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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)
Al-Fatah

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)
Aum Shinriykyo

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Chukaku-Ha
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
Devrimci Sol

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)
Hawari Group

Hizballah (Party of God)
Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Jamaat ul-Fuqra

Japanese Red Army (JRA)
al-Jihad
Khmer Rouge

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)
Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR)

Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, NCR, and many others)
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 Command (PFLP-GC)
al-Qa'ida
Red Army Faction (RAF)

Revolutionary 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)
Symbionese 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 operations.

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 Organization

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 April 1988.

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 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.

 Chukaku-Ha (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.

Strength 3,500.

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 Hawatmah.

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 Libya.

 Devrimci Sol 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 Palestinians.

Farabundo Marti 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 to another.

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.

 First of 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 revolutionary regime.

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 the group.

Gama'a al-Islamiyya (the Islamic Group, IG) a.k.a. al-Gama'at, Islamic Gama'at, Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, GI

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 Battalions

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.

 Hawari Group aka: Fatah Special Operations Group, Martyrs of Tal Al Za'atar, Amn Araissi

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.

Strength: Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation: Middle Eastern countries and Europe.

External Aid: PLO was main source of support.

Hizballah (Party 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)

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, 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.

Strength
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.

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. Is suspected of receiving funds and arms from sympathizers in the United States. Similarities in operations suggest links to the ETA.

 Jamaat ul-Fuqra

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 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 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 sympathizers.

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 factions.

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.

 Khmer 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 1975-79 period.

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 Karkeran Kurdistan

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 control.

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 smuggling.

 Manuel Rodriguez 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 marine.

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 communities.

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 Venezuela.

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 business.

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 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-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.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

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 obtain.

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 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 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 ul-Mujahidin.

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 years.

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, however.

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.

 Red Brigades (BR)

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 supporters.

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 attend.)

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 groups.

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.

Strength: Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation: Conducts attacks in Turkey--primarily in Istanbul--Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Raises funds in Western Europe.

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, Liberation Struggle

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 November.

Strength: Unknown.

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 repentant terrorists.

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.

 Sikh Terrorism

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.

Strength Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation India, Western Europe, and North America.

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 Federation.

 Terra Lliure (TL) (Free Land)

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.

Strength Unknown.

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 and Awesome80s.

We would like to thank the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State for the information above.

 


 

ACTS OF TERROR

January 1, 1986: A pilot is strapped into the cockpit of an A-7E Corsair II aircraft aboard the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV-66) during operation El Dorado, a retaliatory strike on Libyan terrorist targets.

DoD photo by Dave Lee


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