printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Europe Overview


Patterns of Global Terrorism
Bureau of African Affairs
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
April 30, 2003
Report
Share

"Terrorism and weapons of mass destruction combine modern technology and political or religious fanaticism.  If unchecked they will, as September 11 showed us, explode into disorder and chaos."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair
September 10, 2002

European nations continued to work in close partnership with the United States in the global counterterrorism campaign. In addition to sharing intelligence information and working with the United States on investigations of terrorist groups, European countries forged closer cooperative links with their neighbors. As a result, European authorities arrested a significant number of terrorists, disrupted planning for terrorist attacks, and intercepted funds destined for terrorist organizations.

The United Kingdom continued its close partnership with the United States, redoubling its counterterrorism efforts around the world. UK authorities detained several extremists in the United Kingdom on terrorism-related charges. The United Kingdom aggressively moved to freeze the assets of organizations and persons with terrorist links and to proscribe terrorist groups. The United Kingdom provided significant counterterrorism assistance and training to a number of countries and worked with other countries to investigate the Bali bombings in October 2002.

Italy continued its exemplary work against terrorism, disrupting suspected terrorist cells and capturing al-Qaida suspects in Milan and elsewhere who were providing support to terrorist operations and planning attacks. An Italian court sentenced members of the Tunisian Combatant Group to prison terms, marking the first conviction of al-Qaida associates in Europe since 11 September 2001. Members of the New Red Brigades, an offshoot of the once-powerful entity that disrupted Italian life in the 1970s, are suspected of the murder of an adviser to the Italian Government. Other terrorist groups also carried out several small-scale attacks.

Spain's vigorous investigation of extremist groups resulted in the detention of a significant number of terrorist suspects, including two individuals believed to be financiers for the al-Qaida network. Spanish police, working with French counterparts, also continued to score substantial successes against the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization, arresting two of the group's senior leaders. Spanish and French authorities dealt a strong blow against the First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO) when they conducted a joint investigation that resulted in the arrest of over 20 GRAPO suspects. French investigators probed terrorist attacks that killed at least 20 French citizens in Tunisia, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

Cooperation among European law-enforcement authorities was a feature of many successes during the past year. For example, in addition to joint efforts between France and Spain against ETA and GRAPO, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and others were involved in investigations of "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

Officials in Germany continued their extensive investigation of extremists associated with the al-Qaida Hamburg cell that supported the September 11 hijackers. Germany also placed several high-profile terrorists on trial, including a member of the Hamburg cell and four North Africans accused of plotting to attack the Strasbourg Christmas market in 2000. Twenty German citizens fell victim to terrorist attacks in Djerba, Tunisia, and in Bali, Indonesia.

Turkey arrested a number of individuals with ties to al-Qaida and continued to fight dangerous domestic terrorist groups. For the first time, Greece arrested members of Revolutionary Organization 17 November, marking significant progress against a domestic terrorism problem. The arrests appeared to have begun the unraveling and dismantling of one of Europe's oldest terrorist groups.

The countries of southeast Europe have actively supported the international Coalition against terrorism. Albania and Bulgaria have extended blanket landing and overflight clearances. Along with Croatia, they have also contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and weapons and ammunition to the Afghan National Army. Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina have shut down nongovernmental organizations with links to terrorist networks and frozen terrorist assets, and the Bosnian Government arrested and transferred to US control several terrorist suspects accused of planning an attack against the US Embassy in Sarajevo.

Denmark also made noteworthy contributions to the war on terrorism. On the economic front under its European Union (EU) Presidency leadership, in forging a workable EU Clearinghouse they froze assets of terrorist groups, even those not taken to the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1267 Sanctions Committee. On the military front, they continued their commitment to Operation Enduring Freedom through the Danish-Norwegian-Dutch F-16 contingent at Manas Airbase.

Heads of State and government met at the Prague Summit in November to endorse NATO's commitment to develop capabilities to meet new challenges such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Albania

Despite its limited resources, Albania has provided considerable support on counterterrorism. Albania supported US and international counterterrorist initiatives by extending blanket landing and overflight clearances for Operation Enduring Freedom; providing commando troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and weapons to the Afghan National Army; and adopting legislation to coordinate the counterterrorism efforts of its police, military, intelligence service, and Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs. Albania also joined international efforts to fight terrorism by signing agreements with Germany to repatriate illegal immigrants and with Romania to combat terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Albania had some success in implementing measures at its major ports to combat illegal trafficking.

Tirana took measures to freeze terrorist assets and shut down nongovernmental organizations suspected of international extremist activity and detained or expelled individuals suspected of having links to terrorism. Albania also provided ongoing close cooperation to the United States in sharing information and investigating terrorist-related groups and activities. Institutional weaknesses, corruption, organized crime, and difficult terrain continued to hamper Albania's ability to carry out counterterrorism initiatives, however. Efforts to strengthen Albania's money-laundering legislation in May did not clarify or increase the scope of the laws in 2002, but Parliament expects to pass improved legislation, including specific terrorist-financing provisions, in 2003.

The aftershocks of the Chechen hostage crisis at the Moscow Theater in Russia reached Albania. At the Russian Government's request, Albania denied entry to Chechen delegates who tried to attend the Transnational Radical Party Congress, which supports Chechen independence. Although a previously unknown Islamic terrorist group, "Allah's Martyrs," threatened to disrupt the Congress, the Government stepped up security measures, and the Congress concluded peacefully.

Albania is a party to 11 of the 12 UN international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

Belgium

The Belgian Government has cooperated with US counterterrorism efforts on several levels. Brussels was timely and proactive in sharing information with the United States regarding terrorist threats to US citizens or facilities. Belgium's Financial Intelligence Unit provided the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit with information on individuals and entities with suspected ties to terrorist groups. The Belgian General Intelligence and Security Service also cooperated closely with US authorities.

Belgian authorities are continuing their investigations of several individuals arrested in 2001 who are of interest to the United States. Authorities are examining Richard Reid's activities and associates in Belgium, particularly in light of Reid's stay at a Brussels hotel shortly before he attempted to ignite his shoe bomb while on American Airlines Flight 63 in December 2001. Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian national arrested by Belgian authorities in September 2001 for his involvement with a plot to bomb the US Embassy in Paris, claimed in June 2002 that his plan was to attack Kleine Brogel airbase in Belgium. Authorities have nearly completed the investigation of Tarek Maaroufi—a Tunisian-born Belgian national arrested in December 2001 for allegedly providing forged passports to the two assassins of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Belgian authorities have been working on several initiatives to improve the country's counterterrorism capabilities. In May 2002, the Government created the Office of the Federal Prosecutor, which has the potential of becoming a centralized point of contact for counterterrorism cooperation with other countries. Before the September 11 attacks, Belgium had established an Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) within the federal police to centralize domestic investigations of terrorism-related activity. While the ATU was not given formal jurisdiction over terrorism-related cases, it works closely with local police.

Parliament passed legislation expanding the range of investigative measures available to police and was to consider a draft bill that would enhance the Government's ability to combat terrorism. The bill defines and outlaws membership in, or support for, a terrorist organization. Additional pieces of legislation aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the intelligence service to track terrorist suspects and increasing the access of counterterrorism officials to information gathered by independent investigative magistrates were also being drafted.

Belgium is a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Belgium has frozen the assets of individuals and entities included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee's consolidated list of individuals as being associated with Usama Bin Ladin, members of al-Qaida, and members of the Taliban.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has taken a strong stance against terrorism and condemned acts of international terrorism. Bosnia is a party to seven of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and has initiated procedures to ratify four additional ones.

In early 2002, BiH authorities arrested and transferred to US control several individuals suspected of planning an attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo. In October, Stabilization Force (SFOR) detained an individual linked to al-Qaida for conducting surveillance of SFOR personnel and facilities and for possessing a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. (The suspect was turned over to Bosnian Federation authorities in late January 2003, who released him on bail. The Federation Government filed charges against him for illegal weapons possession in February 2003.)

In accordance with UNSCRs 1267 and 1373, the Government also froze the assets and prohibited future transactions of several Islamic nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, and the Global Relief Fund, which have direct links to al-Qaida and Usama Bin Ladin. Documents seized from the offices of the BIF link its leader directly to Usama Bin Ladin. Bosnian cooperation with US law enforcement, including the testimony of BiH officials, supported successful prosecution of the BIF leader in US Federal Court.

The Government has continued to investigate the role of six former Bosnian Federation officials suspected of operating a terrorist-training camp in BiH with Iran in the mid-1990s. Criticism by nationalist Bosnian Muslim politicians, particularly in the runup to October's general elections, appears to have made some officials hesitant to pursue this case and other high-profile counterterrorism actions, however. The formation of nationalist governments at the state, entity, and cantonal levels may adversely affect future cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The Bosnian Government introduced measures to address some of the administrative and legal challenges it faces in combating terrorism. The Government strengthened its border and financial controls, created a unified Federation intelligence service, and created Bosnia's first national identity card. (The High Representative's imposition of a new state-level criminal code and criminal procedure code in January 2003 reinforced the criminal justice system, including specific provisions aimed at terrorism.) Several additional pieces of antiterrorism legislation remain pending before parliament, however. As of October 2002, the State Border System had assumed coverage over 100 percent of Bosnia's borders and all operating international airports. Since introducing tighter immigration controls, authorities have reduced illegal immigration via Sarajevo Airport by an estimated 90 percent. The State Information and Protection Agency, whose mission includes combating terrorism, illegal trafficking, organized crime, and smuggling of weapons of mass destruction, thus far has been ineffective because it lacks authority and resources.

France

France has provided outstanding military, judicial, and law-enforcement support to the war against terrorism. France made a significant military contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom, including some 4,200 military personnel supporting operations in Afghanistan. The Charles de Gaulle carrier battle group flew more than 2,000 air reconnaissance, strike, and electronic warfare missions over Afghanistan. France provided close air support to US and Coalition forces during Operation Anaconda.

French investigators cooperated in a joint investigation with the FBI of Richard Reid, the would-be "shoe bomber." In the 30-day period after Reid's arrest in December 2001, the FBI and the Paris Criminal Brigade maintained often twice-daily contact with US authorities and provided information that proved critical to building the criminal case against Reid. French authorities have continued aggressively to pursue leads related to the Reid case.

The French Government reached a compromise agreement with the United States to provide evidence gathered in the Zacarias Moussaoui case, despite domestic criticism.

The French judiciary continued to pursue domestic terrorism cases vigorously. A French court in October convicted and sentenced two Islamist terrorists to life in prison for their roles in a series of bombings of the Paris subway in 1995 that killed eight persons and wounded more than 200. In October, the Justice Ministry decided to add a fifth investigative magistrate to its specialized team of antiterrorist judges.

In November, French authorities arrested Slimane Khalfaoui, who is likely associated with the Meliani cell, a group of five individuals arrested in December 2000 and April 2001 for allegedly planning to attack the cathedral square in Strasbourg, France. Khalfaoui also is suspected of ties to Ahmad Ressam—the Algerian arrested in December 1999 at the US-Canadian border in an alleged plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport—and Rabah Kadri, an Islamic radical arrested in the United Kingdom for a plot to attack the London subway.

France continued to cooperate with Spain in dismantling Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), the Basque terrorist organization. In November, both countries signed a protocol granting Spanish counterterrorism officials enhanced access to French information obtained from arrested ETA members. In September, two principal ETA leaders, Juan Antonio Olarra and Ainhoa Mugica Goni, were arrested in a joint operation in Bordeaux. Olarra was linked to at least nine murders.

In October, France requested that the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee add two North African terrorist groups operating in France—the Tunisian Combatant Group and the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group—to its consolidated list of individuals and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, al-Qaida, and the Taliban. The United States subsequently blocked the groups' assets under Executive Order 13224. Despite its generally cooperative stance against terrorism, France opposes listing Hizballah as a terrorist organization. France designates terrorist groups in concert with the EU. The EU has designated the "terrorist wing" of HAMAS but not the group as a whole, citing its political and social role in Lebanon.

France has become a party to 11 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

Terrorists attacked French interests or citizens several times in 2002. In April, two French citizens were killed in a suicide attack against a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. In May, a suicide bomber exploded a vehicle alongside a bus in Karachi, killing 14 persons, including 11 French engineers. Terrorists also attacked the Limburg, a French supertanker, off the coast of Yemen in October. The attack resulted in one casualty and caused an oil spill of 90,000 barrels into the Gulf of Aden. Four French nationals were killed and seven wounded in the bombing of a Bali nightclub in October. The Corsican National Liberation Front claimed responsibility for a string of nonlethal bombings in Paris and Marseilles in early May. There were multiple, nonlethal, unclaimed bombings on Corsica in November.

Germany

Courtroom sketch of Mounir el Motassadeq, on trial for allegedly aiding the Hamburg terrorist cell (AP copyrighted photo)Germany is an active and critically important participant in the global Coalition against terrorism. The country's efforts have made a valuable contribution to fighting terrorists inside and outside of German territory.

Several German citizens were killed in terrorist attacks in 2002. In April, 14 German tourists died in a suicide attack against a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. Six German citizens were killed in the bombing of a Bali nightclub in October. During 2002, Germany played an important role in both Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the UN's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Germany's contribution to OEF included 100 special-forces soldiers; 50 troops manning nuclear, biological, and chemical detection units in Kuwait; and approximately 1,800 personnel in a naval task force off the Horn of Africa. Germany reinforced ISAF's capabilities with approximately 1,300 troops, and German troop levels will increase to approximately 2,500 in connection with the undertaking by Germany and the Netherlands in December to assume leadership of ISAF in February 2003.

Germany has taken a lead role in Afghanistan's reconstruction through humanitarian and development assistance. German personnel helped train and equip a new Afghan police force, and Germany contributed 10 million Euros to the force.

German law-enforcement officials arrested several suspected terrorists. In October, authorities arrested Abdelghani Mzoudi for allegedly supporting the al-Qaida cell in Hamburg involved in the 11 September 2001 attacks. Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan national who was arrested in November 2001 for his alleged membership in the Hamburg cell, went on trial, and it was continuing at year's end. (El Motassadeq was convicted early in 2003.) Five reported members of the al-Qaida-linked al-Tawhid organization were arrested in April and were awaiting indictment. German police thwarted a possible terrorist attack when they arrested a Turkish male and an American female suspected of attempting to bomb the US military base in Heidelberg.

In April, a trial opened in Frankfurt against four Algerians and a Moroccan accused of planning an attack on the Strasbourg Christmas market in December 2000. Some of the defendants claim that their intention was to bomb an empty Jewish synagogue but not kill anyone.

After lengthy negotiations, Germany agreed in November to provide the US Government with President Bush and Secretary Powell walk past honor guards in Berlin (AP copyrighted photo)evidence in the US trial of French national Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested in August 2001 and is suspected of involvement with the 11 September hijackings.

Germany continued to take action against Caliphate State—a radical Turkish Islamic group based in Cologne—which was outlawed in December 2001. In September 2002, German authorities banned another 16 groups linked to Caliphate State and raided the homes and offices of suspected affiliates.

Germany has adopted antiterrorism reforms that should further its ability to fight terrorism. The reforms include bolstering the ability of intelligence officials and police to identify and pursue suspected terrorists, screening visa applicants for terrorists, improving border security, and allowing armed air marshals on German aircraft. Germany broadened its legal code to permit prosecutions of terrorists based outside of the country. Germany also modified its law on associations to remove the "religious privilege" clause, which had allowed extremist organizations to operate freely as religious organizations. The Government has used its new legislation, particularly the strengthened law on associations, to ban violence-prone extremist organizations.

Strong data-privacy protections and high evidentiary standards mean that terrorist investigations may take several months before arrests can be made, although administrative measures under the law of associations can be used to hamper the activities of extremist groups. Strong German opposition to the US death penalty has complicated efforts to forge a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States, but negotiations are continuing.

Germany is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

Germany has frozen 30 bank accounts associated with terrorist groups valued at about $95,000.

In 2002, Germany was chosen to chair the international Financial Action Task Force, which coordinates multilateral efforts on countering terrorist financing and money laundering.

Greece

Greece made significant progress in 2002 combating domestic terrorism. For the first time, Greek authorities arrested suspected members of Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November), a group regarded as one of Europe's deadliest and most enduring in its nearly three decades of operations. Eighteen suspects were put on trial. The Government seized assets belonging to suspected 17 November members and blocked accounts belonging to other indigenous European terrorist organizations. Police also have been seeking evidence that will allow them to arrest members of Greece's other domestic terrorist groups, including Revolutionary Nuclei, its predecessor Revolutionary Peoples' Struggle, and 1 May. Despite the high-profile arrests, other leftist groups and anarchists conducted low-level attacks and demonstrations in Athens and Thessaloniki. The number of anti-US terrorist attacks—all nonlethal—rose from 2001's low of three to seven.

The Greek Government's record against transnational terrorist groups is mixed. It provided engineering troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, stationed a frigate in the Arabian Sea, and deployed two cargo aircraft to Pakistan to support the global Coalition against terrorism. The Government also ordered all banks and credit institutions to search for and block accounts belonging to Usama Bin Ladin, the al-Qaida network, and officials of the former Taliban regime.

Greece is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

The Government continued its security preparations for the 2004 Olympics and views the Games as an opportunity to increase international counterterrorism cooperation. To comply with EU counterterrorism regulations, Greece was expected to pass counterterrorism legislation mandating minimum sentences for terrorists and extending the statute of limitations for terrorist-related homicides from 20 to 30 years, in early 2003. Greece also pledged counterterrorism cooperation with its neighbors Romania and Bulgaria.

Hungary

Hungary has been fully supportive of the war against terrorism and US initiatives against al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations both within its borders and abroad. Throughout 2002, Hungary maintained consistent political support for the war on terror, actively promoting the US position in NATO and the UN, and giving high-level endorsement to our policies.

In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Hungary developed a package of excess weapons, ammunition, and equipment to be donated to help with our Georgia Train and Equip Program and the Afghan National Army training project. The total amount for Afghanistan was 437 tons, valued at $3.7 million. The Georgia program was 8 tons, valued at $25,000. Also in 2002, Hungary offered a military medical unit as part of the International Security Assistance Force peacekeeping force, which was to deploy in early March to Afghanistan.

The Government has affirmed the previous government's commitment to contribute $1 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, $300,000 of which was sent in December 2001 and the remainder of which will be delivered in 2003. Also in 2002, Hungary ratified the last of the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism; it is now a party to all 12. In addition to a December 2001 law on money laundering and terrorist financing which brought it into full compliance with EU and Financial Action Task Force norms, Hungary has developed additional legislation which would go well beyond that of most countries in reporting requirements for financial transactions. This legislation is currently before the Hungarian Parliament.

Cooperation with US and regional officials on export and border controls also continues to be outstanding. In several cases, Hungarian officials have proactively pursued and developed leads and provided extensive cooperation to US officers that have stopped the transshipment of hazardous goods. Hungary is actively improving its technical ability to track and control dangerous materials, and its imminent accession into the EU is accelerating this process. Finally, Hungary has been active in mentoring its neighbors to the south and east and in 2002 offered four training courses or programs on counterterrorism and export controls for Balkan neighbors.

Italy

Italy has been an active partner in the war against terror, providing its only carrier battle group—more than 13 percent of its naval forces—to support combat operations in the North Arabian Sea for use in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The "De La Penne" group (a destroyer and a frigate) relieved the carrier battle group on 15 March 2002. In addition to the 350 Italian troops serving as part of the International Security and Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the Italian Parliament agreed in October to send some 1,000 soldiers to support OEF and deployed troops shortly thereafter. The Italian Air Force has been flying sorties out of Manas Airbase, and Italian engineers helped repair a runway at Bagram Airfield.

Italian police arrested several suspected terrorists and disrupted potential attacks against the United States and its allies. In May, Italian police in Milan arrested five individuals who were suspected of providing funds to al-Qaida. In October, Italian authorities arrested four Tunisians for document forgery; they may have also been planning to conduct a terrorist attack in Europe, possibly in France.

Italy prosecuted several al-Qaida-affiliated individuals, putting on trial three North Africans suspected of providing logistics support to the group. In February, a judge in Milan sentenced four members of the Tunisian Combatant Group to up to five years in jail for providing false documentation and planning to acquire and transport arms and other illegal goods. Italian authorities also suspect the group was planning a terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Rome. This was the first time al-Qaida associates were convicted in Europe since 11 September 2001.

In August, working with the US Treasury Department, Italian authorities froze the assets of 25 individuals and organizations designated by the United States under Executive Order 13224. Eleven were individuals connected to the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, while 14 were organizations linked to two known al-Qaida-linked financiers, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and Youssef Nada.

A variety of leftwing terrorist groups carried out attacks in Italy. In March, the recently resurgent Red Brigades-Communist Combatant Party (BR-PCC) was accused of assassinating Marco Biagi, an advisor to the Italian Labor Ministry. Several other groups, including the Anti-Imperialist Territorial Nuclei, the 20 July Brigades, and the Proletarian Nuclei for Communism, claimed responsibility for numerous small-scale attacks throughout Italy.

Italy is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

November 17 case study

Lithuania

Lithuania took several steps to combat terrorism. Although there are no known al-Qaida operatives in Lithuania, the Government has worked effectively to arrest and deport a small number of individuals associated with HAMAS and Hizballah. The Government also monitored and reported to the United States on the transfer of $100,000 to a suspected terrorist via a Lithuanian bank. Lithuania has deployed limited personnel in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

To improve its overall counterterrorist efforts, the Government adopted the National Counter-Terrorism Program, which identified deficiencies, goals, and deadlines and established the Interagency Coordination Commission Against Terrorism. It also increased security along its border with Belarus, at the Vilnius airport, and at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. As a result of increased scrutiny at the country's border-control points, Lithuanian Border Guards apprehended more than 1,000 persons—mostly Lithuanians—sought by police, none with established terrorist connections.

The Lithuanian Government has emphasized working with European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners, as well as other countries. In April, Lithuania cosponsored with the United States an international conference on terrorist challenges, and in October the Ministry of Defense signed an agreement with the US Defense Department on the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Vilnius has bilateral agreements with Belarus, Germany, Hungary, and Kazakhstan to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. During visits to Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia in April, Lithuania's Foreign Minister and his counterparts discussed joint antiterrorism efforts.

Lithuania is a party to 10 of the 12 major UN antiterrorism conventions and protocols.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands supported the global Coalition against terrorism with leadership, personnel, and materiel, including the deployment of more than 200 ground troops to Afghanistan. (In 2003, it took over joint command of the International Security Assistance Force with Germany.)

The Dutch implemented two agreements with the United States to increase border security. The Netherlands became the first country to agree to host a US Customs team; it will deploy under the Global Container Security Initiative at Rotterdam, one of Europe's busiest ports. The Government also agreed to allow US immigration officers at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to work on joint anticrime and counterterrorism operations. The Netherlands' Prime Minister stated that the United States and his country stand "shoulder to shoulder" in the struggle for global security.

In April and August, Dutch authorities arrested approximately two-dozen extremists—10 of whom remain in custody—who are accused of supporting terrorists and recruiting combatants for jihad. Authorities are also investigating their possible links with the assassins of Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shad Massoud, who was killed in 2001 by al-Qaida members. In September, police arrested Ansar al-Islam's leader, Mullah Krekar. (In January 2003, the Dutch Justice Minister unexpectedly released and deported Krekar to Norway despite a pending Jordanian request for extradition.) In February 2002, a Dutch court, citing insufficient evidence, ordered the release of a man suspected of involvement in an al-Qaida plot to blow up the US Embassy in Paris.

The Dutch have taken a leading role, particularly in the European Union, to establish financial protocols to combat terrorism. They also donated $400,000 to the International Monetary Fund to provide assistance to countries that lack the wherewithal to implement some of these measures immediately.

The Government has proposed changes to Dutch law that will make it easier to prosecute supporters of terrorist groups. Under Dutch law, terrorist organizations are not illegal entities. The new legislation will criminalize the provision of information, money, and material assistance to terrorist organizations. The Netherlands is a party to all 12 UN antiterrorism conventions and protocols.

The Dutch have taken steps to freeze the assets of individuals and groups included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee's consolidated list, most notably the New People's Army and the leader of its political wing, Jose Maria Sison. Nevertheless, the political wings of other terrorist groups, such as KADEK (formerly the PKK) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), are allowed to operate as long as they do not commit terrorist acts or other crimes in The Netherlands.

Spain

Citizens protest against ETA in Santa Pola, Spain (Reuters copyrighted photo)Spain has offered strong, multifaceted support in the global war against terrorism. In May, the Spanish Government approved a contribution of 1,200 troops to the International Security and Assistance Force. As part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Spain participated in several humanitarian transport missions and contributed three C-130 Hercules planes and 70 soldiers to an airborne detachment. From January to October, a Spanish medical detachment served at the Bagram Air Base near Kabul. Spain also is heading a naval task force off the Horn of Africa to disrupt terrorist movements in the region.

In 2002, Spain arrested several individuals with possible links to al-Qaida. In July, Spanish authorities arrested three individuals of Syrian origin because of their alleged al-Qaida links. One of the detainees made suspicious video recordings while on a trip to the United States in 1997, including a videotape of the World Trade Center. The three individuals were released on bail because of weak evidence in the case. In April, Spanish police arrested two suspected al-Qaida financiers—Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, a naturalized Spanish citizen of Syrian descent, and Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian. In January, police arrested Najib Chaib Mohamed, a Moroccan national, for his alleged involvement in a suspected al-Qaida recruiting and logistics cell headed by Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, whom Spanish authorities had apprehended in November 2001
.
Spain made progress in its decades-old campaign to eliminate domestic terrorist groups, including the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) organization—a radical Basque terrorist group. In November, Spain and France signed a protocol granting Spanish counterterrorism officials enhanced access to French information obtained from arrested ETA members. In September, Spanish and French police arrested two principal ETA leaders, Juan Antonio Olarra and Ainhoa Mugica Goni, in a joint operation with French authorities in Bordeaux. Olarra is linked to at least nine murders. The Spanish Parliament passed a law that provides a strong mechanism for the possible de-legalization of Batasuna, ETA's political wing. A case against Batasuna was before the Spanish Supreme Court at year's end. In a separate case in August, a judge ordered a provisional ban on Batasuna's activities, froze the group's financial assets, and closed their offices. ETA's attacks, nonetheless, had killed five Spanish citizens by year's end, down from 15 in 2001 and 23 in 2000.

Thirty-two ETA members and ETA-related organizations, such as Askatasuna, were included in Executive Order 13224, which blocks the assets of terrorists.

Spanish and French authorities made joint advances against the domestic terrorist group First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO). A series of arrests in July and November resulted in the capture of 22 suspected GRAPO members.

Spain is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

Turkey

The Turkish Government, long a staunch counterterrorism ally, continued to provide strong support in the campaign against terrorism. Turkey was quick to provide military assistance to Operation Enduring Freedom. Former Prime Minister Ecevit backed a parliamentary resolution permitting the Government to send Turkish troops abroad and to allow foreign troops to be stationed on Turkish soil. Turkey offered to provide a 90-man special-operations unit in Afghanistan. In June, Turkey took the leadership of the United Nation's International Security Assistance Force and contributed 1,400 soldiers to the peacekeeping force.

Turkish authorities have arrested several suspected terrorists who may be linked to al-Qaida. In August, authorities arrested Mevlut Kar, a Turkish citizen suspected of being an Islamic terrorist, at the Ankara airport. In April, Turkish authorities arrested four individuals associated with al-Qaida in Bursa. Three members of the Union of Imams, a Jordanian group with links to al-Qaida, were arrested in February in Van. The individuals were suspected of planning a bombing attack in Israel. Subsequently, Turkish police arrested Ahmet Abdullah, a courier from northern Iraq, for providing assistance to the Union of Imams.

The Government of Turkey continued to take steps against domestic terrorist groups. Turkish authorities arrested several members from the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)—a virulently anti-US group that killed two US defense contractors and wounded a US Air Force officer during the Gulf war. Although the group did not conduct any attacks in 2002, Turkish officials have expressed displeasure that the group's leadership is ensconced in Western Europe. The European Union included the DHKP/ C on its terrorism list in May.

Turkish arrests also weakened Turkish Hizballah, a Kurdish Islamic (Sunni) extremist group that is unrelated to Lebanese Hizballah. In December, authorities arrested Ali Aslan Isik, reportedly one of the group's top leaders. The group's last attack in October 2001 killed two Turkish police officers in Istanbul.
In April, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) and declared its commitment to political versus armed tactics to advance Kurdish rights in Turkey. In October, a Turkish court commuted Abdullah Ocalan's, the group's imprisoned leader, death sentence to a life term. KADEK maintains that it has continued to abide by its self-declared peace initiative throughout 2002, but it continues to arm an estimated 8,000 trained fighters in and around Turkey.

Turkey is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

United Kingdom

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw listens to remarks by Secretary Powell (Reuters copyrighted photo)The United Kingdom, which has taken important political, financial, and law-enforcement steps to advance international counterterrorist efforts, remains one of the United States' staunchest allies. At its peak, the British contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom included more than 4,500 personnel as well as aircraft, ships, and submarines. In March, it deployed a 1,700-strong force to Afghanistan to combat al-Qaida and initially led the International Security Assistance Force. It also participated in Coalition counterterrorism operations outside Afghanistan, including maritime patrols in the Arabian Sea. London has unfrozen assets linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban totaling $100 million and made them available to the legitimate Afghan Government.

The United Kingdom is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and chairs the UN's Counter Terrorism Committee. The United Kingdom actively campaigned in the European Union, G-8, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and United Nations for coordinated counterterrorism efforts and routinely lobbied UN members to become parties to the 12 antiterrorism conventions and protocols.

The United Kingdom launched aggressive efforts to disrupt and prosecute terrorists. Since December 2001, the Government has detained 15 foreign nationals under its Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, which allows extended detention of non-British nationals suspected of being international terrorists but who cannot be removed from the country immediately. The Government defeated a legal challenge to the antiterrorism law on appeal after the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled the law discriminatory and unlawful. Several other terror suspects also have been arrested and charged with terrorism-related offenses. In February authorities arrested Shaykh Abdullah Ibrahim el-Faisal on charges of inciting racial hatred for remarks he made calling for the murder of nonbelievers, Jews, Americans, and Hindus. He was charged with crimes under the Public Order Act and the Offences Against the Person Act.

The United Kingdom froze the assets of more than 100 organizations and 200 individuals with links to terrorism. In October, the Government proscribed four terrorist groups associated with al-Qaida—Jemaah Islamiya, the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Asbat al-Ansar—bringing to 25 the total number of groups banned under the Terrorism Act of 2000. The United Kingdom has not frozen the assets belonging to political or humanitarian wings of terrorist groups HAMAS and Hizballah, owing to Britain's definition of terrorist organizations.

The United Kingdom was assisting in extraditing four individuals charged with terrorist acts in the United States or against US citizens, including an Algerian suspected of involvement in the 2000 "Millennium Conspiracy." The US request to extradite three men for their involvement in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in East Africa is pending an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. British courts denied one US extradition request—an Algerian pilot suspected of training the September 11 hijackers, citing insufficient evidence. In November, the Government introduced legislation to streamline the lengthy extradition process. The United States and United Kingdom are also in the process of negotiating a new extradition treaty.

Training and financial assistance have been in the forefront of the UK's bilateral counterterrorism relationships. The United Kingdom trained security personnel in bomb disposal and hostage-negotiating techniques, assisted law-enforcement and regulatory authorities in terrorist-finance investigations, and, through its capacity-building programs, helped countries draft counterterrorism legislation.

The United Kingdom's intelligence and security agencies significantly deepened their bilateral counterterrorist relationships. It established major counterterrorism-assistance programs in South and Southeast Asia and worked with Indonesia, Australia, and the United States to investigate the October bombings in Bali. The British Government in November introduced a new bill on international crime cooperation that would allow police from EU member states to operate independently in Britain under specific circumstances and permit British police to track suspicious individuals across most UK borders, except its border with Ireland. The British police have worked closely with the Greek police to investigate the assassination in June 2000 of the British military attache in Athens and in the wider hunt for members of the 17 November terrorist group.

The Government took steps against domestic terrorism as well. Security officials disrupted numerous planned terrorist attacks, although in August the Real IRA (RIRA) killed a construction worker at a British Army base. In October, RIRA threatened additional violence. The investigation into the 1998 Omagh bombing linked to the RIRA continues, and British authorities also prepared for the trial of two suspected RIRA members connected with a series of car bombings in England in 2001. Sectarian violence—in large part fueled by loyalist paramilitaries—continued throughout the year and served as the backdrop to the decision by the British Government to suspend the Northern Ireland Assembly in October.

 



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.