Terrorists in the 1970s and 1980s
By Patrick Mondout
Here is a brief look at major terrorist organizations active in the
Super70s and Awesome80s.
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN)
15 May Organization
First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO)
Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)
HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
Hizballah (Party of God)
Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Japanese Red Army (JRA)
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)
Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR)
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, NCR, and many
National Liberation Army (ELN)
New People's Army (NPA)
Palestine Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi Faction (PIJ)
Palestine Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction (PLF)
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General
Red Army Faction (RAF)
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November)
Revolutionary People's Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C)
Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA)
Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
Liberartion Army (SLA)
Terra Lliure (TL) (Free Land)
Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) a.k.a. Black
September, the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the Arab Revolutionary
Council, the Arab Revolutionary Brigades, the 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 and 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: Headquartered in Iraq (1974-83) and
Syria (1983-87); headquartered in Libya (1988-1998) with substantial
presence in Lebanon (in the Bekaa Valley and several Palestinian refugee
camps in coastal areas of Lebanon). Also has presence in Algeria. Has
demonstrated ability to operate over wide area, including Middle East,
Asia, and Europe. Al-Banna may have relocated to Iraq in December 1998,
where the group maintains a presence. Has an operational presence in
Lebanon in the Bekaa Valley and several Palestinian refugee camps in
coastal areas of Lebanon. Also has a presence in Sudan and Syria, 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,
Libya, and Syria (until 1987), in addition to close support for selected
Al-Fatah aka: Al-`Asifa.
Description: Headed by Yasser Arafat, Fatah joined the PLO in
1968 and won the leadership role in 1969. Its commanders were expelled
from Jordan following violent confrontations with Jordanian forces during
the period 1970-71, beginning with Black September in 1970. The Israeli
invasion of Lebanon in 1982 led to the group's dispersal to several Middle
Eastern countries, including Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, and others.
Maintains several military and intelligence wings that have carried out
terrorist attacks, including Force 17 and the Hawari Special Operations
Group. Two of its leaders, Abu Jihad and Abu Iyad, were assassinated.
Activities: In the 1960s and the 1970s, Fatah offered training
to a wide range of European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African terrorist
and insurgent groups. Carried out numerous acts of international terrorism
in Western Europe and the Middle East in the early-to-middle 1970s.
Strength: 6,000 to 8,000.
Location/Area of Operation: Headquartered in Tunisia, with bases
in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries.
External Aid: Has had close, longstanding political and
financial ties to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other moderate Persian Gulf
states. These relations were disrupted by the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. Also
has had links to Jordan. Received weapons, explosives, and training from
the former USSR and the former Communist regimes of East European states.
China and North Korea have reportedly provided some weapons.
Armenian Secret Army
for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) aka: The Orly Group, 3rd October
Description Marxist-Leninist Armenian terrorist group formed in
1975 with stated intention to compel the Turkish Government to acknowledge
publicly its alleged responsibility for the deaths of 1.5 million
Armenians in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory for an Armenian
homeland. Led by Hagop Hagopian until he was assassinated in Athens in
Activities Initial bombing and assassination attacks directed
against Turkish targets. Later attacked French and Swiss targets to force
release of imprisoned comrades. Made several minor bombing attacks against
US airline offices in Western Europe in early 1980s. Bombing of Turkish
airline counter at Orly Airport in Paris in 1983--eight killed and 55
wounded--led to split in group over rationale for causing indiscriminate
casualties. Suffering from internal schisms, group has been inactive,
although claimed an unsuccessful attack on Turkish Ambassador to Hungary
in the early 90s.
Strength: A few hundred members and sympathizers.
Location/Area of Operation: Lebanon, Western Europe, Armenia,
United States, and Middle East.
External Aid: Has received aid, including training and safehaven,
from Syria. May also receive some aid from Libya. Has extensive ties to
radical Palestinian groups, including the PFLP and PFLP-GC.
Aum Shinrikyo a.k.a. Aum Supreme Truth,
A.I.C. Sogo Kenkyusho, A.I.C. Comprehensive Research Institute
Description: A cult established in 1987 by Shoko Asahara, Aum aims
to take over Japan and then the world. Its organizational structure
mimicks that of a nation-state, with "finance,"
"construction," and "science and technology"
ministries. Approved as a religious entity in 1989 under Japanese law, the
group ran candidates in a Japanese parliamentary election in 1990. Over
time, the cult began to emphasize the imminence of the end of the world
and stated that the United States would initiate "Armageddon" by
starting World War III with Japan. The Japanese Government revoked its
recognition of Aum as a religious organization in October 1995, but in
1997 a government panel decided not to invoke the Anti-Subversive Law
against the group, which would have outlawed the cult.
Activities: On 20 March 1995 Aum members simultaneously released
sarin nerve gas on several Tokyo subway trains, killing 12 persons and
injuring up to 6,000. The group was responsible for other mysterious
chemical incidents in Japan in 1994. Its efforts to conduct attacks using
biological agents have been unsuccessful. Japanese police arrested Asahara
in May 1995, and he remained on trial facing seventeen counts of murder at
the end of 1998. In 1997 and 1998 the cult resumed its recruiting
activities in Japan and opened several commercial businesses. Maintains an
Internet homepage that indicates Armageddon and anti-US sentiment remain a
part of the cult's world view.
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 establishing an
independent homeland based on Marxist principles in Spain's Basque region
and the southwestern French provinces of Labourd, Basse-Navarra, and Soule.
Activities: Primarily 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. Has killed more
than 800 persons since it began lethal attacks in the early 1960s;
responsible for murdering 6 persons in 1998. ETA declared a
"unilateral and indefinite" cease-fire on 17 September 1998.
Strength: Unknown; may have hundreds of members, plus
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.
(Nucleus or Middle-Core Faction)
Description An ultraleftist/radical group with origins in the
fragmentation of the Japanese Communist Party in 1957. Largest domestic
militant group; has political arm plus small, covert action wing called
Kansai Revolutionary Army. Funding derived from membership dues, sales of
its newspapers, and fundraising campaigns.
Activities Participates in mass protest demonstrations and
snake-dancing in streets; supports farmers' protest of construction of
Narita airport, among other causes; sabotaged part of Japanese railroad
system in 1985 and 1986; sporadic attacks usually designed to cause only
property damage through use of crude rockets and incendiary devices;
anti-US attacks include small-scale rocket attempts against US military
and diplomatic targets; no US casualties so far.
Location/Area of Operation Japan.
External Aid None known.
Democratic Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
Description Marxist group that split from the PFLP in 1969.
Believes Palestinian national goals can be achieved only through
revolution of the masses. In early 1980s, occupied political stance midway
between Arafat and the more radical rejectionists. Split into two factions
in 1991, one pro-Arafat and another more hardline faction headed by Nayif
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 such as the 1974
massacre in Ma'alot in which 27 Israelis were killed and over 100 wounded.
Involved only in border raids since 1988.
Strength: Estimated at 500 (total for both factions).
Location/Area of Operation: Syria, Lebanon, and the
Israeli-occupied territories; attacks have taken place entirely in Israel
and the occupied territories.
External Aid: Received financial and military aid from Syria and
aka: Dev Sol
Description Formed in 1978 as a splinter faction of the Turkish
People's Liberation Party/Front. Espouses a Marxist ideology, intensely
xenophobic, and virulently anti-US and anti-NATO; seeks to unify the
proletariat to stage a national revolution. Finances its activities
chiefly through armed robberies and extortion.
Activities Conducted attacks against US, Turkish, and NATO
targets until weakened by massive arrests during 1981-83. Methods of
attack include handgun assassinations and bombings. Since reemergence
during late 1980s, has concentrated attacks against current and retired
Turkish security and military officials; responsible for the murders of
four active and retired generals and nearly 30 police officers in 1991.
Resumed operations against foreign interests during 1991, claiming
responsibility for assassinating two American contractors and one British
businessman; attempted the murder of a US Air Force officer and over 30
bombings against Western diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities.
Strength Several hundred members, several dozen armed militants.
Location/Area of Operation Carries out attacks in
Turkey--primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Conducts
fundraising operations in Western Europe.
External Aid Possible training support from radical
National Liberation Front (FMLN)
Description: El Salvadorian leftist guerrilla group fought for
reforms beyond what was agreed to in the newly-drafted 1983 constitution,
which had strengthened individual rights; established safeguards
against excessive provisional detention and unreasonable searches;
established a republican, pluralistic form of government; strengthened the
legislative branch; and enhanced judicial independence. It also codified
labor rights, particularly for agricultural workers.
In 1989, ARENA's Alfredo Cristiani won the presidential election with
54% of the vote. His inauguration on June 1, 1989, marked the first time
that power had passed peacefully from one freely elected civilian leader
Upon his inauguration in June 1989, President Cristiani called for
direct dialogue to end the decade of conflict between the government and
guerrillas. An unmediated dialogue process involving monthly meetings
between the two sides was initiated in September 1989, lasting until the
FMLN launched a bloody, nationwide offensive in November that year.
In early 1990, following a request from the Central American
presidents, the United Nations became involved in an effort to mediate
direct talks between the two sides. After a year of little progress, the
government and the FMLN accepted an invitation from the UN
Secretary-General to meet in New York City. On September 25, 1991, the two
sides signed the New York City Accord. It concentrated the negotiating
process into one phase and created the Committee for the Consolidation of
the Peace (COPAZ), made up of representatives of the government, FMLN, and
political parties, with Catholic Church and UN observers.
On December 31, 1991, the government and the FMLN initialed a peace
agreement under the auspices of then U.N. Secretary-General Perez de
Cuellar. The final agreement, called the Accords of Chapultepec, was
signed in Mexico City on January 16, 1992. A nine-month cease-fire took
effect February 1, 1992, and was never broken. A ceremony held on December
15, 1992, marked the official end of the conflict, concurrent with the
demobilization of the last elements of the FMLN military structure and the
FMLN's inception as a political party.
In generally free and fair elections in March 2000, the former
guerrilla organization Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN)
won a plurality of the seats in the Legislative Assembly.
15 May Organization
Description: Formed in 1979 from remnants of Wadi Haddad's
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Operations Group (PFLP-SOG).
Led by Muhammad al-Umari, who is known throughout Palestinian circles as
Abu Ibrahim or the bomb man. Group was never part of PLO. Reportedly
disbanded in the mid-1980s when several key members joined Colonel
Hawari's Special Operations Group of Fatah.
Activities: Claimed credit for several bombings in the
early-to-middle 1980s, including hotel bombing in London (1980), El Al's
Rome and Istanbul offices (1981), and Israeli Embassies in Athens and
Vienna (1981). Anti-US attacks include an attempted bombing of a Pan Am
airliner in Rio de Janeiro and a bombing on board a Pan Am flight from
Tokyo to Honolulu in August 1982. (The accused bomber in this last attack,
Mohammed Rashid, was jailed in Greece following his conviction for the
bombing, which killed a Japanese teenager.)
Strength: 50 to 60 in early 1980s.
Location/Area of Operation: Baghdad until 1984. Before
disbanding, operated in Middle East, Europe, and East Asia, Abu Ibrahim is
reportedly in Iraq.
External Aid: Probably received logistic and financial support
from Iraq until 1984.
October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO)
Description Small, Maoist urban terrorist group established in
1975. Loosely associated with the Spanish Communist Party-Reconstituted.
Seeks to remove US military forces from Spain and establish a
Activities Carried out small-scale bombing attacks on US and
NATO facilities in early 1980s; capabilities reduced by arrests since
1985. During 1991, GRAPO claimed responsibility for bombing a rail line
outside Madrid and segments of the NATO pipeline in Spain.
Strength Probably fewer than a dozen operatives.
Location/Area of Operation Spain.
External Aid Reported to have had ties to the French Action
Directe and the Italian Red Brigades. The German RAF has sought ties to
Gama'a al-Islamiyya (the Islamic Group,
IG) a.k.a. al-Gama'at, Islamic Gama'at, Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya,
Description: Egypt's largest militant group, active since the
late 1970s; appears to be loosely organized. Has an external wing with a
worldwide presence. Signed Usama Bin Ladin's fatwa in February 1998
calling for attacks against US civilians but publicly has denied that it
supports Bin Ladin. Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman is al-Gama'at's preeminent
spiritual leader, and the group publicly has threatened to retaliate
against US interests for his incarceration. Primary goal is to overthrow
the Egyptian Government 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. Al-Gama'at has launched attacks on tourists in Egypt since
1992, most notably the attack in November 1997 at Luxor that killed 58
foreign tourists. Also claimed responsibility for the attempt in June 1995
to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Strength: Unknown, but probably several thousand hardcore
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. Also appears to
have support in Cairo, Alexandria, and other urban locations, particularly
among unemployed graduates and students. Has a worldwide presence,
including in the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, and Austria.
External Aid: Unknown. The Egyptian Government believes that
Iranian, Sudanese, and Afghan militant groups support the IG.
HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
a.k.a. Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, Students of Ayyash, Students of
the Engineer, Yahya Ayyash Units, Izz Al-Din Al-Qassim Brigades, Izz
Al-Din Al-Qassim Forces, Izz Al-Din Al-Qassim Battalions, Izz al-Din Al
Qassam Brigades, Izz al-Din Al Qassam Forces, Izz al-Din Al Qassam
Description: Formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the
Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various HAMAS elements have
used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the
goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel.
Loosely structured, with some elements working clandestinely and others
working openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit
members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda.
HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the
West Bank. 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 activity take place in Western
Europe and North America.
aka: Fatah Special Operations Group, Martyrs of Tal Al Za'atar, Amn
Description: Part of Yasser Arafat's Fatah apparatus, the group
is named after its leader commonly known as Colonel Hawari, who died in an
automobile crash in May 1991 while traveling from Baghdad to Jordan. The
group has ties historically to Iraq. Membership includes former members of
the radical Palestinian 15 May organization.
Activities: Carried out several attacks in 1985 and 1986, mainly
in Europe and usually against Syrian targets. Has also targeted Americans,
most notably in the April 1986 bombing of TWA Flight 840 over Greece in
which four Americans were killed. Disbanded following Hawari's death.
Location/Area of Operation: Middle Eastern countries and Europe.
External Aid: PLO was main source of support.
of God) a.k.a. 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: Radical Shia group formed in Lebanon; dedicated to
creation of Iranian-style Islamic republic in Lebanon and removal of all
non-Islamic influences from the area. Strongly anti-West and anti-Israel.
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 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)
aka The Provos, Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)
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
Bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, punishment beatings, extortion, and
robberies. Targets have included senior British Government officials,
British military and police in Northern Ireland, and Northern Irish
Loyalist paramilitary groups. Bombing campaigns have been conducted
against train and subway stations and shopping areas on mainland Britain,
as well as against British and Royal Ulster Constabulary targets in
Northern Ireland and a British military facility on the European
Continent. The IRA has been observing a cease-fire since July 1997 and
previously observed a cease-fire from 1 September 1994 to February 1996.
Largely unchanged--several hundred members, plus several thousand
sympathizers--but the IRA's strength may have been affected by operatives
leaving the organization to join hardline splinter groups.
Local/Area of Operation
Northern Ireland, Irish Republic, Great Britain, and Europe.
Has received aid from a variety of groups and countries and considerable
training and arms from Libya and, at one time, the PLO. Is suspected of
receiving funds and arms from sympathizers in the United States.
Similarities in operations suggest links to the ETA.
Description: Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through
violence. Led by Pakistani cleric Shaykh Mubarik Ali Gilani, who
established the organization in the early 1980s. Gilani now resides in
Pakistan, but most cells are located in North America and the Caribbean.
Members have purchased isolated rural compounds in North America to live
communally, practice their faith, and insulate themselves from Western
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 crimes, including murder and fraud.
Strength: Believe disbanded.
Location/Area of Operation: North America, Pakistan.
External Aid: None.
Japanese Red Army (JRA) a.k.a.
Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB), Nippon Sekigun, Nihon
Sekigun, the Holy War Brigade, the Anti-War Democratic Front
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 Syrian-garrisoned area of Lebanon's
Bekaa Valley. Stated goals are to overthrow Japanese Government and
monarchy and help foment world revolution. Organization unclear but may
control or at least have ties to Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB).
Also may have links to Antiwar Democratic Front, an overt leftist
political organization in Japan. Details released following arrest in
November 1987 of leader Osamu Maruoka indicate that JRA may be 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 conducted a series of attacks
around the world, including the massacre in 1972 at Lod Airport in Israel,
two Japanese airliner hijackings (1973 and 1977), and an attempted
takeover of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur (1975). 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 and 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. Eight others have been arrested since
1996, but leader Shigenobu remains at large.
Strength: About eight hardcore members; undetermined number of
Location/Area of Operation: Location unknown, but possibly based
in Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon.
External Aid: Receives aid, including training and base camp
facilities, from radical Palestinian terrorists, especially the PFLP. May
also receive aid from Libya. Suspected of having sympathizers and support
apparatus in Japan.
al-Jihad a.k.a. Egyptian al-Jihad, New
Jihad, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jihad Group
Description: Egyptian Islamic extremist group active since the
late 1970s. Appears to be divided into two factions: one led by Ayman al-Zawahiri--who
currently is in Afghanistan and is a key leader in terrorist financier
Usama Bin Ladin's new World Islamic Front--and the Vanguards of Conquest (Talaa'
al-Fateh) led by Ahmad Husayn Agiza. Abbud al-Zumar, leader of the
original Jihad, is imprisoned in Egypt and recently joined the group's
jailed spiritual leader, Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman, in a call for a
"peaceful front." Primary goal is to overthrow the Egyptian
Government and replace it with an Islamic state. Increasingly willing to
target US interests in Egypt.
Activities: Specializes in armed attacks against high-level
Egyptian Government officials. The original Jihad was responsible for the
assassination in 1981 of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Appears to
concentrate 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. Has not conducted an attack
inside Egypt since 1993 and never has targeted foreign tourists there. Has
threatened to retaliate against the United States, however, for its
incarceration of Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman and, more recently, for the
arrests of its members in Albania, Azerbaijan, and the United Kingdom.
Strength: Not known, but probably several thousand hardcore
members and another several thousand sympathizers among the various
Location/Area of Operation: Operates in the Cairo area. Has a
network outside Egypt, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United
Kingdom, and Sudan.
External Aid: Not known. The Egyptian Government claims that
Iran, Sudan, and militant Islamic groups in Afghanistan--including Usama
Bin Ladin--support the Jihad factions. Also may obtain some funding
through various Islamic nongovernmental organizations.
Rouge aka Party of Democratic Kampuchea
Description: Communist guerilla party 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
people were killed during its four years in power in the late 1970s. There
were large-scale defections from the Khmer Rouge to Cambodian Government
forces in 1996. The Khmer Rouge (KR) Communist insurgency ended in 1999
after a series military defeats and the capture of group leader Ta Mok.
The US State Department removed the group from the list of designated
foreign terrorist organizations in 1999. The Cambodian Government has been
working on a draft law for the United Nations to establish a court to try
former KR for the deaths of up to 2 million persons in Cambodia during the
Activities: Former KR may engage in criminal-type activities,
especially against Vietnamese nationals.
Location/Area of Operation: Operates in outlying provinces in
Cambodia, particularly in pockets along the Thailand border.
External Aid: None.
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) a.k.a. Partiya
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 establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, where
the population is predominantly Kurdish.
Activities: Primary targets are Turkish Government security
forces in Turkey but also has been active in Western Europe against
Turkish targets. In 1986, attacked NATO target in Mardin, Turkey. In the
summer of 1991 the PKK carried out a spate of kidnappings of Westerners;
all were released unharmed. 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. Has thousands of
sympathizers in Turkey and Europe.
Location/Area of Operation: Operates in Turkey, Europe, the
Middle East, and Asia.
External Aid: Has received safehaven and modest aid from Syria,
Iraq, and Iran. The Syrian Government claims to have expelled the PKK from
its territory in October 1998.
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
a.k.a. Tamil Tigers, Ellalan Force. Known front organizations: World Tamil
Association (WTA), World Tamil Movement (WTM), the Federation of
Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), the Sangillan Force
Description: The most powerful Tamil group in Sri Lanka, founded
in 1976. Uses overt and illegal methods to raise funds, acquire weapons,
and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state. Began
its armed conflict with the Sri Lankan Government in 1983 and relies on a
guerrilla strategy that includes the use of terrorist tactics.
Activities: Has integrated a battlefield insurgent strategy with
a terrorist program that targets not only key government personnel in the
countryside but also senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders in
Colombo. LTTE political assassinations and bombings have become
commonplace, including suicide attacks against Sri Lankan President
Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993 and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in
1991. Has refrained from targeting Western tourists out of fear that
foreign governments would crack down on Tamil expatriates involved in
fundraising activities abroad. Prefers to attack vulnerable government
facilities and withdraw before reinforcements arrive.
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: Controls most of the northern and
eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka and has conducted operations throughout
the island. Headquartered in the Jaffna peninsula, 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
External Aid: The LTTE's overt organizations support Tamil
separatism by lobbying foreign governments and the United Nations. Also
uses its international contacts to procure weapons, communications, and
bombmaking equipment. Exploits large Tamil communities in North America,
Europe, and Asia to obtain funds and supplies for its fighters in Sri
Lanka. Some Tamil communities in Europe also are involved in narcotics
Patriotic Front (FPMR)
Description: The FPMR was founded in 1983 as the armed wing of
the Chilean Communist Party and named for a hero in Chile's war of
independence against Spain. The main movement announced it was laying down
arms to become a political movement on 1 June 1991. The group splintered
in 1987 into two factions, of which the dissident wing (FPMR/D) is now one
of Chile's most active terrorist groups.
Activities: FPMR/D is responsible for numerous bombing attacks
against domestic and foreign targets and assassinations of Chileans.
Responsible for many attacks on Mormon churches and US businesses from
1986 through 1992. In November 1990 an FPMR/D bomb concealed in a softball
bat killed a Canadian and injured a US Embassy officer. The group attacked
a Marine guard van at the US Embassy on 16 February 1991 with an antitank
rocket that did not detonate and automatic weapons fire, injuring one US
Strength: 1,000 to 1,500.
Location/Area of Operation: Chile.
External Aid: Received training and weapons support from Cuba in
past years, none in 1991. May cross-train with Peru's MRTA.
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO)
a.k.a. Mujahedin-e Khalq, the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA, the
militant wing of the MEK), People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI),
National Council of Resistance (NCR), Organization of the People's Holy
Warriors of Iran, Sazeman-e Mujahedin-e Khalq-e Iran, 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 it perceived
as excessive Western influence in the Shah's regime. 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: Worldwide campaign against the Iranian Government
stresses propaganda and occasionally uses terrorist violence. During the
1970s the MEK staged terrorist attacks inside Iran and killed several US
military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran.
Supported the takeover in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran. In April 1992
conducted attacks on Iranian embassies in 13 different countries,
demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations
overseas. Recent attacks in Iran include three explosions in Tehran in
June 1998 that killed three persons and the assassination of Asadollah
Lajevardi, the former director of the Evin Prison.
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. In the mid-1980s did not mount terrorist operations in Iran
at a level similar to its activities in the 1970s. In recent years has
claimed credit for a number of operations in Iran.
External Aid: Beyond support from Iraq, the MEK uses front
organizations to solicit contributions from expatriate Iranian
National Liberation Army (ELN) a.k.a.
the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional
Description: Pro-Cuban, anti-US guerrilla group formed in
January 1965. Primarily rural based, although has several urban fronts,
particularly in the Magdalena Medio region. Entered peace talks with
Colombian Civil Society in mid-1998 and was preparing to participate in a
national convention in early 1999.
Activities: Conducted weekly assaults on oil infrastructure
(typically pipeline bombings) and has inflicted massive oil spills.
Extortion and bombings against US and other foreign businesses, especially
the petroleum industry. Annually conducts several hundred kidnappings for
profit, including foreign employees of large corporations. Forces coca and
opium poppy cultivators to pay protection money and attacks government
efforts to eradicate these crops.
Strength: Approximately 3,000-5,000 armed combatants and an
unknown number of active supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Colombia, border regions of
External Aid: None.
New People's Army (NPA)
Description The guerrilla arm of the Communist Party of the
Philippines, 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 revolutionary taxes extorted from local
Activities In addition to guerrilla activities, has used urban
terrorism, including attacks on government officials, police, and military
officers in Manila and other major cities. Has vowed to kill US citizens
who allegedly are involved in the government's counterinsurgency campaign.
The NPA has killed 10 US military members and private American citizens in
the Philippines since 1987. Attacked some US businesses located in rural
areas who refused to pay so-called revolutionary taxes.
Strength 16,000, plus support groups.
Location/Area of Operation Philippines.
External Aid Receives funding from overseas fundraisers in
Western Europe and elsewhere; also linked to Libya. Diverts some funding
of humanitarian aid.
Palestine Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi Faction
a.k.a. PIJ-Shaqaqi Faction, PIJ-Shallah Faction, Palestinian Islamic Jihad
(PIJ), Islamic Jihad of Palestine, Islamic Jihad in Palestine, Abu Ghunaym
Squad of the Hizballah Bayt Al-Maqdis
Description: Originated among militant Palestinians in the Gaza
Strip during the 1970s; a series of loosely affiliated factions rather
than a cohesive group. 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. Also opposes moderate Arab governments that it believes
have been tainted by Western secularism.
Activities: Has threatened to retaliate against Israel and the
United States for the murder of PIJ leader Fathi Shaqaqi in Malta in
October 1995. Conducted suicide bombings against Israeli targets in the
West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel. Has threatened to attack US interests
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-Abu Abbas Faction
a.k.a. the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), PLF-Abu Abbas
Description: 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 conducted attacks
against Israel. Abbas's group also was 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.
Description Founded in 1964 as a Palestinian nationalist
umbrella organization dedicated to the establishment of an independent
Palestinian state. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, control devolved to
the leadership of the various fedayeen militia groups, the most dominant
of which was Yasser Arafat's Al-Fatah. In 1969, Arafat became chairman of
the PLO's Executive Committee, a position he still holds. In the early
1980s, PLO became fragmented into several contending groups but remains
the preeminent Palestinian organization. The United States considers the
PLO an umbrella organization that includes several constituent groups and
individuals holding differing views on terrorism. At the same time, US
policy accepts that elements of the PLO have advocated, carried out, or
accepted responsibility for acts of terrorism. PLO Chairman Arafat
publicly renounced terrorism in December 1988 on behalf of the PLO. The
United States considers that all PLO groups, including Al-Fatah, Force 17,
Hawari Group, PLF, and PFLP, are bound by Arafat's renunciation of
terrorism. The US-PLO dialogue was suspended after the PLO failed to
condemn the 30 May 1990 PLF attack on Israeli beaches. PLF head Abu Abbas
left the PLO Executive Committee in September 1991; his seat was filled by
another PLF member.
Activities In the early 1970s, several groups affiliated with
the PLO carried out numerous international terrorist attacks. By the
mid-1970s, under international pressure, the PLO claimed it would restrict
attacks to Israel and the occupied territories. Several terrorist attacks
were later carried out by groups affiliated with the PLO/Fatah, including
the Hawari Group, the Palestine Liberation Front, and Force 17, against
targets inside and outside Israel.
Strength See numbers for affiliated groups.
Location/Area of Operation Tunis, other bases in various
countries in the Middle East.
External Aid See affiliated groups. Accurate public information
on financial support for the PLO by Arab governments is difficult to
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
a.k.a. the Red Eagles, the Red Eagle Group, the Red Eagle Gang, the Halhul
Gang, the Halhul Squad
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 has conducted numerous attacks against
Israeli or moderate Arab targets, including killing a settler and her son
in December 1996.
Strength: Some 800.
Location/Area of Operation: Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the
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 it wanted to
focus more on fighting and less on politics. Violently opposed to Arafat's
PLO. Led by Ahmad Jabril, a former captain in the Syrian Army. Closely
tied to both Syria and Iran.
Activities: Has conducted 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 with bases
in Lebanon and cells in Europe.
External Aid: Receives logistic and military support from Syria
and financial support from Iran.
al-Qa'ida a.k.a. al Qaeda, "the Base,"
the Islamic Army, the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and
Crusaders, the Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, the
Usama Bin Laden Network, the Usama Bin Laden Organization, Islamic
Salvation Foundation, The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites.
Description: Established by Osama Bin Ladin about 1989 to bring
together Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion.
Helped finance, recruit, transport, and train Sunni Islamic extremists for
the Afghan resistance. Current goal is to "reestablish the Muslim
State" throughout the world. Works with allied Islamic extremist
groups to overthrow regimes it deems "non-Islamic" and remove
Westerners from Muslim countries. Issued statement under banner of
"The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against The Jews and
Crusaders" in February 1998, saying it was the duty of all Muslims to
kill US citizens, civilian or military, and their allies everywhere.
Activities: Conducted the bombings of the US Embassies in
Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on 7 August that killed at
least 301 persons and injured more than 5,000 others. Claims to have shot
down US helicopters and killed US servicemen in Somalia in 1993 and to
have conducted three bombings targeted against the US troop presence in
Aden, Yemen in December 1992. Linked to plans for attempted terrorist
operations, including the assassination of the Pope during his visit to
Manila in late 1994; simultaneous bombings of the US and Israeli Embassies
in Manila and other Asian capitals in late 1994; the midair bombing of a
dozen US trans-Pacific flights in 1995; and a plan to kill President
Clinton during a visit to the Philippines in early 1995. Continues to
train, finance, and provide logistic support to terrorist groups that
support these goals.
Strength: May have from several hundred to several thousand
members. Also serves as the core of a loose umbrella organization that
includes many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, including factions of the
Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Gama'at al-Islamiyya, and the Harakat
Location/Area of Operation: The Embassy bombings in Nairobi and
Dar es Salaam underscore al-Qa'ida's global reach. Bin Ladin and his key
lieutenants reside in Afghanistan, and the group maintains terrorist
training camps there.
External Aid: Bin Ladin, son of a billionaire Saudi family, is
said to have inherited around $300 million that he uses to finance the
group. Al-Qa'ida also maintains money-making businesses, collects
donations from like-minded supporters, and illicitly siphons funds from
donations to Muslim charitable organizations.
Red Army Faction (RAF)
Description: The small and disciplined RAF is the successor to
the Baader-Meinhof Gang, which originated in the student protest movement
in the 1960s. Ideology is an obscure mix of Marxism and Maoism; committed
to armed struggle. Organized into hardcore cadres that carry out terrorist
attacks and a network of supporters who provide logistic and propaganda
support. Has survived despite numerous arrests of top leaders over the
Activities: Bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and
robberies. With decline of world communism, has had trouble recruiting
replacements for jailed members. Now concentrating on domestic targets,
particularly officials involved in German or European unification and
German security and justice officials. Carried out one operation in 1993,
destroying a new prison with 600 pounds of commercial explosives. Police
shootout with two members ended in death of GSG-9 officer and group member
Wolfgang Grams. Group temporarily galvanized afterward. RAF has targeted
US and NATO facilities in the past. During Gulf war, RAF shot up US
Embassy in Bonn with assault rifle rounds. There were no casualties,
Strength: Ten to 20, plus several hundred supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Germany.
External Aid: Self-sustaining, but during Baader-Meinhof period
received support from Middle Eastern terrorists. East Germany gave
logistic support, sanctuary, and training during the 1980s.
Description: Formed in 1969, the Marxist-Leninist BR seeks to
create a revolutionary state through armed struggle and to separate Italy
from the Western Alliance. In 1984 split into two factions: the Communist
Combatant Party (BR-PCC) and the Union of Combatant Communists (BR-UCC).
Activities: Original group concentrated on assassination and
kidnapping of Italian Government and private-sector targets; it murdered
former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978. [Extreme leftist sympathizers
have carried out several small-scale terrorist attacks to protest the
presence and foreign policies of both the United States and NATO, ]
kidnapped US Army Brig. Gen. James Dozier in 1981, and claimed
responsibility for murdering Leamon Hunt, US chief of the Sinai
Multinational Force and Observer Group, in 1984. The group had been
largely inactive since Italian and French authorities arrested many of its
members in 1989. [With limited resources and followers to carry out major
terrorist acts, the group is mostly out of business.]
Strength: Probably fewer than 50, plus an unknown number of
Location/Area of Operation: Based and operates in Italy. Some
members probably living clandestinely in other European countries.
External Aid: Currently unknown; original group apparently was
self-sustaining but probably received weapons from other Western European
terrorist groups and from the PLO.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
a.k.a. Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia
Description: The largest, best-trained, and best-equipped
insurgent organization in Colombia. Established in 1964 as a rural-based,
pro-Soviet guerrilla army. Organized along military lines and includes
several urban fronts. Has been anti-United States since its inception. The
FARC agreed in 1998 to enter into preliminary peace talks with the
Colombian Government. The Pastrana administration demilitarized five large
rural municipalities to meet FARC conditions for peace talks. (President
Pastrana traveled to this area on 7 January 1999 to inaugurate peace talks
with guerrilla leaders, although the FARC's senior-most leader failed to
Activities: Armed attacks against Colombian political, economic,
military, and police targets. Many members pursue criminal activities,
carrying out hundreds of kidnappings for profit annually. Foreign citizens
often are targets of FARC kidnappings. Group has well-documented ties to
narcotics traffickers, principally through the provision of armed
protection for coca and poppy cultivation and narcotics production
facilities, as well as through attacks on government narcotics eradication
efforts. Also began in 1998 a bombing campaign against oil pipelines.
Strength: Approximately 8,000-12,000 armed combatants and an
unknown number of supporters, mostly in rural areas.
Location/Area of Operation: Colombia, with occasional operations
in border areas of Venezuela, Panama, Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador.
External Aid: None.
Revolutionary Organization 17 November
(17 November) a.k.a. Epanastatiki Organosi 17 Noemvri
Description: Radical leftist group established in 1975 and named
for the student uprising in Greece in November 1973 that protested the
military regime. Anti-Greek establishment, anti-US, anti-Turkey,
anti-NATO, and 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). Possibly affiliated with other Greek terrorist
Activities: Initial attacks were selected handgun assassinations
against senior US officials, including US Embassy official Richard Welch
in 1975 and US Navy Capt. George Tsantes in 1983. Began assassinating
Greek officials and public figures in 1976 and added bombings, including
attacks against US military buses in 1987 and assassination of US defense
attache William Nordeen in 1988. 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 a.k.a. Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left), Dev Sol, Devrimci
Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi (DHKP/C), Dev Sol Silahli Devrimci
Birlikleri, Dev Sol SDB, Dev Sol Armed Revolutionary Units
Description: Originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev
Sol, a splinter faction of the Turkish People's Liberation Party/Front.
Renamed in 1994 after factional infighting, it espouses a Marxist ideology
and is virulently anti-US and anti-NATO. 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. Assassinated two US
military contractors and wounded a US Air Force officer to protest the
Gulf war. Launched rockets at US Consulate in Istanbul in 1992.
Assassinated prominent Turkish businessman in early 1996, its first
significant terrorist act as DHKP/C.
Location/Area of Operation: Conducts attacks in
Turkey--primarily in Istanbul--Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Raises funds in
External Aid: Unknown.
Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA)
a.k.a. Epanastatikos Laikos Agonas, Revolutionary Popular Struggle,
Popular Revolutionary Struggle, June 78, Organization of Revolutionary
Internationalist Solidarity, Revolutionary Nuclei, Revolutionary Cells,
Description: Extreme leftist group that developed from
opposition to the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.
Formed in 1971, ELA is a self-described revolutionary, anti-capitalist,
and anti-imperialist group that has declared its opposition to
"imperialist domination, exploitation, and oppression"; Strongly
anti-US and seeks the removal of US military forces from Greece.
Activities: Since 1974 has conducted bombings against Greek
Government and economic targets as well as US military and business
facilities. In 1986 stepped up attacks on Greek Government and commercial
interests. Raid on a safehouse in 1990 revealed a weapons cache and direct
contacts with other Greek terrorist groups, including 1 May and
Revolutionary Solidarity. In 1991, ELA and 1 May claimed joint
responsibility for over 20 bombings. Greek police believe they have
established a link between the ELA and the Revolutionary Organization 17
Location/Area of Operation: Greece.
External Aid: No known foreign sponsors.
Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
a.k.a. Partido Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos
Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos
Mariategui), Partido Comunista del Peru (Communist Party of Peru), PCP,
Socorro Popular del Peru (People's Aid of Peru), SPP, Ejercito Guerrillero
Popular (People's Guerrilla Army), EGP, Ejercito Popular de Liberacion
(People's Liberation Army), EPL
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 Peruvian President Fujimori's amnesty program for
Activities: Has engaged in particularly brutal forms of
terrorism, including the indiscriminate use of bombs. Conducted fewer
attacks in 1998, generally limited to rural areas. 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. Conducts 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 few violent
attacks in the capital.
External Aid: No known foreign sponsors, although SL
sympathizers in Latin America, North America, and Europe obtain political
and possibly some financial support from local radicals. Receives money
from drug trade, including Colombian narcotics traffickers.
Description Sikh terrorism is sponsored by a number of Indian
and expatriate Sikh groups who want to carve out an independent Sikh state
called Khalistan (``Land of the Pure'') from Indian territory. Sikh
violence outside India, which surged following the Indian Army's 1984
assault on the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine, has decreased but
remains high. Groups that have carried out acts of terrorism include the
Dashmesh or 10th Regiment (active in India, Germany, and Canada); Dal
Khalsa; Babbar Khalsa (India, Western Europe, Canada); and the All-India
Sikh Students Federation (militant wing of the main Sikh party, the Akali
Dal, now splintered).
Activities Regular and bloody attacks mounted frequently in
India against Hindus and against Indian officials and facilities,
particularly in Punjab; they include assassinations, bombings, and
kidnappings. Sikh extremists probably bombed the Air India jet downed over
the Irish Sea in June 1985, killing 329 passengers and crew. On the same
day, a bomb planted by Sikhs on an Air India flight from Vancouver
exploded in Tokyo's Narita airport, killing two Japanese baggage handlers.
In 1991, Sikh terrorists attempted to assassinate the Indian Ambassador in
Romania--once India's senior police officer in Punjab (1986-89)--and
kidnapped and held the Romanian Charge in New Delhi for seven weeks. Sikh
attacks within India, ranging from kidnappings and bombings to
assassinations, continue at a high level. Indian security forces captured
or killed many Sikh leaders in 1992, however, and total civilian deaths in
Punjab have dropped as compared to 1991, when more than 3,300 civilians
died. There was a marked drop in the number of killings during the closing
months of 1992.
Location/Area of Operation India, Western Europe, and North
External Aid 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
Terra Lliure (TL) (Free
Description Leftwing Catalonian separatist terrorist group
formed in the 1970s with the goal of establishing an independent
Marxist state in the Spanish Provinces of Catalonia and Valencia.
Leadership announced in July 1991 that the group had ceased terrorist
operations, but hardcore members may remain active.
Activities Mainly small-scale bombing attacks against property
in northeastern Spain. Targets include foreign banks and travel agencies.
Reportedly renounced terrorism in July 1991.
Location/Area of Operation Spain.
External Aid None known.
Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) a.k.a.
Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru
Description: Traditional Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement
formed in 1983. Aims 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, assassinations.
Previously responsible for large number of anti-US attacks; recent
activity has dropped off dramatically. Most members have been jailed.
Nonetheless, in December 1996, 14 MRTA members overtook the Japanese
Ambassador's residence in Lima during a diplomatic reception, capturing
hundreds. Government forces stormed the residence in April, 1997 rescuing
all but one of the remaining hostages. Has not conducted a significant
terrorist operation since then.
Strength: Believed to have fewer than 100 remaining members.
Location/Area of Operation: Peru.
External Aid: None.
Don't miss our lists of terrorist acts for the Super70s
We would like to thank the Office of
the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State for
the information above.