Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). FTO designations play a critical role in the fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities.
Legal Criteria for Designation under Section 219 of the INA as amended:
U.S. Government Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB)
Ansar al-Islam (AAI)
Army of Islam (AOI)
Asbat al-Ansar (AAA)
Aum Shinrikyo (AUM)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Communist Party of Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA)
Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
Gama'a al-Islamiyya (IG)
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI)
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)
Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Indian Mujahideen (IM)
Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
Jemaah Islamiya (JI)
Kata'ib Hizballah (KH)
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT)
Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)
Mujahadin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
National Liberation Army (ELN)
Palestine Islamic Jihad – Shaqaqi Faction (PIJ)
Palestine Liberation Front – Abu Abbas Faction (PLF)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
Al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI)
Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
Real IRA (RIRA)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N)
Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)
Revolutionary Struggle (RS)
Shining Path (SL)
Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)
aka ANO; Arab Revolutionary Brigades; Arab Revolutionary Council; Black September; Fatah Revolutionary Council; Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) was founded by Sabri al-Banna (aka Abu Nidal) after splitting from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1974. In August 2002, Abu Nidal died in Baghdad. Present leadership of the organization remains unclear. ANO advocates the elimination of Israel and has sought to derail diplomatic efforts in support of the Middle East peace process.
Activities: The ANO has carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. It has not staged a major attack against Western targets since the late 1980s and was expelled from its safe haven in Libya in 1999. Major attacks included those on the Rome and Vienna airports in 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in Greece in 1988. The ANO was suspected of assassinating PLO Deputy Chief Abu Iyad and PLO Security Chief Abu Hul in Tunis in 1991 and a senior Jordanian diplomat in Beirut in 1994. In 2008, a Jordanian official reported the apprehension of an ANO member who planned to carry out attacks in Jordan. The ANO did not attempt or successfully carry out attacks in 2011.
Strength: Current strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: Former and current ANO associates are presumed present in Lebanon.
External Aid: The ANO's current access to resources is unclear, but it is likely that the decline in support previously provided by Libya, Syria, and Iran has had a severe impact on its capabilities.
aka al Harakat al Islamiyya (the Islamic Movement)
Description: The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. ASG is the most violent of the terrorist groups operating in the Philippines and claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, although the goals of the group appear to have vacillated over time between criminal objectives and a more ideological intent. The group split from the much larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the early 1990s under the leadership of Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who was killed in a clash with Philippine police in December 1998. In 2011, Radullah Sahiron was ASG's leader.
Activities: The ASG engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, beheadings, assassinations, and extortion. In April 2000, an ASG faction kidnapped 21 people, including 10 Western tourists, from a resort in Malaysia. In May 2001, the ASG kidnapped three U.S. citizens and 17 Filipinos from a tourist resort in Palawan, Philippines. Several of the hostages, including U.S. citizen Guillermo Sobero, were murdered. A Philippine military hostage rescue operation in June 2002 freed U.S. hostage Gracia Burnham, but her husband, U.S. national Martin Burnham, and Filipina Deborah Yap were killed. U.S. and Philippine authorities blamed the ASG for a bomb near a Philippine military base in Zamboanga in October 2002 that killed a U.S. serviceman. In one of the most destructive acts of maritime violence, the ASG bombed SuperFerry 14 in Manila Bay in February 2004, killing at least 116 people.
In 2011, ASG remained active, particularly with kidnappings for ransom, an increase in the use of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, and armed attacks on civilian and police personnel. In 2011, ASG took close to 20 people hostage, including children, in multiple attacks, an increase over the previous year. In January, an IED killed five civilians and wounded 13 others in Makati. In March, five civilians were killed and 10 others were injured in an IED attack in Jolo. In June, a police officer was killed in Sulu; and in September, a soldier, a paramilitary member, and four civilians – including a child – were killed in an armed attack by the ASG in Basilan. Two American citizens, a mother and son, were kidnapped in July near Zamboanga. The mother was released in October while her son managed to escape custody in December.
In addition, authorities believed ASG was responsible for the following attacks where no group claimed responsibility:
Strength: ASG is estimated to have between 200 and 400 members.
Location/Area of Operation: The ASG operates primarily in the provinces of the Sulu Archipelago, namely Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. The group also operates on the Zamboanga Peninsula, and members occasionally travel to Manila.
External Aid: The ASG is funded through kidnapping for ransom and extortion, and may also receive funding from external sources such as remittances from overseas Filipino workers and Middle East-based extremists. The ASG also receives funding from regional terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiya, whose operatives have provided training to ASG members and helped facilitate several ASG terrorist attacks.
aka al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB) is composed of an unknown number of small cells of Fatah-affiliated activists that emerged at the outset of the al-Aqsa Intifada, in September 2000. Al-Aqsa's goal is to drive the Israeli military and West Bank settlers from the West Bank in order to establish a Palestinian state loyal to the Fatah.
Activities: Al-Aqsa employed primarily small-arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers as the intifada spread in 2000, but by 2002 they turned increasingly to suicide bombings against Israeli civilians inside Israel. In January 2002, the group claimed responsibility for the first female suicide bombing inside Israel. In 2010, AAMB launched numerous rocket attacks on communities in Israel, including the city of Sederot and areas of the Negev desert. AAMB has not pursued a policy of targeting U.S. interests, although its anti-Israeli attacks have killed dual U.S.-Israeli citizens. In December 2011, AAMB launched rockets aimed at communities in the Negev. The attack caused no injuries or damage.
Strength: A few hundred members .
Location/Area of Operation: Most of al-Aqsa's operational activity is in Gaza but the group also planned and conducted attacks inside Israel and the West Bank. The group also has members in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
External Aid: Iran has exploited al-Aqsa's lack of resources and formal leadership by providing funds and guidance, mostly through Hizballah facilitators.
aka Ansar al-Sunna; Ansar al-Sunna Army; Devotees of Islam; Followers of Islam in Kurdistan; Helpers of Islam; Jaish Ansar al-Sunna; Jund al-Islam; Kurdish Taliban; Kurdistan Supporters of Islam; Partisans of Islam; Soldiers of God; Soldiers of Islam; Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 22, 2004, Ansar al-Islam's (AI's) goals include expelling the western interests from Iraq and establishing an independent Iraqi state based on Sharia law. AI was established in 2001 in Iraqi Kurdistan with the merger of two Kurdish extremist factions that traced their roots to the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan.
On May 4, 2010 Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i, Ansar al-Islam's leader was captured by U.S. forces in Baghdad and remains in prison. On December 15, 2011 AI announced a new emir, Sheikh Abu Hashim Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman al Ibrahim.
Activities: AI has conducted attacks against a wide range of targets including the Iraqi government and security forces, and U.S. and Coalition forces. AI has conducted numerous kidnappings, executions, and assassinations of Iraqi citizens and politicians. The group has either claimed responsibility or is believed to be responsible for attacks in 2011 that killed 24 and wounded 147 people. On February 7, AI posted leaflets in Kirkuk warning of an attack on a Kurdish militia in retaliation for the arrest of Muslim women in the city. Two days later, a series of car bombs exploded in Kirkuk, destroying the militia's headquarters and injuring two nearby police patrols. The attack killed ten and wounded 90. On October 13, 16 civilians and two police officers were killed and 43 others wounded in a double improvised explosive device attack in Baghdad. The group was also responsible for kidnappings in February and December.
Strength: Although precise numbers are unknown, AI is considered one of the largest Sunni terrorist groups in Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily northern Iraq but maintained a presence in western and central Iraq.
External Aid: AI received assistance from a loose network of associates in Europe and the Middle East.
aka Jaysh al-Islam; Jaish al-Islam
Description: Designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 19, 2011, the Army of Islam (AOI) is a Gaza-based terrorist organization founded in late 2005 that has been responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the Governments of Israel and Egypt, as well as American, British, and New Zealander citizens. AOI is led by Mumtaz Dughmush, and operates in Gaza. It subscribes to a Salafist ideology together with the traditional model of armed Palestinian resistance. AOI has previously worked with Hamas and is attempting to develop closer al-Qa'ida contacts.
Activities: AOI's terrorist acts include a number of rocket attacks on Israel, the 2006 kidnapping of two journalists in Gaza (an American and a New Zealander), and the 2007 kidnapping of a British citizen, journalist Alan Johnston, in Gaza. AOI is also responsible for early 2009 attacks on Egyptian civilians in Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt. AOI is alleged to have planned the January 1, 2011 Alexandria attack on a Coptic Christian church that killed 25 and wounded 100 . On May 7, 2011, the group released a eulogy for Usama bin Ladin via its Al Nur Media Foundation.
Strength: Membership estimates range in the low hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: Gaza, with attacks in Egypt and Israel.
External Aid: AOI receives the bulk of its funding from a variety of criminal activities in Gaza.
aka Asbat al-Ansar; Band of Helpers; Band of Partisans; League of Partisans; League of the Followers; God's Partisans; Gathering of Supporters; Partisan's League; AAA; Esbat al-Ansar; Isbat al-Ansar; Osbat al-Ansar; Usbat al-Ansar; Usbat ul-Ansar
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002, Asbat al-Ansar is a Lebanon-based Sunni extremist group composed primarily of Palestinians with links to al-Qa'ida (AQ) and other Sunni extremist groups. Some of the group's stated goals include thwarting perceived anti-Islamic and pro-Western influences in the country, although the group remains largely confined to Lebanon's refugee camps.
Activities: Asbat al-Ansar first emerged in the early 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the group assassinated Lebanese religious leaders and bombed nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores. The group has also plotted against foreign diplomatic targets. In October 2004, Mahir al-Sa'di, a member of Asbat al-Ansar, was sentenced, in absentia, to life imprisonment for his 2000 plot to assassinate then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Satterfield. Asbat al-Ansar has no formal ties to the AQ network, but the group shares AQ's ideology and has publicly proclaimed its support for al-Qa'ida in Iraq. Members of the group have traveled to Iraq since 2005 to fight Coalition Forces. Asbat al-Ansar has been reluctant to involve itself in operations in Lebanon due in part to concerns over losing its safe haven in Ain al-Hilwah. AAA did not stage any successful attacks in 2011.
Strength: The group has fewer than 2,000 members, mostly of Palestinian descent.
Location/Area of Operation: The group's primary base of operations is the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon. The group is also in Iraq, where it has engaged in fighting U.S. and Coalition Forces.
External Aid: It is likely that the group receives money through international Sunni extremist networks.
aka A.I.C. Comprehensive Research Institute; A.I.C. Sogo Kenkyusho; Aleph; Aum Supreme Truth
Description: Aum Shinrikyo (Aum) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Jailed leader Shoko Asahara established Aum in 1987, and the organization received legal status in Japan as a religious entity in 1989. The Japanese government revoked its recognition of Aum as a religious organization following Aum's deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo in March 1995. Despite claims of renunciation of violence and Asahara's teachings, members of the group continue to adhere to the violent and apocalyptic teachings of its founder.
Activities: In March 1995, Aum members simultaneously released the chemical nerve agent sarin on several Tokyo subway trains, killing 12 people and causing up to 6,000 to seek medical treatment. Subsequent investigations by the Japanese government revealed the group was responsible for other mysterious chemical incidents in Japan in 1994, including a sarin gas attack on a residential neighborhood in Matsumoto that killed seven and hospitalized approximately 500. Japanese police arrested Asahara in May 1995; in February 2004, authorities sentenced him to death for his role in the 1995 attacks. In September 2006, Asahara lost his final appeal against the death penalty and the Japanese Supreme Court upheld the decision in October 2007. In February 2010, the death sentence for senior Aum member Tomomitsu Miimi was finalized by Japan's Supreme Court . In 2011, the death sentences of Masami Tsuchiya, Tomomasa Nakagawa, and Seiichi Endo were affirmed by Japanese courts, bringing the number of Aum members on death row to 13.
Since 1997, the group has recruited new members, engaged in commercial enterprises, and acquired property, although it scaled back these activities significantly in 2001 in response to a public outcry. In July 2001, Russian authorities arrested a group of Russian Aum followers who had planned to detonate bombs near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as part of an operation to free Asahara from jail and smuggle him to Russia.
Although Aum has not conducted a terrorist attack since 1995, concerns remain regarding its continued adherence to the violent teachings of founder Asahara that led AUM to carry out the 1995 sarin gas attack.
Strength: According to a study by the Japanese government issued in December 2009, Aum Shinrikyo/Aleph membership in Japan is approximately 1,500 with another 200 in Russia. As of November 2011, Aum continues to maintain 32 facilities in 15 Prefectures in Japan and may continue to possess a few facilities in Russia. At the time of the Tokyo subway attack, the group claimed to have as many as 40,000 members worldwide, including 9,000 in Japan and 30,000 members in Russia.
Location/Area of Operation: Aum's principal membership is located in Japan; a residual branch of about 200 followers live in Russia.
External Aid: Funding primarily comes from member contributions.
aka ETA, Askatasuna; Batasuna; Ekin; Euskal Herritarrok; Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna; Herri Batasuna; Jarrai-Haika-Segi; K.A.S.; XAKI
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles encompassing the Spanish Basque provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, and Alava; the autonomous region of Navarra; and the southwestern French territories of Labourd, Basse-Navarre, and Soule. Spain and the European Union have listed ETA as a terrorist organization. In 2002, the Spanish Parliament banned the political party Batasuna, ETA's political wing, charging its members with providing material support to the terrorist group. The European Court of Human Rights in June 2009 upheld the ban on Batasuna. In September 2008, Spanish courts also banned two other Basque independence parties with reported links to Batasuna. In 2010, Batasuna continued to try to participate in regional politics and splits between parts of ETA became publicly apparent in deciding a way forward.
Activities: ETA primarily has conducted bombings and assassinations. Targets typically have included Spanish government officials, businessmen, politicians, judicial figures, and security and military forces, but the group has also targeted journalists and tourist areas. The group is responsible for killing 829 civilians and members of the armed forces or police and injuring thousands since it formally began a campaign of violence in 1968.
ETA has committed numerous attacks in the last four decades. Some of the group's high profile attacks include the February 2005 ETA car bombing in Madrid at a convention center where Spanish King Juan Carlos and then Mexican President Vicente Fox were scheduled to appear, wounding more than 20 people. In December 2006, ETA exploded a massive car bomb that destroyed much of the covered parking garage at Madrid's Barajas International Airport. ETA marked its 50 th anniversary in 2009 with a series of high profile and deadly bombings including the July attack on a Civil Guard Barracks that injured more than 60 people including children.
In March 2010, a Spanish judge charged ETA and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia members of terrorist plots, including a plan to assassinate Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Spanish authorities arrested more than 400 ETA members between 2007 and 2010 and have arrested an additional 52 in 2011. In 2011, in cooperation with international partners, Spanish security services arrested an additional 52 ETA member or associates. In April 2011, Spanish authorities seized 1,600 kilos of bomb-making material while arresting three ETA members. In the same month, French police arrested two ETA members in Creuse, France, after they fired shots from their car and wounded a police officer while speeding through a police checkpoint. On July 7, 2011, Eneko Gogeaskoetxea, one of the alleged attempted assassins of King Juan Carlos I in 1997, was apprehended in the United Kingdom and is being held there pending extradition to Spain on several arrest warrants.
The militarily weakened and politically isolated ETA, in October 2011, publicly announced a “definitive cessation” of armed activity. As the group has made and broken several past cease-fires, Madrid rejected the latest announcement and continues to demand that ETA disarm and disband.
Strength: Estimates put ETA membership of those who have not been captured by authorities at fewer than 100. Spanish and French prisons together hold approximately 750 ETA members.
Location/Area of Operation: ETA operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, but has attacked Spanish and French interests elsewhere. In previous years, ETA safe houses were identified and raided in Portugal. The group also maintains a low profile presence in Cuba and Venezuela.
External Aid: ETA is probably experiencing financial shortages given that the group announced publicly in September 2011 that it had ceased collecting “revolutionary taxes” from Basque businesses. This extortion program was a major source of ETA's income.
aka CPP/NPA; Communist Party of the Philippines; the CPP; New People's Army; the NPA
Description: The Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on August 9, 2002. The military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA), is a Maoist group formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. Jose Maria Sison, the Chairman of the CPP's Central Committee and the NPA's founder, reportedly directs CPP and NPA activity from the Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Luis Jalandoni, a fellow Central Committee member and director of the CPP's overt political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), also lives in the Netherlands and has become a Dutch citizen. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, the NPA had an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and, at times, used city-based assassination squads.
Activities: The CPP/NPA primarily targeted Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refused to pay extortion, or “revolutionary taxes.” The CPP/NPA charged politicians running for office in CPP/NPA-influenced areas for “campaign permits.” Despite its focus on Philippine governmental targets, the CPP/NPA has a history of attacking U.S. interests in the Philippines. In 1987, the CPP/NPA conducted direct action against U.S. personnel and facilities killing three American soldiers in four separate attacks in Angeles City. In 1989, the CPP/NPA issued a press statement taking credit for the ambush and murder of Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.
For many years, the CPP/NPA carried out killings, raids, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence. In May 2010, 40 CPP/NPA guerillas ambushed an army convoy escorting election officials in the Compostela Valley, an attack that culminated in five deaths; and 40 CPP/NPA assailants launched a synchronized landmine improvised explosive device and light arms attack against a police vehicle on August 21 that resulted in nine deaths in Cataman, Philippines.
In 2011, the CPP/NPA's attacks and kidnappings continued unabated. In January, the CPP/NPA was responsable for detonating a landmine IED in Illuro Sur, Philippines that killed five and injured two police officers. In February, two civilians were killed when 50 CPP/NPA assailants fired upon a police checkpoint in Trento, Philippines. In August, the CPP/NPA kidnapped the Mayor of Lingig, Phillippines, and two of his bodyguards. The group demanded a prisoner swap before releasing the hostages in October.
Strength: The Philippines government estimates there are 5,000 members.
Location/Area of Operations: The CPP/NPA o perates in rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are also cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.
External Aid: The CPP raises funds through extortion.
aka Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on July 13, 2004, the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) is a terrorist splinter group formed in 1994 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein; it split from Sinn Fein in 1986. “Continuity” refers to the group's belief that it is carrying on the original Irish Republican Army's (IRA) goal of forcing the British out of Northern Ireland. CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA).
Activities: CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion, and robberies. On occasion, it provided advance warning to police of its attacks. Targets have included the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups. CIRA did not join the Provisional IRA in the September 2005 decommissioning and remained capable of effective, if sporadic, terrorist attacks. On April 21, 2011, authorities defused an explosive device planted by CIRA near a statue of the Duke of Wellington in Trim, Meath, Ireland.
Strength: Membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50 hard-core activists. Police counterterrorist operations have reduced the group's strength. In June, the CIRA may have experienced further splintering when hard-liners made an apparently unsuccessful attempt to take over the leadership of the group.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
External Aid: CIRA supported its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling. CIRA may have acquired arms and materiel from the Balkans, in cooperation with the RIRA.
aka al-Gama'at; Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya; GI; Islamic Gama'at; IG; Islamic Group
Description: Gama'a al-Islamiyya (IG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Once Egypt's largest militant group, IG was active in the late 1970s, but is now a loosely organized network and formed the Building and Development political party that competed in the 2011 parliamentary elections, winning 13 seats. Egypt-based members of IG released from prison prior to the revolution have renounced terrorism, although some members located overseas have worked with or joined al-Qa'ida (AQ). Hundreds of members who may not have renounced violence were released from prison in 2011. The external wing, composed of mainly exiled members in several countries, maintained that its primary goal was to replace the Egyptian government with an Islamic state. IG's spiritual leader, Sheik Umar Abd al-Rahman, is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Supporters of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman still remain a possible threat to U.S. interests and have called for reprisal attacks in the event of his death in prison.
Activities: In the 1990s, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security and other government officials and Coptic Christians. IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group also launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack. In 1999, part of the group publicly renounced violence. There were no known terrorist attacks by the IG in 2011.
Strength: At its peak, IG likely commanded several thousand hardcore members and a similar number of supporters. Security crackdowns following the 1997 attack in Luxor and the 1999 cease-fire, along with post-September 11 security measures and defections to AQ, have probably resulted in a substantial decrease in what is left of an organized group.
Location/Area of Operation: The IG maintained an external presence in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. IG terrorist presence in Egypt was minimal due to the reconciliation efforts of former local members.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka the Islamic Resistance Movement; Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya; Izz al-Din al Qassam Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades; Izz al-Din al Qassam Forces; Students of Ayyash; Student of the Engineer; Yahya Ayyash Units; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Brigades; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Forces; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Battalions
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, Hamas possesses military and political wings and came into being in late 1987 at the onset of the first Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The armed element, called the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, conducts anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilian targets inside Israel. Hamas also manages a broad, mostly Gaza-based network of “Dawa” or ministry activities that include charities, schools, clinics, youth camps, fund-raising, and political activities. After winning Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006, Hamas gained control of significant Palestinian Authority (PA) ministries in Gaza, including the Ministry of Interior. Hamas subsequently formed an expanded militia called the Executive Force, subordinate to the Interior Ministry. This force and other Hamas cadres took control of Gaza in a violent confrontation with Fatah in June 2007, forcing Fatah forces to leave Gaza or go underground.
A Shura Council based in Damascus, Syria, set overall policy, but the group began leaving Damascus in late 2011 following a disagreement with the Syrian government over its use of violence against protestors.
Activities: Prior to 2005, Hamas conducted numerous anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings, rocket launches, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, and shootings. Hamas has not directly targeted U.S. interests, although the group has conducted attacks against Israeli targets frequented by foreigners. The group curtailed terrorist attacks in February 2005 after agreeing to a temporary period of calm brokered by the PA and ceased most violence after winning control of the PA legislature and cabinet in January 2006. After Hamas staged a June 2006 attack on Israeli Defense Forces soldiers near Kerem Shalom that resulted in two deaths and the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Israel took steps that severely limited the operation of the Rafah crossing. In June 2007, after Hamas took control of Gaza from the PA and Fatah, the Gaza borders were closed and HAMAS increased its use of tunnels to smuggle weapons into Gaza, using the Sinai and maritime routes. Hamas has since dedicated the majority of its activity in Gaza to solidifying its control, hardening its defenses, tightening security, and conducting limited operations against Israeli military forces.
Hamas fought a 23-day war with Israel from late December 2008 to January 2009. Since Israel's declaration of a unilateral ceasefire on January 18, 2009, Hamas has largely enforced the calm, focusing on rebuilding its weapons caches, smuggling tunnels, and other military infrastructure in Gaza. Throughout 2011, Hamas carried out rocket attacks on Southern Israel. In March, an IED attack that was attributed to Hamas wounded a government employee in Jerusalem. In April, Hamas fired an anti-tank missile at a school bus, killing an Israeli teenager.
Over the course of 2011, Hamas kidnapped approximately 20 Palestinian civilians and 30 political party members in Gaza. Hamas also actively worked against violent Salafi groups in Gaza during 2011, including pursuing the Army of Islam leader and elements of the Palestinian terrorist group Jaljalat, who they perceive as a threat to their control of Gaza and ceasefire with Israel.
Strength: Several thousand Gaza-based operatives with varying degrees of skills in its armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades; along with its reported 9,000-person Hamas-led paramilitary group known as the “Executive Force.”
Location/Area of Operation: Hamas has a presence in every major city in the Palestinian territories. The group retains a cadre of leaders and facilitators that conduct political, fundraising, and arms-smuggling activities throughout the region. Hamas also increased its presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, probably with the goal of eclipsing Fatah's long-time dominance of the camps.
External Aid: Hamas receives funding, weapons, and training from Iran. In addition, the group raises funds in the Persian Gulf countries and receives donations from Palestinian expatriates around the world, through its charities, such as the Union of Good. Some fundraising and propaganda activity takes place in Western Europe.
aka HUJI, Movement of Islamic Holy War; Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami; Harkat-al-Jihad-ul Islami; Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami; Harakat ul Jihad-e- Islami; Harakat-ul Jihad Islami
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on August 6, 2010, Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) was founded in 1980 in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Union. Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the organization re-focused its efforts on India. HUJI seeks the annexation of Indian Kashmir and expulsion of Coalition Forces from Afghanistan. It also has supplied fighters for the Taliban in Afghanistan. In addition, some factions of HUJI espouse a more global agenda and conduct attacks in Pakistan as well. HUJI is composed of militant Pakistanis and veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war. HUJI has experienced a number of internal splits and a portion of the group has aligned with al-Qa'ida (AQ) in recent years, including training its members in AQ training camps. Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, one of HUJI's top leaders who also served as an AQ military commander and strategist, was killed on June 3, 2011.
Activities: HUJI has been involved in a number of terrorist attacks in recent years. On March 2, 2006, a HUJI leader was the mastermind behind the suicide bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, which killed four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy, and injured 48 others. HUJI was also responsible for terrorist attacks in India including the May 2007 Hyderabad mosque attack, which killed 16 and injured 40, and the March 2007 Varanasi attack, which killed 25 and injured 100. HUJI claimed credit for the September 7, 2011 bombing of the New Delhi High Court, which left at least 11 dead and an estimated 76 wounded. HUJI sent an email to the press stating that the bomb was intended to force India to repeal a death sentence of a HUJI member.
Strength: HUJI has an estimated strength of several hundred members.
Location/Area of Operations: HUJI's area of operation extends throughout South Asia, with its terrorist operations focused primarily in India and Afghanistan. Some factions of HUJI conduct attacks within Pakistan.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka HUJI-B, Harakat ul Jihad e Islami Bangladesh; Harkatul Jihad al Islam; Harkatul Jihad; Harakat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami; Harakat ul Jihad Islami Bangladesh; Islami Dawat-e-Kafela; IDEK
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 5, 2008, Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B) was formed in April 1992 by a group of former Bangladeshi Afghan veterans to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh. In October 2005, Bangladeshi authorities banned the group. HUJI-B has connections to Pakistani militant groups such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) and the Indian Mujahedeen (IM), which advocate similar objectives. The leaders of HUJI-B signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Usama bin Ladin that declared American civilians legitimate targets.
Activities: In December 2008, three HUJI-B members were convicted for the May 2004 grenade attack that wounded the British High Commissioner in Sylhet, Bangladesh. In 2011, Bangladeshi authorities formally charged multiple suspects, including HUJI-B leader Mufti Abdul Hannan, with the killing of former Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria of Awami League (AL) in a grenade attack on January 27, 2005. Bangladeshi police also arrested many top HUJI-B leaders in 2011, including Amir Rahmatullah (aka Sheikh Farid) in April, and chief Moulana Yahiya in August. Bangladeshi police recovered arms, explosives and bomb making materials following the arrest of HUJI-B operative Abdul Alim in May.
Strength: HUJI-B leaders claim that up to 400 of its members are Afghan war veterans, but its total membership is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates primarily in Bangladesh and India. HUJI-B trains and has a network of madrassas in Bangladesh.
External Aid: HUJI-B funding comes from a variety of sources. Several international Islamic non-governmental organizations may have funneled money to HUJI-B and other Bangladeshi militant groups.
aka HUM; Harakat ul-Ansar; HUA; Jamiat ul-Ansar; JUA; Al-Faran; Al-Hadid; Al-Hadith; Harakat ul-Mujahidin
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) seeks the annexation of Indian Kashmir and expulsion of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. Reportedly under pressure from the Government of Pakistan, HUM's long-time leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down and was replaced by Dr. Badr Munir as the head of HUM in January 2005. Khalil has been linked to Usama bin Ladin, and his signature was found on bin Ladin's February 1998 fatwa calling for attacks on U.S. and Western interests. HUM operated terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan until Coalition air strikes destroyed them in 2001. Khalil was detained by Pakistani authorities in mid-2004 and subsequently released in late December of the same year. In 2003, HUM began using the name Jamiat ul-Ansar (JUA). Pakistan banned JUA in November 2003.
Activities: HUM has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. It is linked to the Kashmiri militant group al-Faran, which kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; the five reportedly were killed later that year. HUM was responsible for the hijacking of an Indian airliner in December 1999 that resulted in the release of Masood Azhar, an important leader in the former Harakat ul-Ansar, who was imprisoned by India in 1994 and then founded Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) after his release. Another former member of Harakat ul-Ansar, Ahmed Omar Sheik was also released by India as a result of the hijackings and was later convicted of the abduction and murder in 2002 of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.
HUM targets Indian security and civilian targets in Kashmir. In 2005, such attacks resulted in the deaths of 15 people. In November 2007, two Indian soldiers were killed in Kashmir while engaged in a firefight with a group of HUM militants. Indian police and army forces have engaged with HUM militants in the Kashmir region, killing a number of the organization's leadership in April, October, and December 2008. In February 2009, Lalchand Kishen Advani, leader of the Indian opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, received a death threat that was attributed to HUM. HUM did not carry out any attacks during 2011.
Strength: HUM has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan; India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions; and in the Kashmir valley. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. After 2000, a significant portion of HUM's membership defected to JEM.
Location/Area of Operation: Based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other cities in Pakistan, HUM conducts insurgent and terrorist operations primarily in Kashmir and Afghanistan. HUM trains its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
External Aid: HUM collects donations from wealthy and grassroots donors in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states. HUM's financial collection methods include soliciting donations in magazine ads and pamphlets.
aka the Party of God; Islamic Jihad; Islamic Jihad Organization; Revolutionary Justice Organization; Organization of the Oppressed on Earth; Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine; Organization of Right Against Wrong; Ansar Allah; Followers of the Prophet Muhammed
Description: Hizballah was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Formed in 1982, in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Lebanese-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The group generally follows the religious guidance of Khomeini's successor, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Hizballah is closely allied with Iran and often acts at its behest, although it also acts independently. Hizballah shares a close relationship with Syria, and like Iran, the group is helping advance Syrian objectives in the region. It has strong influence in Lebanon, especially with the Shia community. Hizballah also plays an active role in Lebanese politics, and the group holds 13 seats in the 128-member Lebanese Parliament. Hizballah's political strength has grown in the wake of the 2006 war with Israel and the group's 2008 takeover of West Beirut.
Hizballah provides support to several Palestinian terrorist organizations, as well as a number of local Christian and Muslim militias in Lebanon. This support includes the covert provision of weapons, explosives, training, funding, and guidance, as well as overt political support.
Activities: Hizballah's terrorist attacks have included the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983; the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in 1984; and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping, detention, and murder of Americans and other Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s. Hizballah was implicated in the attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and on the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires in 1994. In 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Sheba'a Farms area and, separately, kidnapped an Israeli non-combatant in Dubai. Although the non-combatant survived, on November 1, 2001, Israeli Army Rabbi Israel Weiss pronounced the soldiers dead. The surviving non-combatant, as well as the bodies of the IDF soldiers, were returned to Israel in a prisoner exchange with Hizballah on January 29, 2004.
Since at least 2004, Hizballah has provided training to select Iraqi Shia militants, including on the construction and use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that can penetrate heavily-armored vehicles. Senior Hizballah operative, Ali Mussa Daqduq, was captured in Iraq in 2007 with detailed documents that discussed tactics to attack Iraqi and Coalition Forces; he was facilitating Hizballah training of Iraqi Shia militants.
In July 2006, Hizballah attacked an Israeli Army patrol, kidnapping two soldiers and killing three, starting a conflict with Israel that lasted into August.
Senior Hizballah officials have repeatedly vowed retaliation for the February 2008 killing in Damascus of Imad Mughniyah, Hizballah's military and terrorism chief, who was suspected of involvement in many attacks.
Hizballah and a Palestinian group affiliated with al-Qa'ida blamed each other for a May 2011 roadside bomb attack that wounded six Italian soldiers with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. Two other attacks against UNIFIL peackeepers – an attack in late July that wounded six French citizens and a second attack days later that injured three other French soldiers – were believed to have been carried out by Hizballah. Although the group did not take credit for the attacks against UNIFIL troops, Hizballah is likely the perpetrator because of UNIFIL's efforts directed against Hizballah throughout Lebanon. Also in 2011, four Hizballah members were indicted by the U.N.-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon, an international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The four Hizballah members indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon include Mustafa Badreddine – identified as the primary suspect in Hariri's assassination, Badreddine is believed to have replaced his cousin, the infamous Imad Mugniyeh, as Hizballah's top military commander after Mugniyeh's 2008 death – as well as Salim Ayyash, Assad Sabra, and Hassan Anise. Hizballah denounced the trial and vowed to retaliate, saying the four indicted Hizballah members would not be handed over at any time.
Strength: Several t housand supporters and members.
Location/Area of Operation: Operates in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon.
External Aid: Iran continues to provide Hizballah with training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, monetary, and organizational aid; Syria furnished training, weapons, diplomatic, and political support. Hizballah also receives funding from private donations and profits from legal and illegal businesses. Hizballah receives financial support from Lebanese Shia communities in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia. Hizballah supporters are often engaged in a range of criminal activities, including smuggling contraband goods; passport falsification; credit card, immigration, and bank fraud; trafficking in narcotics; and money laundering. The Barakat Network – a criminal network operating in the tri-border area between Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina – is an example of such criminal activity. Furthermore, two separate U.S. government investigations implicated the Lebanese Canadian Bank as a key conduit for drug money being funneled to Hizballah.
aka Indian Mujahidin; Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahideen (ISF-IM)
Description: The Indian Mujahideen (IM) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 19, 2011. An India-based terrorist group with significant links to Pakistan, IM has been responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005, and has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians. IM maintains close ties to other U.S.-designated terrorist entities including Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI). IM's stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against non-Muslims in furtherance of its ultimate objective, an Islamic Caliphate across South Asia.
Activities: IM's primary method of attack is multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximize terror and casualties. In 2008, an IM attack in Delhi killed 30 people; that same year, IM was responsible for 16 synchronized bomb blasts in crowded urban centers and a local hospital in Ahmedabad that killed 38 and injured more than 100. IM also played a facilitative role in the 2008 Mumbai attack carried out by LeT that killed 163 people, including six Americans. In 2010, IM carried out the bombing of a popular German bakery in Pune, India, frequented by tourists, killing 17 and injuring over 60 people.
In 2011, IM conducted multiple bombings killing dozens of innocent civilians and injuring hundreds more. On May 25, IM was suspected of an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in New Delhi. On July 13, 25 civilians were killed and 137 wounded in an IED attack in Mumbai. On September 7, 15 civilians were killed, and 91 others injured in a bombing in New Delhi.
Strength: Estimated to have several thousand supporters and members.
Location/Area of Operation: India
External Aid: Suspected to obtain funding and support from other terrorist organizations, such as LeT and HUJI, and from sources in the Middle East.
aka Islamic Jihad Group; Islomiy Jihod Ittihodi; al-Djihad al-Islami; Dzhamaat Modzhakhedov; Islamic Jihad Group of Uzbekistan; Jamiat al-Jihad al-Islami; Jamiyat; The Jamaat Mojahedin; The Kazakh Jama'at; The Libyan Society
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on June 17, 2005, the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) is a Sunni extremist organization that splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
Activities: The IJU, based in Pakistan, primarily operates against Coalition Forces in Afghanistan and continues to pose a threat of attacks in Central Asia. The group claimed responsibility for attacks in March and April 2004, targeting police at several roadway checkpoints and at a popular bazaar, killing approximately 47 people, including 33 IJU members, some of whom were suicide bombers. In July 2004, the group carried out near-simultaneous suicide bombings of the Uzbek Prosecutor General's office and the U.S. and Israeli Embassies in Tashkent. In September 2007, German authorities disrupted an IJU plot by detaining three IJU operatives, including two German citizens. Foreign fighters from Germany, Turkey, and elsewhere in Europe continued to travel to the Afghan-Pakistan border area to join the IJU to fight against U.S. and Coalition Forces.
Strength: 100-200 members .
Location/Area of Operation: IJU members are scattered throughout Central Asia, Europe, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
External Aid: Unknown.
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 25, 2000, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's (IMU) goal is to overthrow the Uzbek regime and to establish an Islamic state. For most of the past decade, however, the group recruited members from other Central Asian states and Europe and has focused on fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IMU has a relationship with the Taliban and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). In 2011, IMU's leadership cadre remained based in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled North Waziristan and operated primarily along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in northern Afghanistan. Top IMU leaders have integrated themselves into the Taliban's shadow government in the northern provinces. Operating in cooperation with each other, the Taliban and the IMU have expanded their presence throughout northern Afghanistan and have established training camps in the region.
Activities: Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, the IMU has been predominantly focused on attacks against U.S. and Coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. In late 2009, NATO forces reported an increase in IMU-affiliated foreign fighters in Afghanistan. In 2010, the IMU continued to fight in Afghanistan and the group claimed credit for the September 19 ambush that killed 25 Tajik troops in Tajikistan. On October 15, 2011, IMU claimed responsibility for a suicide assault on a U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Team base in the Afghan province of Panjshir. The attack began when a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at the front gate, killing two Afghan civilians and wounding two security guards at the base.
Strength: 200-300 members.
Location/Area of Operation: IMU militants are located in South Asia, Central Asia, and Iran.
External Aid: The IMU receives support from a large Uzbek diaspora, terrorist organizations, and donors from Europe, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East.
aka the Army of Mohammed ; Mohammed's Army ; T ehrik ul-Furqaan ; Khuddam-ul-Islam ; Khudamul Islam; Kuddam e Islami; Jaish-i-Mohammed
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 26, 2001, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) is based in Pakistan. JEM was founded in early 2000 by Masood Azhar, a former senior leader of Harakat ul-Ansar, upon his release from prison in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages in India. The group's aim is to annex Indian Kashmir and expel Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, and it has openly declared war against the United States. Pakistan outlawed JEM in 2002. By 2003, JEM had splintered into Khuddam-ul-Islam (KUI), headed by Azhar, and Jamaat ul-Furqan (JUF), led by Abdul Jabbar, who was released from Pakistani custody in August 2004. Pakistan banned KUI and JUF in November 2003.
Activities: JEM continues to operate openly in parts of Pakistan despite the 2002 ban on its activities. Since Masood Azhar's 1999 release from Indian custody, JEM has conducted many fatal terrorist attacks in the region. JEM claimed responsibility for several suicide car bombings in Kashmir, including an October 2001 suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar that killed more than 30 people. The Indian government has publicly implicated JEM, along with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, for the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed nine and injured 18. In 2002, Pakistani authorities arrested and convicted a JEM member for the abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. Pakistani authorities suspect that JEM members may have been involved in the 2002 anti-Christian attacks in Islamabad, Murree, and Taxila that killed two Americans. In December 2003, Pakistan implicated JEM members in the two assassination attempts against President Musharraf. In 2006, JEM claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including the killing of several Indian police officials in the Indian-administered Kashmir capital of Srinagar. Indian police and JEM extremists continued to engage in firefights throughout 2008 and 2009. In March 2011, Indian security forces killed chief JEM commander Sajad Afghani and his bodyguard in Sirnagar, Kashmir.
Strength: JEM has at least several hundred armed supporters – including a large cadre of former HUM members – located in Pakistan, India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions, and in the Kashmir Valley. In 2011, JEM restarted its fundraising and recruitment activities in Pakistan.
Location/Area of Operation: Pakistan, particularly southern Punjab; Afghanistan; and Kashmir.
External Aid: In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani government, JEM withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods. In addition, JEM collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets, sometimes using charitable causes to solicit donations.
aka Jemaa Islamiyah; Jema'a Islamiyah; Jemaa Islamiyya; Jema'a Islamiyya; Jemaa
Islamiyyah; Jema'a Islamiyyah; Jemaah Islamiah; Jemaah Islamiyah; Jema'ah Islamiyah; Jemaah Islamiyyah; Jema'ah Islamiyyah; JI
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 23, 2002, Jemaah Islamiya (JI) is a Southeast Asia-based terrorist group co-founded by Abu Bakar Ba'asyir and Abdullah Sungkar that seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and the southern Philippines. More than 400 JI operatives have been captured since 2002, including operations chief and al-Qa'ida (AQ) associate Hambali. In 2006, several members connected to JI's 2005 suicide attack in Bali were arrested; in 2007, JI emir Muhammad Naim (a.k.a. Zarkasih) and JI military commander Abu Dujana were arrested; and in 2008, two senior JI operatives were arrested in Malaysia and a JI-linked cell was broken up in Sumatra. In September 2009, JI-splinter group leader Noordin Mohammad Top was killed in a police raid. Progress against JI continued in February 2010, when Indonesian National Police discovered and disbanded an extremist training base in Aceh in which members of JI and other Indonesian extremist groups participated. The police raid resulted in the capture of over 60 militants, including some JI operatives, and led authorities to former JI leader Dulmatin, one of the planners of the 2002 Bali bombing. In March 2010, Dulmatin was killed outside of Jakarta. In June 2010, wanted JI commander Abdullah Sunata was captured while planning to bomb the Danish Embassy in Jakarta. In January 2011, JI member Umar Patek was captured in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and transferred to Indonesia for trial.
Activities: In December 2001, Singaporean authorities uncovered a JI plot to attack U.S., Israeli, British, and Australian diplomatic facilities in Singapore. Other significant JI attacks include the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200, including seven U.S. citizens; the August 2003 bombing of the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, the September 2004 bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, and JI's October 2005 suicide bombing in Bali, which killed 26, including the three suicide bombers.
A JI faction led by Noordin Mohammad Top conducted the most recent high-profile attack associated with the group July 17, 2009 at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta when two suicide bombers detonated explosive devices, killing seven and injuring more than 50, including seven Americans.
Strength: Estimates of total JI members vary from 500 to several thousand.
Location/Area of Operation: JI is based in Indonesia and is believed to have elements in Malaysia and the Philippines.
External Aid: Investigations have indicated that JI is fully capable of its own fundraising through membership donations and criminal and business activities. It has received financial, ideological, and logistical support from Middle Eastern contacts and non-governmental organizations.
aka People's Resistance Movement of Iran (PMRI); Jonbesh-i Moqavemat-i-Mardom-i Iran; Popular Resistance Movement of Iran; Soldiers of God; Fedayeen-e-Islam; Former Jundallah of Iran; Jundullah; Jondullah; Jundollah; Jondollah; Jondallah; Army of God (God's Army); Baloch Peoples Resistance Movement (BPRM)
Description: Jundallah was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on November 4, 2010. Since its 2003 inception, Jundallah, a violent extremist organization that operates primarily in the province of Sistan va Balochistan of Iran, has engaged in numerous attacks, killing and maiming scores of Iranian civilians and government officials. Jundallah's stated goals are to secure recognition of Balochi cultural, economic, and political rights from the Government of Iran and to spread awareness of the plight of the Baloch situation through violent and nonviolent means.
Activities : In March 2006, Jundallah attacked a motorcade in eastern Iran, which included the deputy head of the Iranian Red Crescent Security Department, who was then taken hostage. The Governor of Zahedan, his deputy, and five other officials were wounded; seven others were kidnapped; and more than 20 were killed in the attack. An October 2009 suicide bomb attack in a marketplace in the city of Pishin in the Sistan va Balochistan province, which killed more than 40 people, was reportedly the deadliest terrorist attack in Iran since the 1980s. In a statement on its website, Jundallah claimed responsibility for the December 15, 2010 suicide bomb attack inside the Iman Hussein Mosque in Chabahar, which killed an estimated 35 to 40 civilians and wounded 60 to 100. In July 2010, Jundallah attacked the Grand Mosque in Zahedan, killing approximately 30 and injuring an estimated 300. There were no reported attacks attributed to Jundallah in 2011.
Strength: Reports of Jundallah membership vary from 500 to 2,000.
Location/Area of Operation: Throughout Sistan va Balochistan province in southeastern Iran and the greater Balochistan area of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka American Friends of the United Yeshiva; American Friends of Yeshivat Rav Meir; Committee for the Safety of the Roads; Dikuy Bogdim; DOV; Forefront of the Idea; Friends of the Jewish Idea Yeshiva; Jewish Legion; Judea Police; Judean Congress; Kach; Kahane; Kahane Lives; Kahane Tzadak; Kahane.org; Kahanetzadak.com; Kfar Tapuah Fund; Koach; Meir's Youth; New Kach Movement; Newkach.org; No'ar Meir; Repression of Traitors; State of Judea; Sword of David; The Committee Against Racism and Discrimination (CARD); The Hatikva Jewish Identity Center; The International Kahane Movement; The Jewish Idea Yeshiva; The Judean Legion; The Judean Voice; The Qomemiyut Movement; The Rabbi Meir David Kahane Memorial Fund; The Voice of Judea; The Way of the Torah; The Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea; Yeshivat Harav Meir
Description: Kach – the precursor to Kahane Chai – was founded by radical Israeli-American Rabbi Meir Kahane with the goal of restoring Greater Israel, which is generally used to refer to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Its offshoot, Kahane Chai, (translation: “Kahane Lives”) was founded by Meir Kahane's son Binyamin following his father's 1990 assassination in the United States. Both organizations were designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations on October 8, 1997. The group has attempted to gain seats in the Israeli Knesset over the past several decades but has won only one seat in 1984.
Activities: Kahane Chai has harassed and threatened Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli government officials, and has vowed revenge for the death of Binyamin Kahane and his wife. The group is suspected of involvement in a number of low-level attacks since the start of the First Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Since 2003, Kahane Chai activists have called for the execution of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and physically intimidated other Israeli and Palestinian government officials who favored the dismantlement of Israeli settlements. Although they have not explicitly claimed responsibility for a series of mosque burnings in the West Bank, individuals affiliated with Kahane Chai are widely suspected of being the perpetrators.
Strength: Kahane Chai's core membership is believed to be fewer than 100. The group's membership and support networks are overwhelmingly composed of Israeli citizens, most of whom live in West Bank settlements.
Location/Area of Operation: Israel and West Bank settlements, particularly Qiryat Arba' in Hebron.
External Aid: Receives support from sympathizers in the United States and Europe.
aka Hizballah Brigades; Hizballah Brigades In Iraq; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq; Kata'ib Hezbollah; Khata'ib Hezbollah; Khata'ib Hizballah; Khattab Hezballah; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq Of The Islamic Resistance In Iraq; Islamic Resistance In Iraq; Kata'ib Hizballah Fi Al-Iraq; Katibat Abu Fathel Al A'abas; Katibat Zayd Ebin Ali; Katibut Karbalah
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on July 2, 2009, Kata'ib Hizballah (KH) was formed in 2006 and is a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western outlook and extremist ideology that has conducted attacks against Iraqi, U.S., and Coalition targets in Iraq. KH has threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians that support the legitimate political process in Iraq. The group is notable for its extensive use of media operations and propaganda by filming and releasing videos of attacks. KH has ideological ties to Lebanese Hizballah and may have received support from that group and its sponsor, Iran.
Activities: KH has been responsible for numerous violent terrorist attacks since 2007, including improvised explosive device bombings, rocket propelled grenade attacks, and sniper operations. In 2007, KH gained notoriety with attacks on U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq. KH was particularly active in summer 2008, recording and distributing video footage of its attacks against U.S. and Coalition soldiers. Using the alias “Hizballah Brigades in Iraq,” KH filmed attacks on U.S. Stryker vehicles, Abrams tanks, and Bradley armored personnel carriers. In 2009, KH continued to release videos of attacks ranging in date from 2006 to 2008 on the Internet.
In June 2011, five U.S. soldiers were killed in a rocket attack in Baghdad, Iraq, when KH assailants fired between three and five rockets at the United States military base Camp Victory, which surrounds Baghdad's International airport.
Strength: Membership is estimated at 400 individuals.
Location/Area of Operation: KH's operations are predominately Iraq-based. In 2011, KH conducted the majority of its operations in Baghdad but was active in other areas of Iraq, including Kurdish areas such as Mosul.
External Aid: KH is almost entirely dependent on support from Iran and Lebanese Hizballah.
aka the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress; the Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan; KADEK; Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan; the People's Defense Force; Halu Mesru Savunma Kuvveti; Kurdistan People's Congress; People's Congress of Kurdistan; KONGRA-GEL
Description: Founded by Abdullah Ocalan in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist separatist organization, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) or Kongra-Gel (KGK) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The group, composed primarily of Turkish Kurds, launched a campaign of violence in 1984. The PKK's original goal was to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, but in recent years it has spoken more often about autonomy within a Turkish state that guarantees Kurdish cultural and linguistic rights.
In the early 1990s, the PKK moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to include urban terrorism. In the 1990s, southeastern Anatolia was the scene of significant violence; some estimates place casualties at approximately 30,000 persons. Following his capture in 1999, Ocalan announced a “peace initiative,” ordering members to refrain from violence and requesting dialogue with Ankara on Kurdish issues. Ocalan's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment; he remains the symbolic leader of the group. The group foreswore violence until June 2004, when the group's hard-line militant wing took control and renounced the self-imposed cease-fire of the previous five years. Striking over the border from bases within Iraq, the PKK has engaged in terrorist attacks in eastern and western Turkey.
Activities: Primary targets have been Turkish government security forces, local Turkish officials, and villagers who oppose the organization in Turkey. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, PKK violence killed or injured hundreds of Turks.
The PKK remained active in 2011, with approximately 61 credited attacks. At least 88 people were killed in the attacks and 216 wounded. Although the majority of the attacks took place in Turkey, suspected PKK members have carried out multiple attacks on the offices of a Turkish newspaper in Paris, France.
Strength: Approximately 4,000 to 5,000; 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: The PKK o perate primarily in Turkey, Iraq, and Europe.
External Aid: In the past , the PKK received safe haven and modest aid from Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Since 1999, Iran has also cooperated in a limited fashion with Turkey against the PKK. The PKK receives substantial financial support from the large Kurdish diaspora in Europe and from criminal activity there.
aka al Mansooreen; Al Mansoorian; Army of the Pure; Army of the Pure and Righteous; Army of the Righteous; Lashkar e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba; Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis; Paasban-e-Kashmir; Paasban-i-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Kashmir; Jamaat-ud-Dawa, JUD; Jama'at al-Dawa; Jamaat ud-Daawa; Jamaat ul-Dawah; Jamaat-ul-Dawa; Jama'at-i-Dawat; Jamaiat-ud-Dawa; Jama'at-ud-Da'awah; Jama'at-ud-Da'awa; Jamaati-ud-Dawa; Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq; Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; FiF; Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation; Falah-e-Insaniyat; Falah-i-Insaniyat; Falah Insania; Welfare of Humanity; Humanitarian Welfare Foundation; Human Welfare Foundation
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on December 26, 2001, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) is one of the largest and most proficient of the traditionally Kashmir-focused militant groups. It has the ability to severely disrupt already delicate regional relations. LeT formed in the late 1980s as the militant wing of the Islamic extremist organization Markaz Dawa ul-Irshad, a Pakistan-based Islamic fundamentalist mission organization and charity founded to oppose the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. Led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, LeT is not connected to any political party. Shortly after LeT was designated as an FTO, Saeed changed the name to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and began humanitarian projects to avoid restrictions. LeT disseminates its message through JUD's media outlets. Elements of LeT and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JEM) combined with other groups to mount attacks as “The Save Kashmir Movement.” The Pakistani government banned LeT in January 2002 and JUD in 2008 following the Mumbai attack. LeT and Saeed continued to spread terrorist ideology, as well as virulent rhetoric condemning the United States, India, Israel, and other perceived enemies.
Activities: LeT has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir since 1993, as well as several high profile attacks inside India. Indian governmental officials hold LeT responsible for the July 2006 train attack in Mumbai, and multiple attacks in 2005 and 2006. LeT conducted the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai against luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a train station, and a popular café that killed at least 183, including 22 foreigners, and injured more than 300. India has charged 38 people in the case, including the lone surviving alleged attacker Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was captured at the scene. While most of those charged are at large and thought to be in Pakistan, Kasab was sentenced to death for his involvement in the Mumbai massacre. In March 2010, Pakistani-American businessman David Headley pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to crimes relating to his role in the November 2008 LeT attacks in Mumbai as well as to crimes relating to a separate plot to bomb the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten . In May 2011, Headley was a witness in the trial of Tahawwur Rana, who was charged with providing material support to LeT. Rana was convicted for providing material support to LeT in June.
In 2011, LeT was responsible for multiple attacks. Most of the attacks occurred in Jammu and Kashmir, with the deadliest being a May 27, 2011 attack on a private residence in the city of Kupwara that killed two civilians. In a notable 2011 counterterrorism success, police in Indian-administered Kashmir shot and killed a senior LeT operative, Azhar Malik, after they surrounded a house where he was hiding in the town of Sopore.
Strength: The actual size of LeT is unknown, but it has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir and Punjab Pakistan, and in the southern Jammu, Kashmir, and Doda regions. Most LeT members are Pakistanis or Afghans or veterans of the Afghan wars. The group uses assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Location/Area of Operation: LeT maintains a number of facilities, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics in Pakistan.
External Aid: LeT collects donations from Pakistani expatriate communities in the Middle East and Europe, particularly the United Kingdom; Islamic non-governmental organizations; and Pakistani and Kashmiri business people. LeT has global connections and a strong operational network throughout South Asia.
aka Army of Jhangvi; Lashkar e Jhangvi; Lashkar-i-Jhangvi
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 30, 2003, Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ) is the militant offshoot of the Sunni Deobandi sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. LJ focuses primarily on anti-Shia attacks and other attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and was banned by Pakistan in August 2001 as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence. Many of its members then sought refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban, with whom they had existing ties. After the collapse of the Taliban as the ruling government in Afghanistan, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists, providing safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. LJ works closely with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Activities: LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings and has admitted responsibility for numerous killings of Shia religious and community leaders in Pakistan. In January 1999, the group attempted to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province. Media reports linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a March 2002 grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad that killed two U.S. citizens. Pakistani authorities believe LJ was responsible for the July 2003 bombing of a Shia mosque in Quetta, Pakistan. Authorities also implicated LJ in several sectarian incidents in 2004, including the May and June bombings of two Shia mosques in Karachi, which killed more than 40 people.
LJ was very active in 2011. The most notable attack occurred on December 6, in Kabul, Afghanistan, when a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device in a crowd of Shia mourners, killing 48 civilians – including 12 children – and wounding 193. LJ claimed responsibility. In another attack on September 29, in Balochistan, LJ operatives ordered Shia pilgrims off a bus and shot dead 29 victims. An hour after the initial attack, gunmen killed family members travelling to retrieve the victims of the first attack. Additional 2011 attacks included: a January firebombing attack that injured four police officers, and six civilians, including three children; a May attack that killed eight civilians and wounded 15; another May attack that killed two police officers and wounded three; and a July 30 attack that killed 11 civilians and wounded three.
Strength: Assessed in the low hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: LJ is active primarily in Punjab, FATA, Karachi, and Baluchistan. Some members travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
External Aid: Funding comes from wealthy donors in Pakistan as well as the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. The group also engages in criminal activity to fund its activities, including extortion and protection money.
aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers
Description: Founded in 1976 and d esignated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) became a powerful Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka. Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE's international network of sympathizers and financial support persists. LTTE remnants continued to collect contributions from the Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, where there were reports that some of these contributions were coerced by locally-based LTTE sympathizers. The LTTE also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for its fundraising.
Activities: Although the LTTE has been largely inactive since its military defeat in Sri Lanka in 2009, in the past the LTTE was responsible for an integrated battlefield insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders. It conducted a sustained campaign targeting rival Tamil groups, and assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India in 1991 and President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka in 1993. Although most notorious for its cadre of suicide bombers, the Black Tigers, the organization included an amphibious force, the Sea Tigers, and a nascent air wing, the Air Tigers. Fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government escalated in 2006 and continued through 2008.
In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE's key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi. In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighting forces and killed LTTE leader Prahbakaran and other members of the LTTE leadership and military command. As a result, the Sri Lankan government declared military victory over LTTE. In 2010, some LTTE members reportedly fled Sri Lanka and have since attempted to reorganize in India. In June 2010, assailants claiming LTTE membership may have been responsible for an attack against a railway in Tamil Nadu, India. No one was injured when the targeted train was able to stop in time to prevent derailment. There have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war. In March 2010, German police arrested six Tamil migrants living in Germany for supposedly using blackmail and extortion to raise funds for the LTTE. LTTE's financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2011.
Strength: Exact strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operations: Sri Lanka and India.
External Aid: The LTTE used its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies. The group employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for their activities.
Description: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 17, 2004. In the early 1990s, LIFG emerged from the group of Libyans who had fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan and pledged to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi. In the years following, some members maintained an anti-Qadhafi focus and targeted Libyan government interests. Others, such as Abu al-Faraj al-Libi, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2005, have aligned with Usama bin Ladin and are believed to be part of the al-Qa'ida (AQ) leadership structure. On November 3, 2007, AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced a formal merger between AQ and LIFG. However, on July 3, 2009, LIFG members in the United Kingdom released a statement formally disavowing any association with AQ. In September 2009, six imprisoned LIFG members issued a 417-page document that renounced violence. More than 100 LIFG members pledged to adhere to this revised doctrine and have been pardoned and released from prison in Libya since September 2009.
Activities: LIFG has been largely inactive operationally in Libya since the late 1990s when members fled predominately to Europe and the Middle East because of tightened Libyan security measures. In early 2011, in the wake of the Libyan revolution and the fall of Qadhafi, LIFG members created the LIFG successor group, the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change (LIMC), and became one of many rebel groups united under the umbrella of the opposition leadership known as the Transitional National Council. Former LIFG emir and LIMC leader Abdel Hakim Bil-Hajj was appointed the Libyan Transitional Council's Tripoli military commander during the Libyan uprisings and has denied any link between his group and AQ.
Location/Area of Operation: Since the late 1990s, many members have fled to southwest Asia, and European countries, particularly the UK.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain; GICM
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 11, 2005, the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) is a transnational terrorist group centered in the Moroccan diaspora communities of Western Europe. Its goals include establishing an Islamic state in Morocco. The group emerged in the 1990s and is composed of Moroccan recruits who trained in armed camps in Afghanistan, including some who fought in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. GICM members interact with other North African extremists, particularly in Europe.
Activities: GICM members are believed to be among those responsible for the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people. GICM members were also implicated in the recruitment network for Iraq, and at least one GICM member carried out a suicide attack against Coalition Forces in Iraq. According to open source reports, GICM individuals are believed to have participated in the 2003 Casablanca attacks. However, the group has largely been inactive since these attacks, and has not claimed responsibility for or had attacks attributed to them since the Madrid train bombings.
Strength: Much of GICM's leadership in Morocco and Europe has been killed, imprisoned, or is awaiting trial. Alleged leader Mohamed al-Guerbouzi was convicted in absentia by the Moroccan government for his role in the Casablanca attacks but remains free in exile in London.
Location/Area of Operation: Morocco, Western Europe, and Afghanistan.
External Aid: In the past, GICM has been involved in narcotics trafficking in North Africa and Europe to fund its operations.
aka MEK; MKO; Mujahadin-e Khalq; Muslim Iranian Students' Society; National Council of Resistance; NCR; Organization of the People's Holy Warriors of Iran; the National Liberation Army of Iran; NLA; People's Mujahadin Organization of Iran; PMOI; National Council of Resistance of Iran; NCRI; Sazeman-e Mujahadin-e Khalq-e Iran
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Mujahadin-E Khalq Organization ( MEK) is a Marxist-Islamic Organization that seeks the overthrow of the Iranian regime through its military wing, the National Liberation Army (NLA), and its political front, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
The MEK was founded in 1963 by a group of college-educated Iranian Marxists who opposed the country's pro-western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The group participated in the 1979 Islamic Revolution that replaced the Shah with a Shiite Islamist regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini. However, the MEK's ideology – a blend of Marxism, feminism, and Islamism – was at odds with the post-revolutionary government, and its original leadership was soon executed by the Khomeini regime. In 1981, the group was driven from its bases on the Iran-Iraq border and resettled in Paris, where it began supporting Iraq in its eight-year war against Khomeini's Iran. In 1986, after France recognized the Iranian regime, the MEK moved its headquarters to Iraq, which facilitated its terrorist activities in Iran. From 2003 through the end of 2011, roughly 3,400 MEK members were encamped at Ashraf in Iraq.
Activities: The group's worldwide campaign against the Iranian government uses propaganda and terrorism to achieve its objectives. During the 1970s, the MEK staged terrorist attacks inside Iran and killed several U.S. military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran. In 1972, the MEK set off bombs in Tehran at the U.S. Information Service office (part of the U.S. Embassy), the Iran-American Society, and the offices of several U.S. companies to protest the visit of President Nixon to Iran. In 1973, the MEK assassinated the deputy chief of the U.S. Military Mission in Tehran and bombed several businesses, including Shell Oil. In 1974, the MEK set off bombs in Tehran at the offices of U.S. companies to protest the visit of then U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger. In 1975, the MEK assassinated two U.S. military officers who were members of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group in Tehran. In 1976, the MEK assassinated two U.S. citizens who were employees of Rockwell International in Tehran. In 1979, the group claimed responsibility for the murder of an American Texaco executive. Alhough denied by the MEK, analysis based on eyewitness accounts and MEK documents demonstrates that MEK members participated in and supported the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and that the MEK later argued against the early release of the American hostages. The MEK also provided personnel to guard and defend the site of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, following the takeover of the Embassy.
In 1981, MEK leadership attempted to overthrow the newly installed Islamic regime; Iranian security forces subsequently initiated a crackdown on the group. The MEK instigated a bombing campaign, including an attack against the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Prime Minister's office, which killed some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, and Prime Minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar. These attacks resulted in an expanded Iranian government crackdown that forced MEK leaders to flee to France. For five years, the MEK continued to wage its terrorist campaign from its Paris headquarters. Expelled by France in 1986, MEK leaders turned to Saddam Hussein's regime for basing, financial support, and training. Near the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Baghdad armed the MEK with heavy military equipment and deployed thousands of MEK fighters in suicidal, waves of attacks against Iranian forces.
The MEK's relationship with the former Iraqi regime continued through the 1990s. In 1991, the group reportedly assisted the Iraqi Republican Guard's bloody crackdown on Iraqi Shia and Kurds who rose up against Saddam Hussein's regime. In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian embassies and consular missions in 13 countries, including against the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas. In June 1998, the MEK was implicated in a series of bombing and mortar attacks in Iran that killed at least 15 and injured several others. The MEK also assassinated the former Iranian Minister of Prisons in 1998. In April 1999, the MEK targeted key Iranian military officers and assassinated the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff, Brigadier General Ali Sayyaad Shirazi.
In April 2000, the MEK attempted to assassinate the commander of the Nasr Headquarters, Tehran's interagency board responsible for coordinating policies on Iraq. The pace of anti-Iranian operations increased during “Operation Great Bahman” in February 2000, when the group launched a dozen attacks against Iran. One attack included a mortar attack against a major Iranian leadership complex in Tehran that housed the offices of the Supreme Leader and the President. The attack killed one person and injured six other individuals. In March 2000, the MEK launched mortars into a residential district in Tehran, injuring four people and damaging property. In 2000 and 2001, the MEK was involved in regular mortar attacks and hit-and-run raids against Iranian military and law enforcement personnel, as well as government buildings near the Iran-Iraq border. Following an initial Coalition bombardment of the MEK's facilities in Iraq at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, MEK leadership negotiated a cease-fire with Coalition Forces and surrendered their heavy-arms to Coalition control. From 2003 through the end of 2011, roughly 3,400 MEK members were encamped at Ashraf in Iraq.
In 2003, French authorities arrested 160 MEK members at operational bases they believed the MEK was using to coordinate financing and planning for terrorist attacks. Upon the arrest of MEK leader Maryam Rajavi, MEK members took to Paris' streets and engaged in self-immolation. French authorities eventually released Rajavi.
Strength: Estimates place MEK's worldwide membership at between 5,000 and 10,000 members, with large pockets in Paris and other major European capitals. In Iraq, roughly 3,400 MEK members were gathered at Camp Ashraf, the MEK's main compound north of Baghdad, at the end of 2011.
As a condition of the 2003 cease-fire agreement, the MEK relinquished more than 2,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and heavy artillery.
Location/Area of Operation: The MEK's global support structure remains in place, with associates and supporters scattered throughout Europe and North America. Operations have targeted Iranian government elements across the globe, including in Europe and Iran. The MEK's political arm, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has a global support network with active lobbying and propaganda efforts in major Western capitals. NCRI also has a well-developed media communications strategy.
External Aid: Before Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, the MEK received all of its military assistance and most of its financial support from Saddam Hussein. The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime has led the MEK increasingly to rely on front organizations to solicit contributions from expatriate Iranian communities.
aka ELN; Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional
Description: The National Liberation Army (ELN) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The ELN is a Colombian Marxist-Leninist group formed in 1964 by intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. It is primarily rural-based, although it also has several urban units. The ELN remains focused on attacking economic infrastructure, in particular oil and gas pipelines and electricity pylons, and extorting foreign and local companies.
Activities: The ELN engages in kidnappings, hijackings, bombings, drug trafficking, and extortion activities. The group also uses intimidation of judges, prosecutors and witnesses and has been involved in the murder of teachers and trade unionists. Historically, the ELN has been one of the most prolific users of anti-personnel mines in Colombia. In recent years, the ELN has launched joint attacks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest terrorist organization. Authorities believe that the ELN kidnapped at least 25 people and was involved in at least 23 attacks in 2010, some of which were carried out jointly with the FARC.
The two Colombia-based terrorist groups significantly increased their attacks in 2011 as they attempted to undermine the October 30 national elections. Attacks on Colombia's oil and gas industry also significantly increased resulting in major economic damage, and numerous deaths and kidnappings. On June 25, ELN attacked a police outpost in Colon Genova, Narino, killing eight civilians, including a child, and wounding four others. On October 30 – election day – the ELN attempted to kill the Vice President of the House of Representatives, killing his driver but missing the Vice President.
Strength: Approximately 2,000 armed combatants and an unknown number of active supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Mostly in the rural and mountainous areas of northern, northeastern, and southwestern Colombia, as well as the border regions with Venezuela.
External Aid: The ELN draws its funding from the narcotics trade and from extortion of oil and gas companies. Additional funds are derived from kidnapping ransoms. There is no known external aid.
aka PIJ; Palestine Islamic Jihad; PIJ-Shaqaqi Faction; PIJ-Shallah Faction; Islamic Jihad of Palestine; Islamic Jihad in Palestine; Abu Ghunaym Squad of the Hizballah Bayt Al-Maqdis; Al-Quds Squads; Al-Quds Brigades; Saraya Al-Quds; Al-Awdah Brigades
Description: Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Formed by militant Palestinians in Gaza during the 1970s, PIJ is committed to both the destruction of Israel through attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets and the creation of an Islamic state in all of historic Palestine, including present day Israel.
Activities: PIJ terrorists have conducted numerous attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings against Israeli civilian and military targets. PIJ continued to plan and direct attacks against Israelis both inside Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Although U.S. citizens have died in PIJ attacks, the group has not directly targeted U.S. interests. PIJ attacks in 2008, 2009, and 2010 were primarily rocket attacks aimed at southern Israeli cities, and have also included attacking Israeli targets with explosive devices. PIJ continued operations into 2011, claiming responsibility for a mortar attack in Sedero, Israel in February, and a rocket attack in Ashdod, Israel in March.
Strength: PIJ currently has fewer than 1,000 members.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily Gaza with minimal operational presence in the West Bank and Israel. The group's senior leadership resides in Syria. Other leadership elements reside in Lebanon and official representatives are scattered throughout the Middle East.
External Aid: Receives financial assistance and training primarily from Iran.
aka PLF; PLF-Abu Abbas; Palestine Liberation Front
Description: The Palestinian Liberation Front – Abu Abbas Faction (PLF) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. In the late 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) splintered from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and then later split into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Zaydan (a.k.a. Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Activities: Abbas's group was responsible for the 1985 attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer. The PLF was suspected of supporting terrorism against Israel by other Palestinian groups into the 1990s. In April 2004, Abu Abbas died of natural causes while in U.S. custody in Iraq. The PLF took part in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentarian elections but did not win a seat. In 2008, as part of a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizballah, Samir Kantar, a PLF member, and purportedly the longest serving Arab prisoner in Israeli custody, was released from an Israeli prison. After going approximately 16 years without claiming responsibility for an attack, PLF claimed responsibility for two attacks against Israeli targets on March 14, 2008. One attack was against an Israeli military bus in Huwarah, Israel, and the other involved a PLF “brigade” firing at an Israeli settler south of the Hebron Mountain, seriously wounding him. On March 28, 2008, shortly after the attacks, a PLF Central Committee member reaffirmed PLF's commitment to using “all possible means to restore” its previous glory and to adhering to its role in the Palestinian “struggle” and “resistance,” through its military. The PLF did not successfully carry out attacks in 2011.
Strength: Estimates have placed membership between 50 and 500.
Location/Area of Operation: PLF leadership and membership are based in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka PFLP; Halhul Gang; Halhul Squad; Palestinian Popular Resistance Forces; PPRF; Red Eagle Gang; Red Eagle Group; Red Eagles; Martyr Abu-Ali Mustafa Battalion
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist group founded by George Habash, broke away from the Arab Nationalist Movement in 1967. The group earned a reputation for spectacular international attacks in the 1960s and 1970s, including airline hijackings that killed at least 20 U.S. citizens. A leading faction within the PLO, the PFLP has long accepted the concept of a two-state solution but has opposed specific provisions of various peace initiatives.
Activities: The PFLP stepped up its operational activity during the Second Intifada. This was highlighted by at least two suicide bombings since 2003, multiple joint operations with other Palestinian terrorist groups, and the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001, to avenge Israel's killing of the PFLP Secretary General earlier that year. The PFLP was involved in several rocket attacks, launched primarily from Gaza, against Israel in 2008 and 2009, and claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Israeli forces in Gaza, including a December 2009 ambush of Israeli soldiers in central Gaza. The PLFP claimed numerous mortar and rocket attacks fired from Gaza into Israel in 2010, as well as a February attack on a group of Israeli citizens. In 2011, the group continued to use rockets and mortars to target communities in Israel, including rocket attacks in August and October in Eshkolot and Ashqelon, respectively, which caused no injuries or damage. In October, the PFLP claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that killed one civilian in Ashqelon.
Location/Area of Operation: Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
External Aid: Leadership received safe haven in Syria.
Description: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The PFLP-GC split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on resistance and less on politics. Originally, the group was violently opposed to the Arafat-led PLO. Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian Army, has led the PFLP-GC since its founding. The PFLP-GC is closely tied to both Syria and Iran.
Activities: The PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. The organization was known for cross-border terrorist attacks into Israel using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders. The group's primary recent focus was supporting Hizballah's attacks against Israel, training members of other Palestinian terrorist groups, and smuggling weapons. The PFLP-GC maintained an armed presence in several Palestinian refugee camps and at its own military bases in Lebanon and along the Lebanon-Syria border. In recent years, the PFLP-GC was implicated by Lebanese security officials in several rocket attacks against Israel. In May 2008, the PFLP-GC claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on a shopping center in Ashqelon that wounded at least 10 people. In 2009, the group was responsible for wounding two civilians in an armed attack in Nahariyya, Northern District, Israel. In 2011, the PFLP-GC targeted Israeli communities in a March 20 rocket attack by its Jihad Jibril Brigades in the city of Eshkolot, Southern District, Israel. The attack caused no injuries or damage.
Strength: Several hundred.
Location/Area of Operation: Political Leadership was h eadquartered in Damascus, with bases in southern Lebanon and a presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. The group also maintains a small presence in Gaza.
External Aid: Received safe haven and logistical and military support, from Syria and financial support from Iran.
Variant spelling of al-Qa'ida, including al Qaeda; translation “The Base”; Qa'idat al-Jihad (The Base for Jihad) ; formerly Qa'idat Ansar Allah (The Base of the Supporters of God); the Islamic Army; Islamic Salvation Foundation; the Base; The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites; The Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places; the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders; the Usama Bin Ladin Network; the Usama Bin Ladin Organization; al-Jihad; the Jihad Group; Egyptian al-Jihad; Egyptian Islamic Jihad; New Jihad
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1999, al-Qa'ida (AQ) was established by Usama bin Ladin in 1988. The group helped finance, recruit, transport, and train Sunni Islamist extremists for the Afghan resistance. AQ's strategic objectives are to remove Western influence and presence from the Muslim world, topple “apostate” governments of Muslim countries, and establish a pan-Islamic caliphate governed by its own interpretation of Sharia law that ultimately would be at the center of a new international order. These goals remain essentially unchanged since the group's public declaration of war against the United States in 1996. AQ leaders issued a statement in February 1998 under the banner of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders,” saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens, civilian and military, and their allies everywhere. AQ merged with al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) in June 2001. Many AQ leaders were killed in 2011, including Usama bin Ladin and then second in command Atiyah Abd al-Rahman in May and August, respectively.
Activities: AQ and its supporters conducted three bombings that targeted U.S. troops in Aden in December 1992, and claim to have shot down U.S. helicopters and killed U.S. servicemen in Somalia in 1993. AQ also carried out the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing up to 300 individuals and injuring more than 5,000. In October 2000, AQ conducted a suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, with an explosive-laden boat, killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors and injuring 39.
On September 11, 2001, 19 AQ members hijacked and crashed four U.S. commercial jets – two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon near Washington, DC; and the last into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – leaving over 3,000 individuals dead or missing.
In November 2002, AQ carried out a suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya that killed 15. In 2003 and 2004, Saudi-based AQ operatives and associated extremists launched more than a dozen attacks, killing at least 90 people, including 14 Americans in Saudi Arabia. Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed responsibility on behalf of AQ for the July 7, 2005 attacks against the London public transportation system. AQ likely played a role in the unsuccessful 2006 plot to destroy several commercial aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States using liquid explosives. AQ claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack on the Danish embassy in 2008 that killed five, as retaliation for a Danish newspaper re-publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad and for Denmark's involvement in Afghanistan.
In January 2009, Bryant Neal Vinas – a U.S. citizen who traveled to Pakistan, allegedly trained in explosives at AQ camps, was captured in Pakistan and extradited to the United States – was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit murder. Vinas later admitted his role in helping AQ plan an attack against the Long Island Rail Road in New York and confessed to having fired missiles at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. In September 2009, Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant and U.S. lawful permanent resident, was charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, to commit murder in a foreign country, and with providing material support to a terrorist organization as part of an AQ plot to attack the New York subway system. Zazi later admitted to contacts with AQ senior leadership, suggesting they had knowledge of his plans. In February 2010, Zazi pled guilty to charges in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
In a December 2011 video, new AQ leader al-Zawahiri claimed AQ was behind the August kidnapping of American aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan. As conditions for his release, al-Zawahiri demanded the end of U.S. air strikes and the release of all terrorist suspects in U.S. custody.
Strength: AQ's organizational strength is difficult to determine precisely in the aftermath of extensive counterterrorism efforts since 9/11. The death or arrest of mid- and senior-level AQ operatives—including the group's long-time leader Usama Bin Ladin in May 2011— have disrupted communication, financial, facilitation nodes, and a number of terrorist plots. Additionally, supporters and associates worldwide who are “inspired” by the group's ideology may be operating without direction from AQ central leadership; it is impossible to estimate their numbers. AQ serves as a focal point of “inspiration” for a worldwide network of affiliated groups – al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa'ida in Iraq, al-Qa'ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb – and other Sunni Islamic extremist groups, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union, Lashkar i Jhangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahadin, and Jemaah Islamiya. TTP also has strengthened its ties to AQ.
Location/Area of Operation: AQ was based in Afghanistan until Coalition Forces removed the Taliban from power in late 2001. Since then, they have resided in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. AQ has a number of regional affiliates, including al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI), al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and al-Shabaab.
External Aid: AQ primarily depends on donations from like-minded supporters as well as from individuals who believe that their money is supporting a humanitarian cause. Some funds are diverted from Islamic charitable organizations.
aka al-Qa'ida in the South Arabian Peninsula; al-Qa'ida in Yemen; al-Qa'ida of Jihad Organization in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Qa'ida Organization in the Arabian Peninsula; Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Jazirat al-Arab; AQAP; AQY
Description: Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 19, 2010. In January 2009, the leader of al-Qa'ida in Yemen (AQY), Nasir al-Wahishi, publicly announced that Yemeni and Saudi al-Qa'ida (AQ) operatives were working together under the banner of AQAP. This announcement signaled the rebirth of an AQ franchise that previously carried out attacks in Saudi Arabia. AQAP's self-stated goals include establishing a caliphate in the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Middle East, as well as implementing Sharia law.
On September 30, 2011, AQAP cleric and head of external operations Anwar al-Aulaqi, as well as Samir Khan, the publisher of AQAP's online magazine, Inspire, were killed in Yemen.
Activities: AQAP has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against both internal and foreign targets since its inception in January 2009. Attempted attacks against foreign targets include a March 2009 suicide bombing against South Korean tourists in Yemen, the August 2009 attempt to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayif, and the December 25, 2009 attempted attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan. AQAP was responsible for an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the British Ambassador in April 2010, and a failed attempt to target a British embassy vehicle with a rocket in October of that year. Also in October 2010, AQAP claimed responsibility for a foiled plot to send explosive-laden packages to the United States via cargo plane. The parcels were intercepted in the United Kingdom and in the United Arab Emirates.
AQAP took advantage of the pro-democracy demonstrations that swept the Middle East in 2011 when similar demonstrations took place in Yemen. The demonstrations quickly turned violent in Sanaa; and as a result, the Yemeni government focused its attention away from AQAP and towards suppressing the upheaval in the capital. This allowed AQAP to carry out numerous attacks, including multiple attempts to disrupt oil pipelines, attacks on police and government personnel that killed approximately 60 people, and the October assassination of the head of the counterterrorism police force for Abyan Governorate. AQAP was also able to seize small amounts of territory in southern Yemen.
Strength: AQAP has a few thousand members.
Location/Area of Operation: Yemen
External Aid: AQAP's funding primarily comes from robberies and kidnap for ransom operations, and to a lesser degree donations from like-minded supporters.
aka al-Qa'ida Group of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa'ida Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa'ida in Mesopotamia; al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa'ida of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa'ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of The Two Rivers; al-Qa'ida of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Tawhid; Jam'at al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad; Tanzeem Qa'idat al Jihad/Bilad al Raafidaini; Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn; The Monotheism and Jihad Group; The Organization Base of Jihad/Country of the Two Rivers; The Organization Base of Jihad/Mesopotamia; The Organization of al-Jihad's Base in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad's Base in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of al-Jihad's Base of Operations in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad's Base of Operations in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of Jihad's Base in the Country of the Two Rivers; al-Zarqawi Network
Description: Al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 17, 2004. In the 1990s, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant, organized a terrorist group called al-Tawhid wal-Jihad to oppose the presence of U.S. and Western military forces in the Islamic world and the West's support for and the existence of Israel. In late 2004, he joined al-Qa'ida (AQ) and pledged allegiance to Usama bin Ladin. After this al-Tawhid wal-Jihad became known as al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI). Zarqawi traveled to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and led his group against U.S. and Coalition Forces until his death in June 2006. In October 2006, AQI publicly re-named itself the Islamic State of Iraq and has since used that name in its public statements. In 2011, AQI was led by Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, aka Abu Du'a, who was designated under Executive Order 13224 on October 4 .
Activities: Since its founding, AQI has conducted high profile attacks, including improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against U.S. military personnel and Iraqi infrastructure, videotaped beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg (May 11, 2004), Jack Armstrong (September 22, 2004), and Jack Hensley (September 21, 2004), suicide bomber attacks against both military and civilian targets, and rocket attacks. AQI perpetrates the majority of suicide and mass casualty bombings in Iraq, using foreign and Iraqi operatives.
Examples of high profile AQI attacks in 2011 included a series of bombings that spanned January 18-20 that killed 139 people in Tikrit. In August, AQI vowed to carry out “100 attacks” across Iraq, starting in the middle of the Ramadan, to exact revenge for the May 2011 death of Usama bin Ladin. On November 28, AQI killed 20 police officers, government employees , civilians, and children, and wounded 28 others in a suicide vehicle-borne IED attack in At Taji, Baghdad, Iraq. On December 27, n ine car bombs, six roadside bombs, and a mortar round all went off in a two-hour period, targeting residential, commercial, and government districts in Baghdad. AQI later claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed 70 and wounded almost 200.
Strength: Membership is estimated at 1,000-2,000, making it the largest Sunni extremist group in Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: AQI's operations are predominately Iraq-based, but it has perpetrated attacks in Jordan. The group maintains a logistical network throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, South Asia, and Europe, and is believed to be responsible for attacks in Syria as well. In Iraq, AQI conducted the majority of its operations in Ninawa, Diyala, Salah ad Din, and Baghdad provinces in 2011.
External Aid: AQI receives most of its funding from a variety of businesses and criminal activities within Iraq.
aka AQIM; Group for Call and Combat; GSPC; Le Groupe Salafiste Pour La Predication Et Le Combat; Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat
Description: The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002. After the GSPC officially merged with al-Qa'ida (AQ) in September 2006 and became known as al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Department of State amended the GSPC designation to reflect the change on February 20, 2008. AQIM remains largely a regionally-focused terrorist group. It has adopted a more anti-Western rhetoric and ideology and has aspirations of overthrowing “apostate” African regimes and creating an Islamic Caliphate. Abdelmalek Droukdel, aka Abu Mus'ab Abd al-Wadoud, is the group's leader.
AQIM factions in the northern Sahel (northern Mali, Niger, and Mauritania) conducted kidnap for ransom operations and conducted small-scale attacks and ambushes on security forces. The targets for kidnap for ransom are usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of making concessions in the form of ransom payments for the release of individuals in custody.
In September 2010, AQIM claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of seven people working at a mine in Niger. AQIM released three of the hostages in February 2011, but at year's end, four French citizens remained in captivity. AQIM continued kidnapping operations throughout 2011. In January, AQIM kidnapped two French civilians in Niamey, Niger. The kidnappers later killed both hostages during a failed rescue attempt. In February, AQIM conducted its first abduction of a foreigner in Algeria since 2003 when it kidnapped an Italian tourist in Alidena. In October, AQIM kidnapped two Spanish and one Italian aid worker from a refugee camp near Tindouf, Algeria. In November, AQIM was responsible for the November 26 killing of a German man in Mali and the abduction of three men from the Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden in Mali.
Strength: AQIM has under a thousand fighters operating in Algeria with a smaller number in the Sahel. AQIM is significantly constrained by its poor finances and lack of broad general appeal in the region. It is attempting to take advantage of the volatile political situation in the Sahel to expand its membership, resources, and operations.
Location/Area of Operation: Northeastern Algeria (including but not limited to the Kabylie region) and northern Mali, Niger, and Mauritania.
External Aid: AQIM members engage in kidnapping for ransom and criminal activitities to finance their operations. Algerian expatriates and AQIM supporters abroad, many residing in Western Europe, provide limited financial and logistical support.
aka RIRA; Real Irish Republican Army; 32 County Sovereignty Committee; 32 County Sovereignty Movement; Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association; Real Oglaigh Na hEireann
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 16, 2001, the Real IRA (RIRA) was formed in 1997 as the clandestine armed wing of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, a “political pressure group” dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. The RIRA has historically sought to disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process and did not participate in the September 2005 weapons decommissioning. In September 1997, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement opposed Sinn Fein's adoption of the Mitchell principles of democracy and non-violence. Despite internal rifts and calls by some jailed members, including the group's founder Michael “Mickey” McKevitt, for a cease-fire and disbandment, the RIRA has pledged additional violence and continued to conduct attacks.
Activities: Many RIRA members are former Provisional Irish Republican Army members who left the organization after that group renewed its cease-fire in 1997. These members brought a wealth of experience in terrorist tactics and bomb making to the RIRA. Targets have included civilians (most notoriously in the Omagh bombing in August 1998), British security forces, and police in Northern Ireland. The Independent Monitoring Commission, which was established to oversee the peace process, assessed that RIRA members were likely responsible for the majority of the shootings and assaults that occurred in Northern Ireland. In October 2011, Lithuanian authorities convicted a RIRA member for attempting to arrange a shipment of weapons to Northern Ireland in 2008.
In 2011, the group was responsible for seven attacks on Northern Ireland businesses and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and was suspected of other incidents. In January, May, and October, the RIRA damaged office buildings, government facilities, and banks in improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, and in February authorities defused another IED before it could explode. In March, RIRA attacked PSNI officers investigating a car theft, and officials blamed RIRA for a bomb placed under a police car that killed a Catholic police officer in April. RIRA conducted two separate attacks on August 4 and August 24 that killed one civilian and wounded another, respectively.
Strength: A ccording to the Irish government, the RIRA has approximately 100 active members. The organization may receive limited support from IRA hardliners and Republican sympathizers who are dissatisfied with the IRA's continuing cease-fire and with Sinn Fein's involvement in the peace process.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the Irish Republic.
External Aid: The RIRA is suspected of receiving funds from sympathizers in the United States and of attempting to buy weapons from U.S. gun dealers. The RIRA was also reported to have purchased sophisticated weapons from the Balkans and to have occasionally collaborated with the Continuity Irish Republican Army.
aka FARC; Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is Latin America's oldest, largest, most violent, and best-equipped terrorist organization. The FARC began in the early 1960s as an outgrowth of the Liberal Party-based peasant self-defense leagues, but took on Marxist ideology. Today, it only nominally fights in support of Marxist goals, and is heavily involved in narcotics production and trafficking. The FARC is responsible for large numbers of kidnappings for ransom in Colombia and in past years has held more than 700 hostages. The FARC has been degraded by a continuing Colombian military offensive targeting key FARC units and leaders that has, by most estimates, halved the FARC's numbers and succeeded in capturing or killing a number of FARC senior and mid-level commanders.
Activities: The FARC has carried out bombings, murder, mortar attacks, kidnapping, extortion, and hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, civilian, and economic targets. The FARC has also used landmines extensively. The group considers U.S. citizens legitimate targets, and other foreign citizens are often targets of abductions carried out to obtain ransom and political leverage. The FARC has well-documented ties to the full range of narcotics trafficking activities, including taxation, cultivation, and distribution. In 2011, Colombian government investigators reported that the FARC controlled approximately 15 gold mines in the Bolivar Department, and was actively involved in the extortion of heavy equipment operators at the mines. According to the investigators, the FARC could be receiving approximately $850 million annually from these activities.
Over the years, the FARC has perpetrated a large number of high profile terrorist acts, including the 1999 murder of three U.S. missionaries working in Colombia, and multiple kidnappings and assassinations of Colombian government officials and civilians. In July 2008, the Colombian military made a dramatic rescue of 15 high-value FARC hostages including three U.S. Department of Defense contractors Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howe, who were held in captivity for more than five years along with former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.
FARC attacks increased significantly during 2011 likely due to the FARC's effort to disrupt the October national elections. Among the numerous attacks was the February 11 mortar attack in San Miguel, Putumayo, killing five civilians including a child and wounding two other children. Coordinated FARC attacks in late October in Narino and Arauca killed more than 30 Colombian service members. In July, a bombing of a bus, attributed to the FARC, took place in Toribio, Cauca, resulting in two deaths and 70 injuries of members of a local indigenous community. The FARC executed four Colombian military hostages on November 25. The four had been held captive for at least 12 years and were shot at close range while in chains.
Strength: Approximately 8,000 to 9,000 combatants, with several thousand more supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily in Colombia. Activities including extortion, kidnapping, weapons sourcing, and logistical planning took place in neighboring countries.
External Aid: Cuba provided some medical care, safe haven, and political consultation. The FARC often use Colombia's border areas with Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador for incursions into Colombia; and Venezuelan and Ecuadorian territory for safe haven, although the degree of government acquiescence is not always clear.
aka Epanastatiki Organosi 17 Noemvri; 17 November
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) is a radical leftist group established in 1975. Named for the student uprising in Greece in November 1973 that protested the ruling military junta, 17N is opposed to the Greek government, the United States, Turkey, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It seeks the end of the U.S. military presence in Greece, the removal of Turkish military forces from Cyprus, and the severing of Greece's ties to NATO and the European Union (EU).
Activities: Initial attacks consisted of assassinations of senior U.S. officials and Greek public figures. Five U.S. Embassy employees have been murdered since 17N began its terrorist activities in 1975. The group began using bombings in the 1980s. In 1990, 17N expanded its targets to include Turkish diplomats, EU facilities, and foreign firms investing in Greece. 17N's most recent attack was a bombing attempt in June 2002 at the port of Piraeus in Athens. After the attempted attack, Greek authorities arrested 19 17N members, including a key leader of the organization. The convictions of 13 of these members have been upheld by Greek courts.
Location/Area of Operation: Athens, Greece.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka DHKP/C; Dev Sol; Dev Sol Armed Revolutionary Units; Dev Sol Silahli Devrimci Birlikleri; Dev Sol SDB; Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi; Devrimci Sol; Revolutionary Left
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of Dev Genc (Revolutionary Youth). It was renamed in 1994 after factional infighting. “Party” refers to the group's political activities, while “Front” is a reference to the group's militant operations. The group espouses a Marxist-Leninist ideology and vehemently opposes the United States, NATO, and Turkish establishments. Its goals are the establishment of a socialist state and the abolition of harsh high-security “F-type” prisons, in Turkey. DHKP/C finances its activities chiefly through donations and extortion.
Activities: Since the late 1980s, the group has primarily targeted current and retired Turkish security and military officials. It began a new campaign against foreign interests in 1990, which included attacks against U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities. Dev Sol assassinated two U.S. military contractors, wounded an Air Force officer, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, commercial, and cultural facilities. DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its repertoire in 2001, with successful attacks against Turkish police in January and September. Since the end of 2001, DHKP/C has typically used improvised explosive devices against official Turkish targets and U.S. targets of opportunity.
Operations and arrests against the group have weakened its capabilities. In late June 2004, the group was suspected of a bus bombing at Istanbul University, which killed four civilians and wounded 21. In July 2005, in Ankara, police intercepted and killed a DHKP/C suicide bomber who attempted to attack the Ministry of Justice. In June 2006, the group killed a police officer in Istanbul; four members of the group were arrested the next month for the attack.
The DHKP/C was dealt a major ideological blow when Dursun Karatas, leader of the group, died in August 2008 in the Netherlands. After the loss of their leader, the DHKP/C reorganized in 2009 and was reportedly competing with the Kurdistan Workers Party for influence in both Turkey and with the Turkish diaspora in Europe. In 2011, DHKP/C continued to plan terrorist attacks, and suspected members were arrested in Greece in July. In October, a suspected DHKP/C member blew himself up with a grenade in Thessaloniki, Greece. A significant cache of weapons was found in the suspect's apartment, shared with other suspected DHKP/C members.
Strength: Probably several dozen members inside Turkey, with a limited support network throughout Europe.
Location/Area of Operation: Turkey, primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana.
External Aid: DHKP/C raises funds in Europe. The group also raises funds through extortion.
aka RS; Epanastatikos Aghonas; EA
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 18, 2009, Revolutionary Struggle (RS) is a radical leftist group with Marxist ideology that has conducted attacks against both Greek and U.S. targets in Greece. RS emerged in 2003 following the arrests of members of the Greek leftist groups 17 November and Revolutionary People's Struggle.
Activities: RS first gained notoriety when it claimed responsibility for the September 5, 2003 bombings at the Athens Courthouse during the trials of 17 November members. From 2004 to 2006, RS claimed responsibility for a number of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, including a March 2004 attack outside of a Citibank office in Athens. RS claimed responsibility for the January 12, 2007 rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens, which resulted in damage to the building. In 2009, RS increased the number and sophistication of its attacks on police, financial institutions, and other targets. RS successfully bombed a Citibank branch in Athens in March 2009, but failed in its vehicle-borne IED attack in February 2009 against the Citibank headquarters building in Athens. In September 2009, RS claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack on the Athens Stock Exchange, which caused widespread damage and injured a passerby.
In 2010, the Greek Government made significant strides in curtailing RS's terrorist activities. On April 10, Greek police arrested six suspected RS members, including purported leadership figure Nikos Maziotis. In addition to the arrests, the Greek raid resulted in the seizure of a RPG launcher, possibly the one used against the U.S. Embassy in Athens in January 2007. The six, plus two other suspected RS members, face charges for arms offenses, causing explosions, and multiple counts of attempted homicide. Their trial started in December 2011, and if found guilty, the suspects face up to 25 years in prison.
Strength: Unknown but numbers presumed to be small.
Location/Area of Operation: Athens, Greece.
External Aid: Unknown.
aka The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin; al-Shabab; Shabaab; the Youth; Mujahidin al-Shabaab Movement; Mujahideen Youth Movement; Mujahidin Youth Movement
Description: D esignated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 18, 2008, al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the former Somali Islamic Courts Council that took over parts of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Since the end of 2006, al-Shabaab and disparate clan militias have led a violent insurgency using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. Several senior al-Shabaab leaders have publicly proclaimed loyalty to AQ. In some camps, AQ-affiliated foreign fighters often led the training and indoctrination of the recruits. Rank and file militia fighters from multiple clan and sub-clan factions that are aligned with al-Shabaab are predominantly interested in indigenous issues. The group's foreign fighters were generally intent on conducting attacks outside Somalia and as of late 2011 had seen their operational capacity reduced due to the military campaign against al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab proceeded to develop ties to al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) during 2011.
Activities: Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the TFG, forcibly recruit new fighters, and kill activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue and reconciliation. The group has claimed responsibility for several high profile bombings and shootings throughout Somalia targeting African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops and TFG officials. It has been responsible for the assassination of numerous civil society figures, government officials, and journalists. Al-Shabaab fighters and those who have also claimed allegiance to the group have conducted violent attacks and have assassinated international aid workers and members of non-governmental organizations.
In its first attack outside of Somalia, al-Shabaab was responsible for the July 11, 2010 suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda during the World Cup, which killed nearly 76 people, including one American citizen. Al-Shabaab's attacks continued apace in 2011, and resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people. Among al-Shabaab's most deadly 2011 attacks were a string of armed assaults in May that killed over 120 people, a June attack on AMISOM peacekeepers that killed 13, and an October vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on a government compound in Mogadishu that killed more than 70 people, including nine children. Al-Shabaab also killed the TFG Minister of Interior in June.
Location/Area of Operation: After the organization's area of control expanded in 2010, al-Shabaab lost control of significant areas of territory in 2011. By August, after a multi-front offensive against al-Shabaab, the group left Mogadishu, and the TFG and AMISOM gained control of the majority of districts in Mogadishu for the first time. Despite these losses, al-Shabaab continued to control much of southern Somalia throughout 2011.
Strength: Al-Shabaab is estimated to have several thousand members when augmented by foreign fighters and allied clan militias.
External Aid: Because al-Shabaab is a multi-clan entity, it receives significant donations from the global Somali diaspora; however, the donations are not all intended to support terrorism; the money is also meant to support family members. The loss of Mogadishu as a source of tax revenue caused al-Shabaab's revenue to diminish in 2011. However, al-Shabaab leaders and many rank-and-file fighters have successfully garnered significant amounts of money from port revenues and through criminal enterprises, especially in Kismayo.
aka SL; Sendero Luminoso; Ejercito Guerrillero Popular (People's Guerrilla Army); EGP; Ejercito Popular de Liberacion (People's Liberation Army); EPL; Partido Comunista del Peru (Communist Party of Peru); PCP; Partido Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui); Socorro Popular del Peru (People's Aid of Peru); SPP
Description: Shining Path (SL) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Former university professor Abimael Guzman formed SL in Peru in the late 1960s, and his teachings created the foundation of SL's militant Maoist doctrine. SL's stated goal is to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with a communist peasant revolutionary regime. It also opposes any influence by foreign governments. In the 1980s, SL was one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere. The Peruvian government made dramatic gains against SL during the 1990s, capturing Guzman in 1992, and killing a large number of militants. In 2011, the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) faction of SL was largely reduced, and in December, the faction's leader publicly acknowledged defeat. Still, he did not turn himself in or disband his organization. Separately, the much larger and stronger rival SL faction in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) maintained its influence.
Activities: SL activities have included intimidation of U.S.-sponsored non-governmental organizations involved in counternarcotics efforts, the ambushing of counternarcotics helicopters, and attacks against Peruvian police perpetrated in conjunction with narcotics traffickers.
SL killed an estimated 17 people in 2011, including 11 soldiers in a December attack on a military convoy and a military helicopter.
Strength: The two SL factions together are believed to have several hundred armed members.
Location/Area of Operation: Peru, with most activity in rural areas, specifically the Huallaga Valley, the Ene River, and the Apurimac Valley of central Peru.
External Aid: SL is primarily funded by the narcotics trade.
Aka: Pakistani Taliban; Tehreek-e-Taliban; Tehrik-e-Taliban; Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan; Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan; TTP
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 1, 2010, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a Pakistan-based terrorist organization formed in 2007 in opposition to Pakistani military efforts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Previously disparate militant tribes agreed to cooperate and eventually coalesced into TTP under the leadership of now deceased leader Baitullah Mehsud. The group officially presented itself as a discrete entity in 2007. TTP has been led by Hakimullah Mehsud since August 2009. Other senior leaders include Wali Ur Rehman, the TTP emir in South Waziristan, Pakistan. TTP's goals include overthrowing the Government of Pakistan by waging a terrorist campaign against the civilian leader of Pakistan, its military, and NATO forces in Afghanistan. TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghan-Pakistani border to train and deploy its operatives, and the group has a symbiotic relationship with al-Qa'ida (AQ). TTP draws ideological guidance from AQ, while AQ relies on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. This arrangement gives TTP access to both AQ's global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members. Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, TTP is a force multiplier for AQ.
Activities: TTP has carried out and claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani and U.S. interests, including a December 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Khowst, Afghanistan, which killed seven U.S. citizens, and an April 2010 suicide bombing against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed six Pakistani citizens. TTP is suspected of being involved in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. TTP claimed to have supported the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to detonate an explosive device in New York City's Times Square on May 1, 2010. TTP's claim was validated by investigations that revealed that TTP directed and facilitated the plot.
Throughout 2011, TTP carried out attacks against the Government of Pakistan and civilian targets, as well as against U.S. targets in Pakistan. Attacks in 2011 included: a March bombing at a gas station in Faisalabad that killed 31 people; an April double suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in Dera Ghazi Khan that left more than 50 dead; a May bombing of an American consulate convoy in Peshawar that killed one person and injured twelve; a May siege of a naval base in Karachi; the May assassination of the PNS Mehran Saudi diplomat in Karachi; and a September attack against a school bus that killed four children and the bus driver.
Strength: Several thousand.
Location: Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan
External aid: TTP is believed to raise most of its funds through kidnapping for ransom and operations that target Afghanistan-bound military transport trucks for robbery. Such operations enable TTP to steal military equipment, which they then sell in Afghan and Pakistani markets.
aka AUC; Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 10, 2001, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) – commonly referred to as the paramilitaries – was formed in April 1997. AUC was designed to serve as an umbrella group for loosely affiliated, illegal paramilitary groups retaliating against leftist guerillas. As the Colombian government increasingly confronted terrorist organizations, however, including the AUC, the group's activities decreased. After a large-scale demobilization process began in 2010, most of the AUC's centralized military structure was dismantled and all of the top paramilitary chiefs have stepped down.
Activities: The AUC has carried out political killings and kidnappings of human rights workers, journalists, teachers, and trade unionists, among others. As much as 70 percent of the AUC's paramilitary operational costs were financed with drug-related earnings. Some former members of the AUC never demobilized or are recidivists, and these elements have continued to engage heavily in criminal activities. The AUC did not carry out any terrorist attacks during 2011.
Strength: Unknown .
Location/Areas of Operation: Paramilitary forces were strongest in Northwest Colombia, with affiliate groups in Valle del Cauca, on the west coast, and Meta Department, in Central Columbia.
External Aid: None.