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.
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)
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI)
Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
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 (HUJI)
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)
Palestine Islamic Jihad – Shaqaqi Faction (PIJ)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
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)
Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
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. In August 2002, Abu Nidal died in Baghdad. Present leadership of the organization remains unclear. ANO advocates the elimination of Israel and has sought to derail diplomatic 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 or 2010.
Strength: Current strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group has not launched an attack in recent years, although former and current ANO associates are presumed present in 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
Description: The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. ASG is the most violent of the terrorist groups operating in the southern Philippines and claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, though the goals of the group appear to have vacillated over time between criminal objectives and a more ideological intent. The group split from the much larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the early 1990s under the leadership of Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who was later 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 engages 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. 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 10 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, the ASG bombed SuperFerry 14 in Manila Bay, killing at least 116 people, making this one of the most destructive acts of maritime violence to date. In March 2004, Philippine authorities arrested an ASG cell whose bombing targets included the U.S. Embassy in Manila. 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 that resulted in the killing of ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani in September 2006 and his deputy, Abu Solaiman in January 2007. 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.
The group increased its activities in 2010, which included multiple attacks on civilians, humanitarian organizations, a church, and military and police personnel. There were six reported kidnapping incidents targeting Christians and other civilians. ASG’s most complex attack occurred on the island of Basilan in April 2010 when the group launched a synchronized assault including the use of a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) which resulted in at least 11 deaths and 10 injured. In the attack, armed operatives detonated two VBIEDs and fired weapons at several targets. A third improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a judge was later disarmed by police. There is an alarming trend of indiscriminate ASG attacks directed at civilians as exemplified by the February 2010 shooting that resulted in at least 11 deaths in a small village in the island of Basilan. In December 2010, Madhatta Asagal Haipe, a founding member of Abu Sayyaf, was extradited to the United States and sentenced in U.S. District Court, Washington, DC, to 23 years in prison for his role in a 1995 kidnapping of U.S. citizens.
Strength: ASG is estimated to have approximately 200 to 400 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 leadership in mid-2005.
External Aid: The ASG is funded through kidnappings and extortion, and may receive funding from external sources such as remittances from overseas Filipino workers and Middle East-based extremists. The ASG also receives funding from regional terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiya (JI), whose operatives have provided training to ASG members and helped to facilitate several ASG terrorist attacks. 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 in order to establish a Palestinian state loyal to the 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. After the June 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza, al-Aqsa Martyrs cells in Gaza stepped up rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. In 2010, AAMB launched numerous rocket attacks on communities in Israel, including the city of Sederot and areas of the Negev desert. Al-Aqsa has not pursued a policy of targeting U.S. interests as a policy, although its anti-Israeli attacks have killed dual U.S.-Israeli citizens.
Strength: A few hundred members.
Location/Area of Operation: Most of al-Aqsa’s operational activity is in Gaza but the group also planned 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.
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 and originally consisted of members 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: AQ is the most significant terrorist threat to the United States and it developed stronger relationships with its affiliates in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe in 2010. AQ, its allies, and those inspired by the group were involved 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 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 the last into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – leaving over 3,000 individuals dead or missing.
In November 2002, AQ carried out a 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. Bin Ladin’s deputy al-Zawahiri claimed responsibility on behalf of AQ for the July 7, 2005 attacks against the London public transportation system. AQ likely played a role in the 2006 failed plot to destroy several commercial aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States using liquid explosives.
The Government of Pakistan accused AQ, along with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), 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. The Government of Pakistan stated that Baitullah Mehsud, a now-deceased TTP leader with close ties to AQ, was responsible for Bhutto’s December 27, 2007 assassination.
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 U.S. lawful permanent resident, was charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, to commit murder in a foreign country, and with providing material support to a terrorist organization as part of an AQ plot to attack the New York subway system. Zazi later admitted to contacts with AQ senior leadership, suggesting they had knowledge of his plans. In February 2010, Zazi pled guilty to charges in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. U.S. officials have described the alleged bombing plot as one of the most serious terrorist threats to the United States since the 9/11 attacks.
Strength: AQ’s organizational strength is difficult to determine in the aftermath of extensive counterterrorism efforts since 9/11. The arrests and deaths of mid-level and senior AQ operatives have disrupted communication, financial, facilitation nodes, and a number of 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 Union, Lashkar i Jhangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahadin, the Taliban, and Jemaah Islamiya. TTP also has strengthened its ties to AQ.
Location/Area of Operation: AQ was based in Afghanistan until Coalition Forces removed the Taliban from power in late 2001. Since then, they have resided in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. AQ has a number of regional affiliates, including al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb.
External Aid: AQ primarily depends on donations from like-minded supporters as well as from individuals who believe that their money is supporting a humanitarian 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 THE ARABIAN PENINSULA
aka al-Qa’ida in the South Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida in Yemen, al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida Organization in the Arabian Peninsula, Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Jazirat al-Arab, AQAP, AQY
Description: Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 19, 2010. In January 2009, the leader of al-Qa’ida in Yemen (AQY), Nasir al-Wahishi, publicly announced that Yemeni and Saudi al-Qa’ida operatives were working together under the banner of AQAP. This announcement signaled the rebirth of an al-Qa’ida franchise that carried out attacks under this name in Saudi Arabia between 2004 and 2006. AQAP’s self-stated goals include establishing a caliphate in the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Middle East as well as implementing Sharia law.
Activities: AQAP has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against both internal and foreign targets since its inception in January 2009. Attempted attacks against foreign targets include a March 2009 suicide bombing against South Korean tourists in Yemen, the August 2009 attempt to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayif, and the December 25, 2009 attempted attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan. AQAP was responsible for an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the British Ambassador in April 2010 and a failed attempt to target a British embassy vehicle with a rocket in October. Also in October 2010, AQAP claimed responsibility for a foiled plot to send explosive-laden packages to the United States via cargo plane. The parcels were intercepted in the United Kingdom and in United Arab Emirates.
Strength: AQAP is estimated to have several hundred members.
Location/Area of Operation: Yemen
External Aid: AQAP primarily depends on donations from like-minded supporters.
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 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 17, 2004. In the 1990s, Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant, organized a terrorist 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-Qa’ida and pledged allegiance to Usama bin Ladin. After this al-Tawhid wal-Jihad became known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), and al-Zarqawi was given the al-Qa’ida title, „Emir of al-Qa’ida in the Country of Two Rivers.”
In January 2006, in an attempt to unify Sunni extremists 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 2006, 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. Iraqis comprise over 90 percent of the group’s membership. While a disproportionate percentage of AQI’s senior leadership was foreign-born earlier in the organizational history, today AQI leadership is predominantly Iraqi. 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. Al-Baghdadi and AQI’s other top leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri were killed in a raid in April 2010, after which AQI subsequently named Abu Baker al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi as ISI’s head and Abu Ibrahim al-Issawi as his Minister of War.
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. Since its founding, AQI has conducted high profile attacks, including improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against U.S. military personnel and Iraqi infrastructure throughout 2004, videotaped beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg (May 11, 2004), Jack Armstrong (September 22, 2004), and Jack Hensley (September 21, 2004), suicide bomber attacks against both military and civilian targets, and rocket attacks. AQI perpetrates the majority of suicide and mass casualty bombings in Iraq, using foreign and Iraqi operatives.
AQI, acting through its front organization ISI, was highly active in 2010, perpetrating almost daily attacks on Coalition forces, Iraqi civilian targets, and military assets. Many of these attacks had significant casualty counts. For example, on October 31 and November 2, 2010 alone, ISI attacked locations in Baghdad using mortars, VBIEDs, and IEDs, resulting in 122 deaths and 430 wounded. In all, ISI either claimed responsibility for, or was suspected of, being responsible for almost 350 attacks inside Iraq in 2010.
Strength: Membership is estimated at 1,000-2,000, making it the largest, most potent Sunni extremist group in Iraq.
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 working to re-establish its capabilities in Al Anbar.
External Aid: AQI probably receives most of its funding from a variety of businesses and criminal activities within Iraq.
AL-QA’IDA IN THE ISLAMIC MAGHREB
aka AQIM; 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. After the GSPC officially merged with al-Qa’ida (AQ) in September 2006 the organization became known as al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On February 20, 2008, the Department of State amended the GSPC designation to reflect the change and made AQIM the official name for the organization. Some senior members of AQIM are former Armed Islamic Group (GIA) insurgents. 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 in the region. Abdelmalek Droukdel, aka Abu Mus’ab Abd al-Wadoud, is the leader of the group.
Activities: In 2007, AQIM bombed the UN building and an Algerian government building just outside of Algiers killing over 60 people. In 2008 and 2009, even as it was under significant pressure by Algerian security forces, AQIM continued to conduct small scale attacks and ambushes in northeastern Algeria against Algerian security forces and regularly used improvised explosive devices there. In June 2010, an AQIM attack resulted in the death of 11 Algerian soldiers and the kidnapping of a customs official who was later executed by the organization. Also in June, AQIM was responsible for a detonation of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) at a police checkpoint, which resulted in the death of seven national police officers and three civilians. In Niger, the group conducted its first vehicle-borne suicide attack in March and in August used similar tactics in an attack on a Mauritanian military base. In total, AQIM attacks in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger resulted in the deaths of over 80 people in 2010.
AQIM factions in the northern Sahel (northern Mali, Niger, and Mauritania) conducted kidnap for ransom operations and conducted small scale attacks and ambushes on security forces. The targets for kidnap for ransom are usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of making concessions in the form of ransom payments or the release of operatives in custody. In April 2010, AQIM kidnapped French aid worker Michel Germaneau in Niger, later moving him to Mali. In July, Germaneau was killed in retaliation for the death of six AQIM operatives during a failed attempt by France and Mauritania to free him. In September, AQIM claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of seven people, including five French nationals working at a mine in Niger. At year’s end, the hostages had not been released.
Strength: AQIM has under a thousand fighters operating in Algeria with a smaller number in the Sahel.
Location/Area of Operation: Northeastern Algeria (including but not limited to the Kabylie region) and northern Mali, Niger, and Mauritania.
External Aid: Algerian expatriates and AQIM members abroad, many residing in Western Europe, provide limited financial and logistical support. AQIM members engage in hostage-taking for ransom and criminal activity to finance their operations.
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 was the militant wing of the former Somali Islamic Courts Council that took over parts of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. In December 2006 and January 2007, Ethiopian forces routed the Islamic Court militias in a two-week war, which became a protracted insurgency over the next two years. Since the end of 2006, al-Shabaab and disparate clan militias have led a violent insurgency using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. Several senior al-Shabaab leaders have publicly proclaimed loyalty to AQ. These leaders founded and supported a number of training camps in southern Somalia for young national and international recruits to al-Shabaab. In some camps, AQ-affiliated foreign fighters often led the training and indoctrination of the recruits. Rank and file militia fighters from multiple clan and sub-clan factions that are aligned with al-Shabaab are predominantly interested in indigenous issues. In January 2010, the organization announced its support for militants in Yemen. In December, despite past clashes over territory, al-Shabaab entered into a tenuous merger with a severely weakened, nearly defunct faction of Hizbul Islam, another clan-based insurgent group fighting against the TFG.
Activities: Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government, forcibly recruit new fighters, and 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 African Union troops and TFG officials. 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 conducted violent attacks and targeted assassinations against international aid workers and nongovernmental organizations. During 2010, al-Shabaab carried out multiple attacks, including a number in Mogadishu against the TFG and African Union Mission in Somalia. Among the most deadly were a series of attacks in March, which killed at least 60 people and wounded 160 more; and a string of attacks in late August, which killed at least 87 people and wounded 148. Also in August, al-Shabaab suicide bombers entered the Muna Hotel in Mogadishu and killed 31 people, including six members of parliament and four other government officials, when they detonated their explosives on the roof of the hotel. In the organization’s first attack outside of Somalia, al-Shabaab was responsible for the July 11 suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda during the World Cup, which killed nearly 80 people, including one American citizen. In total, al-Shabaab is estimated to be responsible the death of over 900 people in 2010.
Location/Area of Operation: 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 bold attacks in Mogadishu and other outlying areas, primarily in South-Central Somalia, causing the organization’s area of control to expand in 2010. In May, al-Shabaab launched a major offensive in Mogadishu, gaining control over parts of the capital. Al-Shabaab – by understanding the historical conflict between the Ogadeni and Marehan sub-clans of the Darood – gained primary control over the southern port 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. Furthermore, July’s attack in Uganda demonstrates al-Shabaab’s desire to expand operations outside of Somalia.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown, but al-Shabaab is estimated to have several thousand members when augmented by foreign fighters and allied clan militias.
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 was 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, especially in Kismayo.
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) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 22, 2004. It’s goals include expelling the western interests from Iraq and establishing an independent Iraqi state based on Sharia law. 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. AI has ties to al-Qa’ida (AQ) 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.
Activities: AI has conducted attacks against a wide range of targets including Iraqi government and security forces, and U.S. and Coalition forces. 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. The group has either claimed responsibility or was believed responsible for a total of 13 attacks in 2010 that killed 15 and wounded at least 39. On January 7, six Iraqi civilians, including a child, were killed along with one Iraqi police officer in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in al-Anbar Province, Iraq, for which AI was believed responsible. On May 17 and 18, seven Iraqi civilians died in IED attacks in Mosul and Baghdad for which AI claimed responsibility.
Strength: Although precise numbers are unknown, AI is considered 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. .
aka Asbat al-Ansar; Band of Helpers; Band of Partisans; League of Partisans; League of the Followers; God’s Partisans; 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. Asbat al-Ansar’s leader, Ahmad Abd al-Karim al-Sa’di, a.k.a. Abu Muhjin, remained at large despite being sentenced to death in absentia for the 1994 murder of a Muslim cleric.
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. The group has also plotted against foreign diplomatic targets. 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. Asbat al-Ansar-associated elements have been implicated in Katyusha rocket attacks against Israel occurring in December 2005 and June 2007.
Asbat al-Ansar has no formal ties to the AQ network, but the group shares AQ’s ideology and has publicly proclaimed its support for al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Members of the group have traveled to Iraq since 2005 to fight Coalition Forces. Asbat al-Ansar has been reluctant to involve itself in operations in Lebanon due in part to concerns over losing its safe haven in Ain al-Hilwah. However, according to the Lebanese press, a woman was killed by a rocket propelled grenade on February 15, 2010 during a clash between Asbat al-Ansar and another militant group in Ain al-Hilwah.
Strength: The group has fewer than 2,000 members, mostly of Palestinian descent.
Location/Area of Operation: The group’s primary base of operations is the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon. The group is also present in Iraq where the group has engaged in fighting U.S. forces.
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 in Japan as a religious entity in 1989. The Japanese government revoked its recognition of Aum as a religious organization following Aum’s deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo in March 1995. Despite claims of renunciation of violence and Ashara’s teachings, members of the group continue to adhere to the violent and apocalyptic teachings of its founder.
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. In February 2010, the death sentence for senior Aum member Tomomitsu Miimi was finalized by Japan’s Supreme Court. This would bring the number of Aum members on death row for their crimes related to the sarin gas attack to 10.
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 its 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 2009, Aum Shinrikyo/Aleph membership in Japan is approximately 1,500 with another 200 in Russia. The study said that Aum maintained 31 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.
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: Funding primarily comes from member contributions.
BASQUE FATHERLAND AND LIBERTY
aka ETA, Askatasuna; Batasuna; Ekin; Euskal Herritarrok; Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna; Herri Batasuna; Jarrai-Haika-Segi; 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. In 2010, Batasuna continued to try to participate in regional politics and splits between parts of ETA became publicly apparent in deciding a way forward. 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, businessman, politicians, judicial figures, and security and military forces, but the group also targeted journalists and tourist areas. The group is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians and members of the armed forces or police 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.
Between 2007 and 2010, more than 400 ETA members were arrested. Since 2008, Spanish and French authorities have apprehended six of ETA’s top leaders, and have seized ETA arms caches containing more than 800 kilos of explosives, 15 complete limpet bombs, and weapons and ammunition. Despite these law enforcement efforts, ETA has continued to carry out attacks resulting in extensive damage and casualties.
In March 2010, a Spanish judge charged ETA and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia members of terrorist plots, including a plan to assassinate Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. On March 16, ETA claimed responsibility for killing a police officer outside of Paris, France. In August, a suspected ETA supporter in the Basque Country injured two police officers in an arson attack. In September, a small improvised bomb went off in an industrial zone of Vitoria, the Basque capital, with no reports of injuries. Police suspected an ETA support group planted the bomb despite an ETA ceasefire announced 11 days earlier.
Strength: ETA’s exact strength is unknown, but current estimates by Spanish authorities and scholars put membership between approximately 100-300 operational personnel.
Location/Area of Operation: ETA operated primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, but has attacked Spanish and French interests elsewhere. Most recently, ETA safe houses have been identified and raided in Portugal.
External Aid: ETA financed its activities primarily through bribery and extortion of Basque businesses. In the past, it has received training in Libya and Lebanon, although there is no indication that such training continues. Some ETA members have allegedly fled to Cuba and Mexico, while others reside in South America.
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 refused 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, the 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, the CPP/NPA issued a press statement taking credit for the ambush and murder of Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.
In 2010, the CPP/NPA’s attacks continued unabated. Most notably, 40 CPP/NPA guerillas ambushed an army convoy escorting election officials on May 11 in the Compostela Valley, an attack that culminated in five deaths. On June 25, the Philippine government arrested Renelo Creita for allegedly masterminding the May 11 attack. On August 21, 40 CPP/NPA assailants launched a synchronized landmine improvised explosive device and light arms attack against a police vehicle that resulted in nine deaths in Cataman, Philippines.
Strength: The Philippines government estimated there are approximately 5,000 members.
Location/Area of Operations: The CPP/NPA operates in rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are 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. On April 3, 2010, authorities defused a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Crossmaglen, Northern Ireland for which CIRA claimed responsibility.
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.
External Aid: CIRA supported its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.
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 group, 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). In 2010, 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’s spiritual leader, Sheik Umar Abd al-Rahman, is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Supporters of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman still remain a possible threat to U.S. interests and have called for reprisal attacks in case of his death in prison.
Activities: In the 1990s, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security and other government officials and Coptic Christians. IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group also launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack. IG did not launch any attacks in 2010.
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 and the 1999 cease-fire, along with 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, and France. IG terrorist presence in Egypt was minimal due to the reconciliation efforts of former local members.
External Aid: IG 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 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 has conducted attacks against Israeli 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 Israeli Defense Forces 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, after Hamas took control of Gaza from the PA and Fatah, an international boycott was imposed along with the 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. In June 2008, Hamas agreed to a six-month cease-fire with Israel and temporarily halted all rocket attacks emanating from Gaza 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 Gaza in August 2008. Hamas also claimed responsibility for driving a vehicle into a crowd in Jerusalem, 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 Gaza 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 Gaza. Hamas carried out multiple rocket attacks on Israel in 2009 but was relatively inactive in 2010. In September 2010, Hamas claimed responsibility for carrying out a series of drive-by shootings in the West Bank that killed four Israelis near Hebron.
Strength: Hamas is believed to have several thousand Gaza-based operatives with varying degrees of skills in its armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, along with its reported 9,000-person Hamas-led paramilitary group known as the “Executive Force.”
Location/Area of Operation: Hamas has a presence in every major city in the Palestinian territories. The group retains a cadre of leaders and facilitators that conduct diplomatic, fundraising, and arms-smuggling activities in Lebanon, Syria, and other states. Hamas also increased its presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, probably with the goal of eclipsing Fatah’s long-time dominance of the camps.
External Aid: Hamas receives the majority of its funding, weapons, and training from Iran. In addition, the group raises funds in the Persian Gulf countries and 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.
HARAKAT-UL JIHAD ISLAMI
aka HUJI, Movement of Islamic Holy War, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, Harkat-al-Jihad-ul Islami, Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami, Harakat ul Jihad-e-Islami,Harakat-ul Jihad Islami.
Description: Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on August 6, 2010. HUJI was founded in 1980 in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Union. Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the organization re-focused its efforts on India. HUJI seeks the annexation of Indian Kashmir and expulsion of Coalition Forces from Afghanistan. In addition, some factions of HUJI espouse a more global agenda and conduct attacks in Pakistan as well. HUJI is composed of militant Pakistanis and veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war. It has also supplied fighters for the Taliban in Afghanistan. HUJI has experienced a number of internal splits and a portion of the group has aligned with al-Qa’ida (AQ) in recent years, including training its members in AQ training camps.
Activities: HUJI has been involved in a number of terrorist attacks in recent years. On March 2, 2006, a HUJI leader was the mastermind behind the suicide bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, which killed four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy, and injured 48 others. HUJI is also responsible for terrorist attacks in India including the May 2007 Hyderabad mosque attack, which killed 16 and injured 40, and the March 2007 Varanasi attack, which killed 25 and injured 100. In January 2009, a U.S. District Court indicted HUJI and AQ leader Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri for conspiracy to murder and maim and for providing material support for terrorism in connection with an attack against the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Denmark.
Strength: HUJI has an estimated strength of several hundred members located in Kashmir and Pakistan.
Location/Area of Operations: HUJI’s area of operation extends throughout South Asia, with its terrorist operations focused primarily in India and Afghanistan. Some factions of HUJI conduct attacks within Pakistan.
External Aid: HUJI’s access to resources is unknown.
aka HUJI-B, 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. HUJI-B has connections to the Pakistani militant groups such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT), which advocates similar objectives. The leaders of HUJI-B signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Usama bin Ladin that declared American civilians legitimate targets for attack.
Activities: 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. In December 2010, five leaders of HUJI-B were arrested in a raid on a training camp in Bangladesh. The detained HUJI-B members admitted to running the training camp, and authorities seized explosives, grenades, and bomb-making manuals in the raid.
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 and India. HUJI-B trains and has a network of madrassas in Bangladesh.
External Aid: HUJI-B funding comes from a variety of sources. Several international Islamic non-governmental organizations may have funneled money to HUJI-B and other Bangladeshi militant groups. HUJI-B also draws funding from local militant madrassa leaders and teachers.
aka HUM; Harakat ul-Ansar; HUA; Jamiat ul-Ansar; JUA; 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 seeks the annexation of Indian Kashmir and expulsion of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. 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 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. Another former member of Harakat ul-Ansar, Ahmed Omar Sheik was also released by India as a result of the hijackings 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 and 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. Hizballah shares a close relationship with Syria, and like Iran, the group is helping advance its Syrian objectives in the region. It has strong influence in Lebanon, especially with the 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 was also 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, separately, kidnapped an Israeli non-combatant in Dubai. Although the non-combatant survived, on November 1, 2001, Israeli army rabbi Israel Weiss pronounced the soldiers dead. The surviving non-combatant, as well as the bodies of the IDF soldiers, were returned to Israel in a prisoner exchange with Hizballah on January 29, 2004.
Since at least 2004, Hizballah has provided training to select Iraqi Shia militants, including om the construction and use of shaped charge improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that can penetrate heavily-armored vehicles. Senior Hizballah operative, Ali Mussa Daqduq, was captured in Iraq in 2007 while facilitating Hizballah training of Iraqi Shia militants attacking U.S. and coalition forces. When captured, Daqduq had detailed documents that discussed tactics to attack Iraqi and coalition forces. In July 2006, Hizballah attacked an Israeli Army patrol, kidnapping two soldiers and killing three, starting a conflict with Israel that lasted into August.
Senior Hizballah officials have repeatedly vowed retaliation for the February 2008 killing in Damascus of Imad Mughniyah, Hizballah’s military and terrorism chief, who was suspected of involvement in many attacks. Rawi Sultani was arrested in 2009 for providing targeting information to Hizballah on the Israeli Defense Chief of Staff.
The group’s willingness to engage in violence and its increasing stockpile of weapons continues to threaten stability in the region. In a two-week period in May 2008, Hizballah’s armed takeover of West Beirut – which occurred after the Lebanese government announced its plan to remove Hizballah’s telephone network – resulted in more than 60 deaths. Egyptian authorities in late 2008 disrupted a Hizballah cell that was charged with planning to attack Israeli interests including tourists in the Sinai Peninsula, and Israeli ships passing through the Suez Canal. The network was also engaged in smuggling weapons, supplies, and people through tunnels to Gaza. Twenty-six men belonging to this Hizballah cell were convicted in April 2010. 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: Several thousands of supporters and members.
Location/Area of Operation: Operates in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon.
External Aid: Hizballah receives training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, monetary, and organizational aid from Iran; and training, weapons, diplomatic, and political support from Syria. Hizballah also receives funding from private donations and profits from legal and illegal businesses. Hizballah also receives financial support from Lebanese Shia communities in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia.
ISLAMIC JIHAD UNION
aka Islomiy Jihod Ittihodi; 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. The group opposes secular rule in Uzbekistan and seek to replace it with a government based on Islamic law.
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 at a popular bazaar, killing approximately 47 people, including 33 IJU members, some of whom were suicide bombers. In July 2004, the group carried out near-simultaneous suicide bombings of the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s office and the U.S. and Israeli Embassies in Tashkent. In September 2007, German authorities disrupted an IJU plot by detaining three IJU operatives, including two German citizens. The operatives had acquired over 1,500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide and an explosives precursor stockpiled in a garage in southern Germany. The materials were thought to have been used in multiple car bomb attacks in Western Europe including at Frankfurt International Airport and U.S. military installations such as Ramstein Air Base. 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. It also claimed responsibility for two May 2009 attacks in Uzbekistan. In 2010, the Government of Kazakhstan arrested dozens of suspected IJU members, who were plotting attacks against western interests in the country. There were also reports of IJU members arrested in Uzbekistan and Pakistan. The IJU remained active in Germany, where they have made inroads, are recruiting locals, and have been planning attacks within Europe.
Location/Area of Operation: IJU members are scattered throughout Central Asia, Europe Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
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 coalition 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. For most of the past decade, however, the group has focused on fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IMU has a relationship with the Taliban and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan.
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. In late 2009, NATO forces reported an increase in IMU-affiliated foreign fighters in Afghanistan. Government authorities in Russia arrested three suspected IMU-affiliated extremists in November 2009. In 2010, the IMU continued to fight in Afghanistan and the group claimed credit for the September 19 ambush that killed 25 Tajik troops in Tajikistan.
Strength: Several hundred members.
Location/Area of Operation: IMU militants are located in South Asia, Central Asia, and Iran.
External Aid: The IMU receives support from a large Uzbek diaspora, terrorist organizations, and donors from 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 annex Indian Kashmir and expel Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, and it has openly declared war against the United States. 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. In March 2010, five JEM members recruiting for operations in India were arrested in Bangladesh.
Activities: JEM continues to operate openly in parts of Pakistan despite the 2002 ban on its activities. 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. In 2002, Pakistani authorities arrested and convicted a JEM member for the abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. 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 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. In 2010, JEM used flooding in Pakistan as an excuse to illegally raise funds for terrorist activity.
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.
Location/Area of Operation: Pakistan, particularly southern Punjab; Afghanistan; Bangladesh; and Kashmir.
External Aid: 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.
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 and al-Qa’ida associate Hambali, have been captured since 2002. 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.
Since 2006, many high profile JI operatives have been either captured or killed. These include the 2006 arrests of several members connected to JI’s 2005 suicide attack in Bali, 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 JI-splinter group leader Noordin Mohammad Top in a police raid. Progress against JI continued in 2010 when a crackdown on JI’s base in Aceh, Indonesia resulted in the capture of over 60 militants and led authorities to JI leader Dulmatin, one of the masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombing. Dulmatin was killed in March outside of Jakarta. In June, wanted JI commander Abdullah Sunata was captured while planning to bomb the Danish Embassy in Jakarta. In August JI co-founder Abu Bakar Bashir was arrested while planning multiple attacks in Jakarta. In December, JI weapons expert Abu Tholut was also captured by Indonesian police.
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., Israeli, British, and Australian diplomatic facilities 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. 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. In 2010, JI continued to threaten attacks in Southeast Asia and in March suspected JI operatives also killed three police officers and one civilian during a raid on a terrorist camp.
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 People’s Resistance Movement of Iran (PMRI); Jonbesh-i Moqavemat-i-Mardom-i Iran; Popular Resistance Movement of Iran; Soldiers of God; Fedayeen-e-Islam; Former Jundallah of Iran; Jundullah; Jondullah; Jundollah; Jondollah; Jondallah; Army of God (God’s Army); Baloch Peoples Resistance Movement (BPRM)
Description: Jundallah was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on November 4, 2010. Since its inception in 2003, Jundallah, a violent extremist organization that operates primarily in the province of Sistan va Balochistan of Iran, has engaged in numerous attacks resulting in the death and maiming of scores of Iranian civilians and government officials. Jundallah’s stated goals are to secure recognition of Balochi cultural, economic, and political rights from the government of Iran and to spread awareness of the plight of the Baloch situation through violent and nonviolent means. In October 2007, Amnesty International reported that Jundallah has by its own admission, carried out gross abuses such as hostage-taking, the killing of hostages, and attacks against non-military targets.
Activities: In March 2006, Jundallah attacked a motorcade in eastern Iran, which included the deputy head of the Iranian Red Crescent Security Department, who was taken hostage. More than 20 people were killed in the attack. The governor of Zahedan, his deputy, and five other officials were wounded, and seven others were kidnapped in the attack. In May 2006, Jundallah barricaded a road in Kerman province and killed 11 civilians and burned four vehicles. The assailants then killed another civilian and wounded a child by firing at a passing vehicle. In 2007, Jundallah killed 18 border guards on the Iranian-Afghan border. Jundallah seized 16 Iranian police officers near the border with Pakistan in 2008. When the Iranian government refused to release 200 Jundallah prisoners in exchange for the hostages, Jundallah killed them. In May 2009, Jundallah attacked the crowded Shiite Amir al-Mo’menin mosque in Zahedan, destroying the mosque and killing and wounding numerous worshipers. An October 2009 suicide bomb attack in a marketplace in the city of Pishin in the Sistan va Balochistan province, which killed more than 40 people, was reportedly the deadliest terrorist attack in Iran since the 1980s. In a statement on its website, Jundallah claimed responsibility for the December 15, 2010 suicide bomb attack inside the Iman Hussein Mosque in Chabahar, which killed an estimated 35 to 40 civilians with 60-100 wounded. In July 2010, Jundallah attacked the Grand Mosque in Zahedan, killing approximately 30 and injuring an estimated 300.
Strength: Reports of Jundallah membership vary widely from 500 to 2000.
Location/Area of Operation: Throughout Sistan va Balochistan province in southeastern Iran and the greater Balochistan area of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
External Aid: Unknown
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. 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 group’s statements in support of Baruch Goldstein’s February 1994 attack on the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and its 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 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.
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.
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 extremist ideology that has conducted attacks against Iraqi, U.S., and Coalition targets in Iraq. KH has threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians that support the legitimate political process in Iraq. The group is notable for its extensive use of media operations and propaganda by filming and releasing videos of attacks. KH has ideological ties to Lebanese Hizballah and may have received support from that group and that group’s sponsor, Iran.
Activities: KH has been responsible for numerous violent terrorist attacks since 2007, including improvised explosive device bombings, rocket propelled grenade attacks, and sniper operations. 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 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, Abrams tanks, and Bradley armored personnel carriers. In 2009, KH continued to record and distribute via the internet videos of attacks ranging in date from 2006 to 2008.
The group’s activities continued into 2010. In February, a firefight between U.S. and Coalition forces and suspected KH militants resulted in 12 arrests. In July, U.S. Army General Ray Odierno cited KH as the reason behind increased security at some U.S. bases in Iraq. General Odierno also said that Iran continued to support KH with weapons and training.
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 receives support from Iran and 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’s original goal was to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, but in recent years it 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.
Activities: Primary targets have been Turkish government security forces, local Turkish officials, and villagers who oppose the organization in Turkey. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, PKK violence killed or injured hundreds of Turks.
In an attempt to damage Turkey’s tourist industry, the PKK has bombed tourist sites and hotels and kidnapped foreign tourists. PKK activity was lower in 2009, but was still a constant throughout the year. The group either claimed responsibility for or was believed responsible for at least 21 attacks in 2010. In September, the PKK was believed responsible for detonating an explosive device near a bus that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, and wounded 14 others.
Strength: Approximately 4,000 to 5,000, of which 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: Operated 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; Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; FiF; Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation; Falah-e-Insaniyat; Falah-i-Insaniyat; Falah Insania; Welfare of Humanity; Humanitarian Welfare Foundation; Human Welfare Foundation
Description: Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on December 26, 2001. LT is one of the largest and most proficient of the traditionally Kashmir-focused militant groups. It has the ability to severely disrupt already delicate regional relations. LT formed in the late 1980s 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 LT in January 2002 and JUD in 2008 following the Mumbai attack. LT and 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. The Indian government publicly implicated LT, along with JEM, for the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament building. Indian governmental officials hold LT responsible for the July 2006 train attack in Mumbai, and multiple attacks in 2005 and 2006. 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.
LT conducted the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai against luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a 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 alleged attacker Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was captured at the scene. While most of those charged are at large and thought to be in Pakistan, Kasab was sentenced to death for his involvement in the Mumbai massacre. His case is currently on appeal before the Bombay High Court. In March 2010, Pakistani-American businessman David Headley pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to crimes relating to his role in the November 2008 LT attacks in Mumbai as well as to crimes relating to a separate plot to bomb the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
In 2010, LT kept a relatively low profile and confined its operations largely to Afghanistan and the Kashmir region. LT was suspected of an attack that took place on February 26 in Kabul, when two suicide bombers detonated improvised explosive devices and other assailants fired small arms and detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device targeting downtown hotels. The attack killed 14 civilians (nine Indian; four Afghan; one French), three police officers, two Indian soldiers, and one Italian diplomat; and wounded 32 Afghan and Indian civilians, six police officers, and five Indian soldiers.
LT has also played a prominent role in Afghanistan through its efforts to oppose the Najibullah regime. Following that regime’s ouster, LT cultivated links with the Taliban and al-Qa’ida operatives in Afghanistan.
Strength: The actual size of LT is unknown, but it has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir and Punjab Pakistan and in the southern Jammu, Kashmir, and Doda regions. Most LT members are Pakistanis or Afghans and/or veterans of the Afghan wars. The group uses assault rifles, light and heavy machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Location/Area of Operation: LT maintains a number of facilities, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics in Pakistan. It has global connections and a strong operational network throughout South Asia.
External Aid: LT collects donations from the Pakistani expatriate communities in the Middle East and Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, Islamic non-governmental organizations, and Pakistani and other Kashmiri business people. LT coordinates its charitable activities through its front organizations JUD and, more recently, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), both of which have provided humanitarian relief to the victims of various natural disasters in Pakistan.
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 other attacks in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan and was banned by Pakistan 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 as the ruling government in Afghanistan, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists, providing safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. LJ works closely with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
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. 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. 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, which killed more than 40 people.
LJ’s activities increased in 2010. LJ’s most significant attack occurred in March when LJ and TTP claimed responsibility for two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on the Pakistani army, which killed 48 civilians, nine soldiers, and wounded over 130. In April, the group claimed responsibility for an IED attack on a World Food Program relief distribution point in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkwa Province. The attack killed 43 Internally Displaced Persons, one journalist, and wounded 70 others. In September, LJ and TTP claimed a grenade and suicide bomber attack on a Shia Muslim procession in Lahore, Pakistan that killed 40 and wounded 270. Two days later, a suicide bomber attack in Balochistan, Pakistan killed 66 civilians and one media worker, and injured over 180. LJ and TTP both claimed responsibility for this attack. On December 7, a LJ suicide bomber attacked the chief minister of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, wounding 10 people. The same month, a LJ bomb killed 10 people in an attack at a hospital in northwest Pakistan. The target of the attack was Shia residents who ran the hospital and a nearby prayer house. The group conducts brutal attacks for al-Qa’ida in Pakistan and TTP. It has stepped up suicide attacks against government officials, anti-TTP tribes, and Shia Muslims, and has carried out three other suicide attacks since December 6, including one against a bus carrying Shia refugees attempting to return to their homes in the tribal agency of Orakzai. The attack killed 18 civilians.
Strength: Probably fewer than 100.
Location/Area of Operation: LJ is active primarily in Punjab, FATA, Karachi, and Baluchistan. Some members travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
External Aid: Funding comes from wealthy donors in Pakistan as well as the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. The group also engages in criminal activity to fund its activities to include extortion and protection money.
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. Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE’s international network of financial support persists. 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.
Activities: Although LTTE has been largely inactive since its military defeat in Sri Lanka in 2009, in the past LTTE was responsible for an integrated a battlefield insurgent strategy that targeted key personnel in the countryside and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders. It 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.
In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured 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. In 2010, LTTE members reportedly fled Sri Lanka and have since attempted to reorganize in India. In June, assailants claiming LTTE membership may have been responsible for an attack against a railway in Tamil Nadu, India. No one was injured when the targeted train was able to stop in time to prevent derailment. Other LTTE members continued to procure weapons while the LTTE diaspora continued to support the organization financially. For example, in March, German police arrested six Tamil migrants living in Germany for using blackmail and extortion to raise funds for the LTTE.
Strength: Exact strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operations: Sri Lanka and India.
External Aid: The LTTE has used 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 employed 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 international terrorism. 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 since 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. In March 2010, the Libyan government released three top LIFG leaders and 200 LIFG members from prison, successfully concluding a three-year peace process that also produced an alliance against AQ.
Location/Area of Operation: Since the late 1990s, many members have fled to southwest Asia, and European countries, particularly the UK.
External Aid: Unknown.
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. 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. 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 war in Afghan. 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 train bombings, which killed 191 people. 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 inactive since these attacks, and has not been attributed to or claimed responsibility for any attacks since the Madrid train bombings.
Strength: Much of GICM’s leadership in Morocco and Europe has been killed, imprisoned, or is 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 London..
Location/Area of Operation: Morocco, Western Europe, and Afghanistan.
External Aid: GICM has been involved in narcotics trafficking in North Africa and Europe to fund its operations.
MUJAHADIN-E KHALQ ORGANIZATION
aka MEK; MKO; Mujahadin-e Khalq; 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 Mujahadin-E Khalq Organization (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 (part of the U.S. Embassy), 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. Though denied by the MEK, analysis based on eyewitness accounts and MEK documents demonstrates that MEK members participated in and supported the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and that the MEK later argued against the early release the American hostages. The MEK also provided personnel to guard and defend the site of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, following the takeover of the Embassy.
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 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 consular missions in 13 countries, including against the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York, 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. The MEK also assassinated the former Iranian Minister of Prisons in 1998. 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. The attack killed one person and injured six other individuals. In March 2000, the MEK launched mortars into a residential district in Tehran, injuring four people and damaging property. 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. 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.
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.
Location/Area of Operation: The MEK’s global support structure remains in place, with associates and supporters scattered throughout Europe and North America. Operations have targeted 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 through 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. The ELN remains focused on attacking economic infrastructure, in particular oil pipelines and electricity pylons, and extorting foreign and local companies.
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. In recent years, the ELN has launched joint attacks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest terrorist organization. Authorities believe that the ELN was involved in at least 23 attacks in 2010, some of which were carried out jointly with the FARC. Authorities hold the ELN responsible for a June 20 attack in Norte de Santander, which killed seven police officers and damaged one police truck. In early July, the ELN claimed responsibility for kidnapping three humanitarian workers and an official from the Colombian Office of the Vice President. The hostages were released on July 22. In September, in a joint attack with the FARC, the ELN killed three police officers and injured 12 others, including civilians in an attack in Narino.
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: The ELN has no known external aid.
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 are 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 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. 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, and have also included attacking Israeli targets with explosive devices. PIJ continued operations into 2010, most recently claiming responsibility for rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel’s Negev Desert on December 7.
Strength: PIJ currently has fewer than 1,000 members.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily Gaza with minimal operational presence in the West Bank and Israel. 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. The PFLP was involved in several rocket attacks, launched primarily from Gaza, against Israel in 2008 and 2009; and also claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Israeli forces in Gaza, including a December 2009 ambush of Israeli soldiers in central Gaza. The group remained active in 2010, claiming responsibility for numerous mortar and rocket attacks fired from Gaza into Israel as well as an February attack on a group of Israeli citizens.
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, 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 recent focus was 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 was 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 10 people. The PFLP-GC remained active into 2010. On the nights of March 20 and 21 in the Negev desert, assailants fired two rockets at an Israeli military base, causing no injuries or damage. The PFLP-GC’s Jihad Jibril Brigades claimed responsibility.
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. The group also maintains a small presence in Gaza.
External Aid: Receives safe haven, as well as logistical and military support from Syria and financial support from Iran.
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 has historically sought 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. 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, and police in Northern Ireland. The Independent Monitoring Commission, which was established to oversee the peace process, assessed that RIRA members were likely responsible for the majority of the shootings and assaults that occurred in Northern Ireland in 2008. In November 2008, Lithuanian authorities 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. In 2010, there were 12 attacks attributed to RIRA in Northern Ireland. One of these resulted in a fatality. A total of eight civilians were wounded in the other attacks.
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 was also reported to have purchased sophisticated weapons from the Balkans and to have occasionally collaborated with 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. It has been degraded by a continuing Colombian military offensive targeting key FARC units and leaders that has, by most estimates, halved the FARC’s numbers and succeeded in capturing or killing a number of FARC senior and mid-level commanders. The FARC 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 past years has held more than 700 hostages.
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. The group considers U.S. persons legitimate targets and other foreign citizens are often targets of abductions 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, and multiple kidnappings and assassinations of Columbian government officials and civilians. In July 2008, the Colombian military made a dramatic rescue of 15 high-value FARC hostages including three U.S. Department of Defense contractors Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Thomas Howe, who were held in captivity for more than five years along with former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.
In 2010, the FARC was held responsible for an estimated 134 deaths. The group claimed responsibility for an attack on February 24 in Carchi, Ecuador that killed 10 civilians. Authorities held the FARC responsible for a car bomb attack on March 24 in Valle del Cauca, which left nine dead and 51 wounded, and for an August 12 car bomb that wounded nine people in Bogota and damaged hundreds of buildings. The FARC also claimed responsibility for killing eight police officers and wounding five in a small arms and mortar attack in Putumayo in September.
Strength: Approximately 8,000 to 9,000 combatants, with several thousand more supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily in Colombia with activities including extortion, kidnapping, weapons sourcing, and logistics in neighboring countries.
External Aid: 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 is not always clear.
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 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. 17N’s most recent attack was a bombing attempt in June 2002 at the port of Piraeus in Athens. After the attempted attack, Greek authorities arrested 19 17N members, including a key leader of the organization. The convictions of 13 of these members have been upheld by Greek courts.
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 United States, NATO, and Turkish establishments. Its goals are the establishment of a socialist state and the abolition of harsh 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. 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. 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 U.S. targets of opportunity.
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 wounded 21. In July 2005, in Ankara, police intercepted and killed a DHKP/C 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.
The DHKP/C was dealt a major ideological blow when Dursun Karatas, leader of the group, died in August 2008 in the Netherlands. After the loss of their leader, the DHKP/C reorganized in 2009 and was reportedly competing with the Kurdistan Workers Party for influence in Turkey and Turkish diaspora Europe. In April 2009, 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. The assailant then fired a gun at him but was blocked by Turk’s bodyguards. The Government of Turkey has made significant progress against the DHKP/C, including disrupting a bomb plot in May 2010, which resulted in numerous arrests of DHKP/C operatives and supporters.
Strength: Probably several dozen members inside Turkey, with a limited support network throughout Europe.
Location/Area of Operation: Turkey, primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana.
External Aid: DHKP/C raises funds in Europe. The group also raises funds through extortion.
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. From 2004 to 2006, RS claimed responsibility for a number of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, including a March 2004 attack outside of a Citibank office in Athens. RS claimed responsibility for the January 12, 2007 rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens, which resulted in damage to the building. 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 2009, RS claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack on the Athens Stock Exchange, which caused widespread damage and injured a passerby.
In 2010, the Greek Government made significant strides in curtailing RS’s terrorist activities. On March 9, Greek police engaged in a shootout with two suspected RS members who were attempting to steal a car, which resulted in the death of one the suspects. At the scene, important information was acquired that led to the arrest of other suspected RS members. On April 10, Greek police arrested six suspected RS members, including purported leadership figure Nikos Maziotis. In addition to the arrests, the Greek raid resulted in the seizure of a RPG launcher, possibly the one used against the U.S. Embassy in Athens in January 2007. The six suspected RS members arrested – five men and one woman – face charges for arms offenses, causing explosions, and multiple counts of attempted homicide. If found guilty, each of the six face up to 25 years in prison.
Strength: Unknown but numbers 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. Guzman’s 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 was 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 last five years, SL activities have included intimidation of U.S.-sponsored non-governmental organizations involved in counternarcotics efforts, the ambushing of counternarcotics helicopters, and attacks against Peruvian police perpetrated in conjunction with narcotics traffickers.
In 2008, SL conducted over 64 attacks and killed at least 34 people 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. Activities in 2009 included attacks against Peruvian helicopters. In January 2010, 15 suspected SL fighters were arrested after a confrontation with the military, which left one officer dead and another wounded in the Apurimac and Ene River Valleys. Authorities believed SL killed a civilian in Huanuco in March and a police officer in April near Ayacucho. Authorities held SL responsible for an April 27 attack on a coca eradication team in Huanuco that left two field workers and one police officer dead and wounded another police officer. A series of Peruvian National Police counterterrorism operations from May to October 2010 killed or captured five SL commanders in the Huallaga valley region and more than 50 other SL members.
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 known.
TEHRIK-E TALIBAN PAKISTAN
aka Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taliban, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, TTP
Description: Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a Pakistan-based terrorist organization and was designated on September 1, 2010. TTP formed in 2007 in opposition to Pakistani military efforts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Previously disparate militant tribes agreed to cooperate and eventually coalesced into TTP under the leadership of now deceased leader Baitullah Mehsud. The group officially presented itself as a discrete entity in 2007. TTP is now led by Hakimullah Mehsud, who has been the group’s emir since August 2009. Other senior leaders include Wali Ur Rehman, the TTP emir in South Waziristan, Pakistan. TTP’s goals include usurping the Government of Pakistan by waging a campaign of terror against the civilian leader of Pakistan, its military, and against NATO forces in Afghanistan. TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghan-Pakistani border to train and deploy its operatives, and the group has a symbiotic relationship with AQ.
Activities: TTP has carried out and claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani and U.S. interests; including a December 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Khowst, Afghanistan, which killed seven U.S. citizens, and an April 2010 suicide bombing against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed six Pakistani citizens.
TTP is suspected of being involved in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Most recently, TTP claimed to have supported the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010. TTP’s claim has been validated by investigations that revealed that TTP directed and facilitated the plot.
Strength: Several thousand, precise number is unknown.
Location: Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan
External Aid: TTP and AQ have a symbiotic relationship. TTP draws ideological guidance from AQ, while AQ relies on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. This arrangement gives TTP access to both AQ’s global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members. Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, TTP is a force multiplier for AQ.
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 terrorist organizations, including the AUC, the group’s counter-guerilla activities decreased. After a large-scale demobilization process that began in 2010, most of the AUC’s centralized military structure has been dismantled, and all of the top paramilitary chiefs have stepped down. Despite AUC’s overall demobilization, the group’s armed wing Cacique Pipinta Front refused to demobilize.
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, with affiliate groups in Valle del Cauca, on the West coast, and Meta Department, in Central Columbia.