HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Looking for info on Diploma validation in Greece (a.k.a. DIKATSA)?
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Friday, 24 November 2017
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Great Seal logo

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1997

Appendix B: Background Information on Terrorist Groups

[Previous] [Index]

Appendix B
Background Information on Terrorist Groups

The following list of terrorist groups is not exhaustive. It focuses on the groups that were designated foreign terrorist organizations on 8 October 1997 pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (denoted by an asterisk) but also includes other major groups that were active in 1997. Terrorist groups whose activities were limited in scope in 1997 are not included.

Abu Nidal organization (ANO)* a.k.a. Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, and Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims

Description

International terrorist organization led by Sabri al-Banna. Split from PLO in 1974. Made up of various functional committees, including political, military, and financial.

Activities

Has carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. Targets include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries. Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi in September 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in July 1988 in Greece. Suspected of assassinating PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad and PLO security chief Abu Hul in Tunis in January 1991. ANO assassinated a Jordanian diplomat in Lebanon in January 1994 and has been linked to the killing of the PLO representative there. Has not attacked Western targets since the late 1980s.

Strength

Several hundred plus militia in Lebanon and limited overseas support structure.

Location/Area of Operation

Currently headquartered in Libya with an operational presence in Lebanon in the Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley) and also several Palestinian refugee camps in coastal areas of Lebanon. Also has a presence in Sudan, Syria, and Iraq, among others. Has demonstrated ability to operate over wide area, including the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

External Aid

Has received considerable support, including safehaven, training, logistic assistance, and financial aid from Iraq and Syria (until 1987); probably continues to receive aid from Libya, in addition to close support for selected operations.

Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)*

Description

Islamic extremist group operating in the southern Philippines led by Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani. Split from the Moro National Liberation Front in 1991.

Activities

Uses bombs, assassinations, kidnappings for ransom, and extortion payments from companies and businessmen in its efforts to promote an Iranian-style Islamic state in Mindanao, an island in the southern Philippines heavily populated by Muslims. Staged a raid on the town of Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995, the group's first large-scale action. The group is suspected in several assassinations in 1997, including that of a Catholic bishop in February.

Strength

Unknown, but believed to be about 200 members, mostly younger Muslims, many of whom have studied or worked in the Gulf states, where they were exposed to radical Islamic ideology.

Location/Area of Operation

The ASG operates in the southern Philippines and occasionally in Manila.

External Aid

Probably has ties to Islamic extremists in the Middle East.

Al-Jihad (see under J)

Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB)

Description

The ABB, the urban hit squad of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was formed in the mid-1980s.

Activities

The ABB is responsible for more than 100 murders and is believed to have been involved in the 1989 murder of US Army Col. James Rowe in the Philippines. Although reportedly decimated by a series of arrests in late 1995, the June 1996 murder of a former high-ranking Philippine official, claimed by the group, demonstrates that it still maintains terrorist capabilities. In March 1997, the group announced that it had formed an alliance with another armed group, the Revolutionary Proletarian Army.

Strength

Approximately 500.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates exclusively in Manila.

External Aid

Unknown.

Armed Islamic Group (GIA)*

Description

An Islamic extremist group, the GIA aims to overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with an Islamic state. The GIA began its violent activities in early 1992 after Algiers voided the victory of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)--the largest Islamic party--in the first round of December 1991 legislative elections.

Activities

Frequent attacks against civilians, journalists, and foreign residents. In the last year, the GIA has embarked on a terrorist campaign of civilian massacres, sometimes wiping out entire villages in its area of operations and frequently killing hundreds of civilians. Since announcing its terrorist campaign against foreigners living in Algeria in September 1993, the GIA has killed more than 100 expatriate men and women--mostly Europeans--in the country. The GIA uses assassinations and bombings, including car bombs, and it is known to favor kidnapping victims and slitting their throats. The GIA hijacked an Air France flight to Algiers in December 1994, and suspicions centered on the group for a series of bombings in France in 1995.

Strength

Unknown, probably several hundred to several thousand.

Location/Area of Operation

Algeria.

External Aid

Algerian expatriates and GIA members abroad, many of whom reside in Western Europe, provide some financial and logistic support. In addition, the Algerian Government has accused Iran and Sudan of supporting Algerian extremists and severed diplomatic relations with Iran in March 1993.

Aum Supreme Truth (Aum)* a.k.a. Aum Shinrikyo

Description

A cult established in 1987 by Shoko Asahara, Aum aims to take over Japan and then the world; its organizational structure mimics that of a nation-state, with "ministries" and a "pope secretariat." Followers are controlled by a mix of charismaticism and coercion. Approved as a religious entity in 1989 under Japanese law, the group was active in local Japanese elections in 1990. Disbanded as a religious organization under Japanese law in October 1995, but in 1997 a government panel decided not to invoke the Anti-Subversive Law against the cult, which would have outlawed the sect.

Activities

On 20 March 1995 Aum members carried six packages onto Tokyo subway trains and punctured the packages with umbrella tips, releasing deadly sarin gas that killed 12 persons and injured more than 5,000. Japanese police arrested Asahara in May 1995, and he was on trial as 1997 ended. Several key Aum figures remain at large. The group may have perpetrated other crimes before the March 1995 attack and apparently planned future attacks.

Strength

At the time of the Tokyo subway attack, the group claimed to have 9,000 members in Japan and up to 40,000 worldwide. Its current strength is unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates in Japan, but previously had a presence in Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, the former Yugoslavia, and the United States.

External Aid

None.

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)* a.k.a Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna

Description

Founded in 1959 with the aim of creating an independent homeland in Spain's Basque region. Has muted commitment to Marxism.

Activities

Chiefly bombings and assassinations of Spanish Government officials, especially security and military forces, politicians, and judicial figures. In response to French operations against the group, ETA also has targeted French interests. Finances its activities through kidnappings, robberies, and extortion. ETA has killed over 800 persons since it began lethal attacks in the early 1960s; responsible for murdering 13 persons in 1997.

Strength

Unknown; may have hundreds of members, plus supporters.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, but also has bombed Spanish and French interests elsewhere.

External Aid

Has received training at various times in the past in Libya, Lebanon, and Nicaragua. Some ETA members allegedly have received sanctuary in Cuba. Also appears to have ties to the Irish Republican Army through the two groups' legal political wings.

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)*

Description

Marxist-Leninist organization founded in 1969 when it split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Believes Palestinian national goals can be achieved only through revolution of the masses. In early 1980s, occupied political stance midway between Arafat and the rejectionists. Spilt into two factions in 1991; Nayif Hawatmah leads the majority and more hardline faction, which continues to dominate the group. Joined with other rejectionist groups to form the Alliance of Palestinian Forces (APF) to oppose the Declaration of Principals signed in 1993. Broke from the APF--along with the PFLP--over ideological differences. Has made limited moves toward merging with the PFLP since the mid-1990s.

Activities

In the 1970s carried out numerous small bombings and minor assaults and some more spectacular operations in Israel and the occupied territories, concentrating on Israeli targets. Involved only in border raids since 1988, but continues to oppose the Israel-PLO peace agreement.

Strength

Estimated at 500 (total for both factions).

Location/Area of Operation

Syria, Lebanon, and the Israeli-occupied territories; terrorist attacks have taken place entirely in Israel and the occupied territories. Conducts occasional guerrilla operations in southern Lebanon.

External Aid

Receives limited financial and military aid from Syria.

Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left) a.k.a. Dev Sol (see Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front, DHKP/C)

ELA (see Revolutionary People's Struggle)

ELN (see National Liberation Army)

ETA (see Basque Fatherland and Liberty)

FARC (see Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)

FPMR (see Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front)

al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)*

Description

An indigenous Egyptian Islamic extremist group active since the late 1970s; appears to be loosely organized with no single readily identifiable operational leader. Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman is the group's preeminent spiritual leader. Goal is to overthrow the government of President Hosni Mubarak and replace it with an Islamic state.

Activities

Armed attacks against Egyptian security and other government officials, Coptic Christians, and Egyptian opponents of Islamic extremism. The group also has launched attacks on tourists in Egypt since 1992. Al-Gama'at claimed responsibility for the attempt in June 1995 to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Strength

Unknown, but probably several thousand hard-core members and another several thousand sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates mainly in the Al Minya, Asyu't, Qina, and Soha Governorates of southern Egypt. It also appears to have support in Cairo, Alexandria, and other urban locations, particularly among unemployed graduates and students.

External Aid

Unknown. Egyptian Government believes that Iran, Sudan, and Afghan militant Islamic groups support the group.

HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)*

Description

HAMAS was formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various elements of HAMAS have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. HAMAS is loosely structured, with some elements working openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. Militant elements of HAMAS, operating clandestinely, have advocated and used violence to advance their goals. HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and in a few areas of the West Bank. It also has engaged in peaceful political activity, such as running candidates in West Bank Chamber of Commerce elections.

Activities

HAMAS activists, especially those in the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks--including large-scale suicide bombings--against Israeli civilian and military targets, suspected Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals.

Strength

Unknown number of hardcore members; tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily the occupied territories, Israel, and Jordan.

External Aid

Receives funding from Palestinian expatriates, Iran, and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activities take place in Western Europe and North America.

The Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA)*

Description

The Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan and operating primarily in Kashmir, was formed in October 1993 when two political activist groups--Harakat ul-Jihad al-Islami and Harakat ul-Mujahedin--merged.

Activities

Has carried out a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. It has been linked to the Kashmiri militant group Al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; one was killed in August 1995, and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year.

Strength

The HUA has several thousand armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in the southern Kashmir and the Doda regions of India composed of mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but including Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. The HUA uses light and heavy machineguns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets.

Location/Area of Operation

The HUA is based in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, but HUA members conduct insurgent and terrorist activities primarily in Kashmir. The HUA trains its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

External Aid

The HUA collects donations from sympathizers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Islamic states and from Pakistanis and Kashmiris. The source and amount of HUA's military funding are unknown.

Hizballah (Party of God)* a.k.a. Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine

Description

Radical Shia group formed in Lebanon; dedicated to creation of Iranian-style Islamic republic in Lebanon and removal of all non-Islamic influences from area. Strongly anti-Western and anti-Israeli. Closely allied with, and often directed by Iran, but may have conducted operations that were not approved by Tehran.

Activities

Known or suspected to have been involved in numerous anti-US terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck bombing of the US Embassy and US Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 and the US Embassy Annex in Beirut in September 1984. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping and detention of US and other Western hostages in Lebanon. The group also attacked the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992.

Strength

Several thousand.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates in the Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley), the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon. Has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and elsewhere.

External Aid

Receives substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria.

Irish Republican Army (IRA) a.k.a Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), the Provos

Description

Radical terrorist group formed in 1969 as clandestine armed wing of Sinn Fein, a legal political movement dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. Has a Marxist orientation. Organized into small, tightly knit cells under the leadership of the Army Council.

Activities

Bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, extortion, and robberies. Before its 1994 cease-fire, targets included senior British Government officials, British military and police in Northern Ireland, and Northern Irish Loyalist paramilitary groups. Since breaking its cease-fire in February 1996, IRA's operations have included bombing campaigns against train and subway stations and shoppping areas on mainland Britain, British military and Royal Ulster Constabulary targets in Northern Ireland, and a British military facility on the European Continent.

Strength

Several hundred, plus several thousand sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland, Irish Republic, Great Britain, and Europe.

External Aid

Has received aid from a variety of groups and countries and considerable training and arms from Libya and, at one time, the PLO. Also is suspected of receiving funds and arms from sympathizers in the United States. Similarities in operations suggest links to the ETA.

Islamic Resistance Movement (see HAMAS)

Jamaat ul-Fuqra

Description

Jamaat ul-Fuqra is an Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence. Fuqra is led by Pakistani cleric Shaykh Mubarik Ali Gilani, who established the organization in the early 1980s. Gilani now resides in Pakistan, but most Fuqra cells are located in North America and the Caribbean. Fuqra members have purchased isolated rural compounds in North America to live communally, practice their faith, and insulate themselves from Western culture.

Activities

Fuqra members have attacked a variety of targets that they view as enemies of Islam, including Muslims they regard as heretics and Hindus. Attacks during the 1980s included assassinations and firebombings across the United States. Fuqra members in the United States have been convicted of criminal violations, including murder and fraud.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

North America, Pakistan.

External Aid

None.

Japanese Red Army (JRA)* a.k.a. Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB)

Description

An international terrorist group formed around 1970 after breaking away from Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction. Led by Fusako Shigenobu, believed to be in hiding outside Japan. Stated goals are to overthrow Japanese Government and monarchy and to help foment world revolution. Organization unclear but may control or at least have ties to Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB). Details released following arrest in November 1987 of leader Osamu Maruoka indicate that JRA may have been organizing cells in Asian cities, such as Manila and Singapore. Has had close and longstanding relations with Palestinian terrorist groups--based and operating outside Japan--since its inception.

Activities

During the 1970s, JRA carried out a series of attacks around the world, including the massacre in 1972 at Lod Airport in Israel, two Japanese airliner hijackings, and an attempted takeover of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. In April 1988, JRA operative Yu Kikumura was arrested with explosives on the New Jersey Turnpike, apparently planning an attack to coincide with the bombing of a USO club in Naples, a suspected JRA operation that killed five, including a US servicewoman. Kikumura was convicted of these charges and is serving a lengthy prison sentence in the United States. In March 1995, Ekita Yukiko, a longtime JRA activist, was arrested in Romania and subsequently deported to Japan.

Strength

About seven hardcore members; undetermined number of sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation

Formerly based in Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon; current location of members and cells unknown.

External Aid

Unknown.

al-Jihad* a.k.a. Jihad Group, Islamic Jihad, New Jihad Group, Vanguards of Conquest, Talaa' al-Fateh

Description

An Egyptian Islamic extremist group active since the late 1970s; appears to be divided into at least two separate factions: remnants of the original Jihad led by Abbud al-Zumar, currently imprisoned in Egypt, and a faction calling itself Vanguards of Conquest (Talaa' al-Fateh or the New Jihad Group). The Vanguards of Conquest appears to be led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is currently outside Egypt; his specific whereabouts are unknown. Like al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, the Jihad factions regard Sheikh Umar Abd-al Rahman as their spiritual leader. The goal of all Jihad factions is to overthrow the government of President Hosni Mubarak and replace it with an Islamic state.

Activities

Specializes in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian Government officials. The original Jihad was responsible for the assassination in 1981 of President Anwar Sadat. Unlike al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, which mainly targets mid- and lower-level security personnel, Coptic Christians, and Western tourists, al-Jihad appears to concentrate primarily on high-level, high-profile Egyptian Government officials, including cabinet ministers. Claimed responsibility for the attempted assassinations of Interior Minister Hassan Al-Alfi in August 1993 and Prime Minister Atef Sedky in November 1993.

Strength

Not known, but probably several thousand hardcore members and another several thousand sympathizers among the various factions.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates mainly in the Cairo area. Also appears to have members outside Egypt, probably in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan.

External Aid

Not known. The Egyptian Government claims that Iran, Sudan, and militant Islamic groups in Afghanistan support the Jihad factions.

Kach* and Kahane Chai*

Description

Stated goal is to restore the biblical state of Israel. Kach (founded by radical Israeli-American Rabbi Meir Kahane) and its offshoot Kahane Chai, which means "Kahane Lives" (founded by Meir Kahane's son Binyamin following his father's assassination in the United States), were declared to be terrorist organizations in March 1994 by the Israeli Cabinet under the 1948 Terrorism Law. This followed the groups' statements in support of Dr. Baruch Goldstein's attack in February 1994 on the al-Ibrahimi Mosque--Goldstein was affiliated with Kach--and their verbal attacks on the Israeli Government.

Activities

Organize protests against the Israeli Government. Harass and threaten Palestinians in Hebron and the West Bank. Groups have threatened to attack Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli Government officials. They also claimed responsibility for several shooting attacks on West Bank Palestinians in which four persons were killed and two were wounded in 1993.

Strength

Unknown.

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.

Khmer Rouge (see The Party of Democratic Kampuchea)

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)*

Description

Established in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group primarily composed of Turkish Kurds. In recent years has moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to include urban terrorism. Seeks to set up an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, where there is a predominantly Kurdish population.

Activities

Primary targets are Turkish Government security forces in Turkey but also has been active in Western Europe against Turkish targets. Conducted attacks on Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities in dozens of West European cities in 1993 and again in spring 1995. In an attempt to damage Turkey's tourist industry, the PKK has bombed tourist sites and hotels and kidnapped foreign tourists.

Strength

Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 guerrillas. Has thousands of sympathizers in Turkey and Europe.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates in Turkey, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

External Aid

Receives safehaven and modest aid from Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)* Other known front organizations: World Tamil Association (WTA), World Tamil Movement (WTM), the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), the Ellalan Force

Description

Founded in 1976, the LTTE is the most powerful Tamil group in Sri Lanka and uses overt and illegal methods to raise funds, acquire weapons, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state. The LTTE began its armed conflict with the Sri Lankan Government in 1983 and relies on a guerrilla strategy that includes the use of terrorist tactics. The group's elite Black Tiger squad conducts suicide bombings against important targets, and all rank-and-file members carry a cyanide capsule to kill themselves rather than allow themselves to be caught. The LTTE is very insular and highly organized with its own intelligence service, naval element (the Sea Tigers), and women's political and military wings.

Activities

The LTTE has integrated a battlefield insurgent strategy with a terrorist program that targets key government and military personnel, the economy, and public infrastructure. Political assassinations include the suicide bomber attacks against Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993 and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, which is the group's only known act outside Sri Lanka. The LTTE has detonated two massive truck bombs directed against the Sri Lankan economy, one at the Central Bank in January 1996 and another at the Colombo World Trade Center in October 1997. The LTTE also has attacked several ships in Sri Lankan waters, including foreign commercial vessels and infrastructure targets such as commuter trains, buses, oil tanks, and power stations. The LTTE prefers to attack vulnerable government facilities then withdraw before reinforcements arrive, or to time its attacks to take advantage of security lapses on holidays, at night, or in the early morning.

Strength

Approximately 10,000 armed combatants in Sri Lanka; about 3,000 to 6,000 form a trained cadre of fighters. The LTTE also has a significant overseas support structure for fundraising, weapons procurement, and propaganda activities.

Location/Area of Operation

The Tigers control most of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka but have conducted operations throughout the island. Headquartered in the Wanni region, LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has established an extensive network of checkpoints and informants to keep track of any outsiders who enter the group's area of control.

External Aid

The LTTE's overt organizations support Tamil separatism by lobbying foreign governments and the United Nations. The LTTE also uses its international contacts to procure weapons, communications, and bombmaking equipment. The LTTE exploits large Tamil communities in North America, Europe, and Asia to obtain funds and supplies for its fighters in Sri Lanka. Information obtained since the mid-1980s indicates that some Tamil communities in Europe are also involved in narcotics smuggling.

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF)

Description

Extremist terrorist group formed in 1996 as a splinter of the mainstream Loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). Seeks to subvert a political settlement with Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland by attacking Catholic politicians, civilians, and Protestant politicians who endorse the Northern Ireland peace process. Comprised of hardliners formerly associated with the UVF. Billy "King Rat" Wright, LVF founder and leader, was assassinated on 27 December by members of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), a Republican terrorist fringe group.

Activities

Bombings, kidnappings, and close-quarter shooting attacks. LVF bombs often contain Powergel commercial explosives, typical of many Loyalist groups. LVF attacks are particularly vicious: LVF terrorists killed an 18-year-old Catholic girl in July 1997 because she had a Protestant boyfriend and went on a killing spree, murdering Catholic civilians with no political or terrorist affiliations, following Billy Wright's assassination. The LVF also has carried out successful attacks against Irish targets in Irish border towns.

Strength

The British press speculates about 500 activists.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland, Ireland

External Aid

None.

Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR)*

Description

Originally the FPMR was founded in 1983 as the armed wing of the Chilean Communist Party and was named for the hero of Chile's war of independence against Spain. The group splintered into two factions in the late 1980s, and one faction became a political party in 1991. The dissident wing FPMR/D is Chile's only remaining active terrorist group.

Activities

FPMR/D attacks civilians and international targets, including US businesses and Mormon churches. In 1993, FPMR/D bombed two McDonald's restaurants and attempted to bomb a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Successful government counterterrorist operations have significantly undercut the organization. Four FPMR members staged an escape from prison using a helicopter, however, in December 1996.

Strength

Now believed to have between 50 and 100 members.

Location/Area of Operation

Chile.

External Aid

None.

Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO)* a.k.a. The National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA, the militant wing of the MEK), the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), Muslim Iranian Student's Society (front organization used to garner financial support)

Description

Formed in the 1960s by the college-educated children of Iranian merchants, the MEK sought to counter what is perceived as excessive Western influence in the Shah's regime. In the 1970s, the MEK concluded that violence was the only way to bring about change in Iran. Since then, the MEK--following a philosophy that mixes Marxism and Islam--has developed into the largest and most active armed Iranian dissident group. Its history is studded with anti-Western activity and, most recently, attacks on the interests of the clerical regime in Iran and abroad.

Activities

The MEK directs a worldwide campaign against the Iranian Government that stresses propaganda and occasionally uses terrorist violence. During the 1970s, the MEK staged terrorist attacks inside Iran to destabilize and embarrass the Shah's regime; the group killed several US military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran. The group also supported the takeover in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran. In April 1992 the MEK carried out attacks on Iranian embassies in 13 different countries, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas.

Strength

Several thousand fighters based in Iraq with an extensive overseas support structure. Most of the fighters are organized in the MEK's National Liberation Army (NLA).

Location/Area of Operation

In the 1980s the MEK's leaders were forced by Iranian security forces to flee to France. Most resettled in Iraq by 1987. Since the mid-1980s, the MEK has not mounted terrorist operations in Iran at a level similar to its activities in the 1970s. Aside from the National Liberation Army's attacks into Iran toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war, and occasional NLA cross-border incursions since, the MEK's attacks on Iran have amounted to little more than harassment. The MEK has had more success in confronting Iranian representatives overseas through propaganda and street demonstrations.

External Aid

Beyond support from Iraq, the MEK uses front organizations to solicit contributions from expatriate Iranian communities.

MRTA (see Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement)

National Liberation Army (ELN)--Colombia*

Description

Rural-based, anti-US, Maoist-Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group formed in 1963. Attempted peace talks with the government ended in May 1992.

Activities

Periodically kidnaps foreign employees of large corporations and holds them for large ransom payments. Conducts frequent assaults on oil infrastructure and has inflicted major damage on pipelines. Extortion and bombings against US and other foreign businesses, especially the petroleum industry. Forces coca and opium poppy cultivators to pay protection money and attacks the government's efforts to eradicate these crops.

Strength

At least 3,000 combatants.

Location/Area of Operation

Colombia, border regions of Venezuela.

External Aid

None.

New People's Army (NPA)

Description

The guerrilla arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), an avowedly Maoist group formed in December 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, the NPA has an active urban infrastructure to carry out terrorism; uses city-based assassination squads called sparrow units. Derives most of its funding from contributions of supporters and so-called revolutionary taxes extorted from local businesses.

Activities

NPA is in disarray because of a split in the CPP, a lack of money, and successful government operations. With the US military gone from the country, NPA has engaged in urban terrorism against the police, corrupt politicians, and drug traffickers.

Strength

Estimated at several thousand.

Location/Area of Operation

Philippines, primarily Manila.

External Aid

Unknown.

The Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)*

Description

The PIJ, which originated among militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s, is a series of loosely affiliated factions rather than a cohesive group. The PIJ is committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through holy war. Because of its strong support for Israel, the United States has been identified as an enemy of the PIJ. The PIJ also opposes moderate Arab governments that it believes have been tainted by Western secularism.

Activities

PIJ militants have threatened to retaliate against Israel and the United States for the murder of PIJ leader Fathi Shaqaqi in Malta in October 1995. It has carried out suicide bombing attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel. The PIJ has threatened to attack US interests in Jordan.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily Israel and the occupied territories and other parts of the Middle East, including Jordan and Lebanon. The largest faction is based in Syria.

External Aid

Receives financial assistance from Iran and limited assistance from Syria.

Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)*

Description

Terrorist group that broke away from the PFLP-GC in mid-1970s. Later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. Pro-PLO faction led by Muhammad Abbas (Abu Abbas), who became member of PLO Executive Committee in 1984 but left it in 1991.

Activities

The Abu Abbas-led faction has carried out attacks against Israel. Abbas's group was also responsible for the attack in 1985 on the cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of US citizen Leon Klinghoffer. A warrant for Abu Abbas's arrest is outstanding in Italy.

Strength

At least 50.

Location/Area of Operation

PLO faction based in Tunisia until Achille Lauro attack. Now based in Iraq.

External Aid

Receives support mainly from Iraq, has received support from Libya in the past.

The Party of Democratic Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge)*

Description

The Khmer Rouge is a Communist insurgency that is trying to destabilize the Cambodian Government. Under Pol Pot's leadership, the Khmer Rouge conducted a campaign of genocide in which more than 1 million persons were killed during its four years in power in the late 1970s. Although there have been large-scale defections from the Khmer Rouge to Cambodian Government forces since 1996, and the group suffered a significant split in 1997, it still may be considered dangerous.

Activities

The Khmer Rouge now is engaged in a low-level insurgency against the Cambodian Government. Although its victims are mainly Cambodian villagers, the Khmer Rouge has occasionally kidnapped and killed foreigners traveling in remote rural areas.

Strength

One to two thousand.

Location/Area of Operation

The Khmer Rouge operates in outlying provinces in Cambodia, particularly in pockets along the Thailand border.

External Aid

The Khmer Rouge is not currently receiving external assistance.

PKK (see Kurdistan Workers' Party)

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*

Description

Marxist-Leninist group founded in 1967 by George Habash as a member of the PLO. Joined the Alliance of Palestinian Forces (APF) to oppose the Declaration of Principles signed in 1993 and has suspended participation in the PLO. Broke away from the APF, along with the DFLP, in 1996 over ideological differences. Has made limited moves toward merging with the DFLP since the mid-1990s.

Activities

Committed numerous international terrorist attacks during the 1970s. Since 1978, PFLP has carried out numerous attacks against Israeli or moderate Arab targets, including the killing of a settler and her son in December 1996.

Strength

Some 800.

Location/Area of Operation

Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the occupied territories.

External Aid

Receives most of its financial and military assistance from Syria and Libya.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)*

Description

Split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming that it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. Violently opposed to Arafat's PLO. Led by Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian Army. Closely tied to both Syria and Iran.

Activities

Has carried out numerous cross-border terrorist attacks into Israel using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders.

Strength

Several hundred.

Location/Area of Operation

Headquartered in Damascus, bases in Lebanon, and cells in Europe.

External Aid

Receives logistic and military support from Syria and its financial support from Iran.

Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), (see Irish Republican Army)

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)*

Description

The largest, best trained, and best equipped guerrilla organization in Colombia. Established in 1966 as military wing of Colombian Communist Party. Goal is to overthrow government and ruling class. Organized along military lines; includes at least one urban front. Has been anti-US since its inception.

Activities

Armed attacks against Colombian political and military targets. Many members pursue criminal activities, carrying out kidnappings for profit and bank robberies. Foreign citizens often are targets of FARC kidnappings. Group traffics in drugs and has well-documented ties to narcotraffickers.

Strength

Approximately 7,000 armed combatants and an unknown number of supporters, mostly in rural areas.

Location/Area of Operation

Colombia, with occasional operations in Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador.

External Aid

None.

Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November)*

Description

A radical leftist group established in 1975 and named for the November 1973 student uprising in Greece protesting the military regime. The group is anti-Greek establishment, anti-United States, anti-Turkey, anti-NATO; committed to the ouster of US bases, removal of Turkish military presence from Cyprus, and severing of Greece's ties to NATO and the European Union (EU). Organization is obscure, possibly affiliated with other Greek terrorist groups.

Activities

Initial attacks were assassinations of senior US officials and Greek public figures. Added bombings in 1980s. Since 1990, has expanded targets to include EU facilities and foreign firms investing in Greece and has added improvised rocket attacks to its methods.

Strength

Unknown, but presumed to be small.

Location/Area of Operation

Athens, Greece.

External Aid

Unknown.

Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)* a.k.a.: Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left), Dev Sol

Description

Originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, it was a splinter faction of the Turkish People's Liberation Party/Front. Renamed in 1994 after factional infighting, it still espouses a Marxist ideology and is virulently anti-United States and anti-NATO. The group finances its activities chiefly through armed robberies and extortion.

Activities

Since the late 1980s, has concentrated attacks against current and retired Turkish security and military officials. Began a new campaign against foreign interests in 1990. Protesting the Gulf war, it assassinated two US military contractors and wounded a US Air Force officer. Launched rockets at US Consulate in Istanbul in 1992. Assassinated prominent Turkish businessman in early 1996, which was its first significant terrorist act as DHKP/C.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Carries out attacks in Turkey, primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Conducts fundraising operations in Western Europe.

External Aid

Unknown.

Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA)*

Description

An extreme leftist group that developed out of the opposition to the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974. Formed in 1971, the ELA is a self-described revolutionary, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist group, which has declared its opposition to "imperialist domination, exploitation, and oppression." The ELA is strongly anti-United States and seeks the removal of US military forces from Greece.

Activities

Since 1974, the group has carried out bombings against Greek Government and economic targets as well as US military and business facilities. In 1986, the group stepped up attacks on Greek Government and commercial interests. In November 1990, a raid on a safehouse revealed a weapons cache and direct contacts with other Greek terrorist groups, including 1 May and Revolutionary Solidarity. During 1991, ELA and 1 May claimed joint responsibility for more than 20 bombings. Greek police believe they have established a link between the ELA and the Revolutionary Organization 17 November.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Greece.

External Aid

No known foreign sponsors.

Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, SL)*

Description

Larger of Peru's two insurgencies, SL is among the world's most ruthless guerrilla organizations. Formed in the late 1960s by then university professor Abimael Guzman. Stated goal is to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with peasant revolutionary regime. Also wants to rid Peru of foreign influences. Guzman's capture in September 1992 was a major blow, as were arrests of other SL leaders in 1995, defections, and President Fujimori's amnesty program for repentant terrorists.

Activities

Has engaged in particularly brutal forms of terrorism, including the indiscriminate use of bombs. Almost every institution in Peru has been a target of SL violence. Has bombed diplomatic missions of several countries in Peru, including the US Embassy. Carries out bombing campaigns and selective assassinations. Has attacked US businesses since its inception. Involved in cocaine trade.

Strength

Approximately 1,500 to 2,500 armed militants; larger number of supporters, mostly in rural areas.

Location/Area of Operation

Rural based, with some terrorist attacks in the capital.

External Aid

None.

17 November (see Revolutionary Organization 17 November)

Sikh Terrorism

Description

Sikh terrorism is sponsored by expatriate and Indian Sikh groups who want to carve out an independent Sikh state called Khalistan (Land of the Pure) from Indian terroritory. Active groups include Babbar Khalsa, International Sikh Youth Federation, Dal Khalsa, Bhinderanwala Tiger Force. A previously unknown group, the Saheed Khalsa Force, claimed credit for the marketplace bombings in New Delhi in 1997.

Activities

Sikh attacks in India are mounted against Indian officials and facilities, other Sikhs, and Hindus; they include assassinations, bombings, and kidnappings. These attacks have dropped markedly since 1992, as Indian security forces have killed or captured a host of senior Sikh militant leaders and scored other successes against extremist groups. Many low-intensity bombings that might be attributable to Sikh extremists now occur without claims of credit.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern India, Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America.

External Aid

Silk militant cells are active internationally, and extremists gather funds from overseas Sikh communities. Sikh expatriates have formed a variety of international organizations that lobby for the Sikh cause overseas. Most prominent are the World Sikh Organization and the International Sikh Youth Federation.

Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)*

Description

Traditional Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement formed in 1983. Objective remains to rid Peru of imperialism and establish Marxist regime. Has suffered from defections and government counterterrorist successes in addition to infighting and loss of leftist support.

Activities

Bombings, kidnappings, ambushes, and assassinations. Previously responsible for large number of anti-US attacks; recent activity has dropped off dramatically. Most members have been jailed. Nevertheless, in December 1996, 14 MRTA members took over the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Lima during a diplomatic reception, capturing hundreds of hostages. Government forces stormed the residence in April, rescuing all but one of the remaining hostages.

Strength

Believed to have roughly 100 remaining members.

Location/Area of Operation

Peru.

External Aid

None.

[Previous] [Index]

Back to Top
Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
All Rights Reserved.

HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
Saturday, 2 May 1997