targets to include Turkish diplomats, EU facilities, and foreign firms investing in Greece; the group also added improvised rocket attacks to its methods. The group supported itself largely through bank robberies. After a failed 17N bombing attempt in June 2002 at the port of Piraeus in Athens, excellent detective work led to the arrest of 19 members. These were the first 17N operatives ever arrested and among them was a key leader of the organization. In December 2003, a Greek court convicted 15 members, five of whom were given multiple life terms while four other alleged members were acquitted for lack of evidence. In May 2007, two of the 15 convicted members were acquitted on appeal due to doubts surrounding the charges against them. The convictions of the other 13 were upheld.
Strength: Unknown but presumed to be small.
Location/Area of Operation: Athens, Greece.
External Aid: Unknown.
REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE’S LIBERATION PARTY/FRONT
aka DHKP/C; Dev Sol; Dev Sol Armed Revolutionary Units; Dev Sol Silahli Devrimci Birlikleri; Dev Sol SDB; Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi; Devrimci Sol; Revolutionary Left
Description: The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The DHKP/C originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of Dev Genc (Revolutionary Youth). It was renamed in 1994, after factional infighting. “Party” refers to the group’s political activities, while “Front” is a reference to the group’s militant operations. The group espouses a Marxist-Leninist ideology and vehemently opposes the U.S., NATO, and Turkish establishment. Its goals are the establishment of a socialist state and the abolition of harsh “F-type” Turkish prisons. DHKP/C finances its activities chiefly through donations and extortion.
Activities: Since the late 1980s, the group has primarily targeted current and retired Turkish security and military officials. It began a new campaign against foreign interests in 1990, which included attacks against U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities. In order to protest perceived U.S. imperialism during the Gulf War, Dev Sol assassinated two U.S. military contractors, wounded an Air Force officer, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, commercial, and cultural facilities. In its first significant terrorist act as DHKP/C in 1996, the group assassinated a prominent Turkish businessman and two others. The perpetrators fled to Belgium, where legal cases continue. DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its repertoire in 2001, with successful attacks against Turkish police in January and September. Since the end of 2001, DHKP/C has typically used improvised explosive devices against official Turkish targets and soft U.S. targets of opportunity. Attacks against U.S. targets beginning in 2003 were probably a response to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Operations and arrests against the group have weakened its capabilities. In late June 2004, the group was suspected of a bus bombing at Istanbul University, which killed four civilians and 21 other people. In July 2005, in Ankara, police intercepted and killed a suicide bomber who attempted to attack the Ministry of Justice. In June 2006, the group killed a police officer in Istanbul; four members of the group were arrested the next month for the attack. In June 2007, a plot to assassinate Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul by detonating an improvised explosive device as his car passed under a bridge near Izmir was only foiled when security officials noticed DHKP/C militants attaching the explosives to the bridge.
The DHKP/C was dealt a major ideological blow when Dursun Karatas, leader of the group, died in August 2008 in the Netherlands. Throughout 2008, several DHKP/C members were arrested in Turkey and Europe, and several members stood trial for previous terrorist activity. In early March, Turkish authorities arrested three DHKP/C members preparing bombings. German authorities in late July indicted a DHKP/C senior leader, and in November, German authorities arrested several individuals suspected of serving as high-ranking DHKP/C functionaries. In addition, Belgian authorities reviewed the acquittal of several DHKP/C members and began retrials to reach final judgment. After the loss of their leader, the DHKP/C used 2009 to reorganize and was reportedly competing with the Kurdistan Workers Party for influence in Turkey and Europe. In April, a female DHKP/C member conducted an unsuccessful suicide bomb attack against former Justice Minister Hikmet Turk during a visit to Bilkent University when the device failed to detonate. She then fired a gun at him but was blocked by Turk’s bodyguards. In December, a 29-year-old case against 1,243 accused members of the organization came to a close in Turkey, resulting in the handing down of 39 life sentences.
Strength: Probably several dozen terrorist operatives inside Turkey, with a limited support network throughout Europe.
Location/Area of Operation: Turkey, primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana.
External Aid: Widely believed to have training facilities or offices in Lebanon and Syria. DHKP/C raises funds in Europe.
aka RS; Epanastatikos Aghonas; EA
Description: Revolutionary Struggle (RS) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 18, 2009. RS is a radical leftist group with a Marxist ideology that has conducted attacks against both Greek and U.S. targets in Greece. RS emerged in 2003 following the arrests of members of the Greek leftist groups 17 November and Revolutionary People’s Struggle.
Activities: RS first gained notoriety when it claimed responsibility for the September 5, 2003, bombings at the Athens Courthouse during the trials of 17 November members who were later convicted. In March 2004, RS claimed responsibility for placing an improvised explosive device (IED) outside of a Citibank office in Athens. In June 2005, RS claimed responsibility for IEDs detonated in front of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. In December 2005, RS claimed responsibility for an IED attack in Syntagma Square, outside the Ministry of Economy in central Athens. RS also claimed responsibility for a failed May 2006 IED attack against then Greek Minister of Public Order George Voulgarakis.
RS claimed responsibility for the January 12, 2007 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens. A rocket propelled grenade struck the front of the Embassy, damaging the facility but causing no injuries. In 2009, RS increased the number and sophistication of its attacks on police, financial institutions, and other targets. RS successfully bombed a Citibank branch in Athens in March 2009, but failed in its vehicle-borne IED attack in February 2009 against the Citibank headquarters building in Athens. In September, RS claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack on the Athens Stock Exchange, which caused widespread damage and injured a passerby.
Strength: Unknown but presumed to be small.
Location/Area of Operation: Athens, Greece.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka SL; Sendero Luminoso; Ejercito Guerrillero Popular (People’s Guerrilla Army); EGP; Ejercito Popular de Liberacion (People’s Liberation Army); EPL; Partido Comunista del Peru (Communist Party of Peru); PCP; Partido Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui); Socorro Popular del Peru (People’s Aid of Peru); SPP
Description: Shining Path (SL) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Former university professor Abimael Guzman formed SL in Peru in the late 1960s; his teachings created the foundation of SL’s militant Maoist doctrine. SL’s stated goal is to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with a communist peasant revolutionary regime. It also opposes any influence by foreign governments. In the 1980s, SL became one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere. The Peruvian government made dramatic gains against SL during the 1990s, capturing Guzman in 1992 and killing a large number of militants. More recently, SL members have attempted to influence the local populace through indoctrination. SL responded to the government’s stepped up counterterrorism efforts with a series of bloody counterattacks in late 2008 and throughout 2009.
Activities: In the past, SL has conducted indiscriminate bombing campaigns, ambushes, and selective assassinations. However, in the past five years, SL activities have included intimidation of U.S.-sponsored nongovernmental organizations involved in counternarcotics efforts, the ambushing of counternarcotics helicopters, and attacks against Peruvian police perpetrated in conjunction with narcotics traffickers. For example, in 2005, SL targeted the U.S.-Peruvian counternarcotics program by ambushing and murdering three highway police officers, attacking three counter narcotics helicopters, and killing three police officers with an electronically-detonated explosive device. Also in 2005, SL kidnapped 10 Peruvian employees of a USAID economic development contractor in the Huallaga valley region. SL released all of the hostages but reportedly threatened to kill them if they returned to the area.
In 2008, SL killed at least 34 people and conducted over 64 attacks in remote coca growing areas. In one of its most devastating attacks, on October 10, 2008, Peru’s military command said a bomb killed 12 soldiers and seven civilians in the country’s southeastern mountains. In April 2009, SL fired rocket propelled grenades at the helicopter carrying the chief of the Peruvian armed forces and several other high-ranking officers. The helicopter was on its way to the town of Sanabamba, where SL killed 14 soldiers in ambushes earlier that month. In early September 2009, SL shot down an MI-17 helicopter operated by Peru’s Air Force in the country’s main coca-growing region, killing three members of the military and wounding five.
Strength: Unknown but estimated to be between 300 and 500 armed militants.
Location/Area of Operation: Peru, with most activity in rural areas, specifically the Huallaga Valley, the Ene River, and the Apurimac Valley of central Peru.
External Aid: None.
UNITED SELF-DEFENSE FORCES OF COLOMBIA
aka AUC; Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia
Description: The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 10, 2001. The AUC, commonly referred to as the paramilitaries, was formed in April 1997. AUC was designed to serve as an umbrella group for loosely affiliated, illegal paramilitary groups retaliating against leftist guerillas, which in turn were fighting the Colombian government and the landed establishment. However, as the Colombian government increasingly confronted Foreign Terrorist Organizations including the AUC, the group’s counter-guerilla activities decreased. After a large-scale demobilization process, most of the AUC’s centralized military structure had been dismantled, and all of the top paramilitary chiefs had stepped down. Despite AUC’s overall demobilization, the group’s Cacique Pipinta Front refused to demobilize. The Cacique Pipinta Front was described as being engaged in a struggle with the FARC for political and territorial control of the western Colombian region of Caldas, and is still considered a risk to the political stability of the Embera Chami region of Colombia. According to the Office of the Colombian Ombudsman, the Cacique Pipinta Front has coordinated criminal gangs and hired guns to seize land, accumulate capital, and maintain a hold on power in Caldas and Embera Chami.
Activities: The AUC has carried out political killings and kidnappings of, among others, human rights workers, journalists, teachers, and trade unionists. As much as 70 percent of the AUC’s paramilitary operational costs were financed with drug-related earnings. Some former members of the AUC never demobilized or are recidivists, and these elements have continued to engage heavily in criminal activities.
Location/Areas of Operation: Paramilitary forces were strongest in northwest Colombia in Antioquia, Cordoba, Sucre, Atlantico, Magdelena, Cesar, La Guajira, and Bolivar Departments, with affiliate groups in the coffee region, Valle del Cauca, and Meta Department.
External Aid: None.
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