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Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1992
Background Information on Terrorist Groups
Abu Nidal organization (ANO) aka: Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims.
Description International terrorist organization led by Sabri al-Banna. Split from PLO in 1974. Made up of various functional committees, including political, military, and financial.
Activities Has carried out over 90 terrorist attacks since 1974 in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 people. Targets the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries, depending on which state is sponsoring it at the time. Major attacks include Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi in September 1986, and The City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in July 1988 in Greece. Suspected of carrying out assassination on 14 January 1991 in Tunis of PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad and PLO security chief Abu Hul. ANO members also attacked and seriously wounded a senior ANO dissident in Algeria in March 1990.
Strength Several hundred plus ``militia'' in Lebanon and overseas support structure.
Location/Area of Operation Headquartered in Iraq (1974-83) and Syria (1983-87); currently headquartered in Libya with substantial presence in Lebanon (in the Bekaa Valley and several Palestinian refugee camps in coastal areas of Lebanon). Also has presence in Algeria. Has demonstrated ability to operate over wide area, including Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
External Aid Has received considerable support, including safehaven, training, logistic assistance, and financial aid from Iraq and Syria (until 1987); continues to receive aid from Libya, in addition to close support for selected operations.
Al-Fatah aka: Al-`Asifa.
Description Headed by Yasser Arafat, Fatah joined the PLO in 1968 and won the leadership role in 1969. Its commanders were expelled from Jordan following violent confrontations with Jordanian forces during the period 1970-71, beginning with Black September in 1970. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 led to the group's dispersal to several Middle Eastern countries, including Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, and others. Maintains several military and intelligence wings that have carried out terrorist attacks, including Force 17 and the Hawari Special Operations Group. Two of its leaders, Abu Jihad and Abu Iyad, were assassinated in recent years.
Activities In the 1960s and the 1970s, Fatah offered training to a wide range of European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African terrorist and insurgent groups. Carried out numerous acts of international terrorism in Western Europe and the Middle East in the early-to-middle 1970s.
Strength 6,000 to 8,000.
Location/Area of Operation Headquartered in Tunisia, with bases in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries.
External Aid Has had close, longstanding political and financial ties to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other moderate Persian Gulf states. These relations were disrupted by the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. Also has had links to Jordan. Received weapons, explosives, and training from the former USSR and the former Communist regimes of East European states. China and North Korea have reportedly provided some weapons.
Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)aka: The Orly Group, 3rd October Organization
Description Marxist-Leninist Armenian terrorist group formed in 1975 with stated intention to compel the Turkish Government to acknowledge publicly its alleged responsibility for the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory for an Armenian homeland. Led by Hagop Hagopian until he was assassinated in Athens in April 1988.
Activities Initial bombing and assassination attacks directed against Turkish targets. Later attacked French and Swiss targets to force release of imprisoned comrades. Made several minor bombing attacks against US airline offices in Western Europe in early 1980s. Bombing of Turkish airline counter at Orly Airport in Paris in 1983--eight killed and 55 wounded--led to split in group over rationale for causing indiscriminate casualties. Suffering from internal schisms, group has been relatively inactive over past four years, although recently claimed an unsuccessful attack on Turkish Ambassador to Hungary.
Strength A few hundred members and sympathizers.
Location/Area of Operation Lebanon, Western Europe, Armenia, United States, and Middle East.
External Aid Has received aid, including training and safehaven, from Syria. May also receive some aid from Libya. Has extensive ties to radical Palestinian groups, including the PFLP and PFLP-GC.
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Description Founded in 1959 with the aim of creating an independent homeland in Spain's Basque region. Has muted commitment to Marxism. In 1974 split into two factions--ETA-Political-Military and ETA-Military; the former has been inactive since limited home rule granted in 1982. Despite the arrest of several leaders and terrorist cells in Spain and France over the past two years, ETA-Military has continued to conduct lethal attacks.
Activities Chiefly bombings and assassinations of Spanish Government targets, especially security forces. Finances activities through kidnappings, robberies, and extortion. Bombings are sophisticated, lethal, and sometimes indiscriminate. Over 40 people were killed and over 200 injured in ETA attacks during 1991.
Strength Unknown; may have hundreds of members, plus supporters.
Location/Area of Operations Operates primarily in Spain and France but conducted low-intensity bombings against Spanish diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities in Italy and Germany in 1991.
External Aid Has received training at various times in Libya, Lebanon, and Nicaragua. Also has close ties to PIRA.
Chukaku-Ha (Nucleus or Middle-Core Faction)
Description An ultraleftist/radical group with origins in the fragmentation of the Japanese Communist Party in 1957. Largest domestic militant group; has political arm plus small, covert action wing called Kansai Revolutionary Army. Funding derived from membership dues, sales of its newspapers, and fundraising campaigns.
Activities Participates in mass protest demonstrations and snake-dancing in streets; supports farmers' protest of construction of Narita airport, among other causes; sabotaged part of Japanese railroad system in 1985 and 1986; sporadic attacks usually designed to cause only property damage through use of crude rockets and incendiary devices; anti-US attacks include small-scale rocket attempts against US military and diplomatic targets; no US casualties so far.
Location/Area of Operation Japan.
External Aid None known.
CNPZ (see Nestor Paz Zamora Commission)
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
Description Marxist group that split from the PFLP in 1969. Believes Palestinian national goals can be achieved only through revolution of the masses. In early 1980s, occupied political stance midway between Arafat and the more radical rejectionists. Split into two factions in 1991, one pro-Arafat and another more hardline faction headed by Nayif Hawatmah.
Activities In the 1970s, carried out numerous small bombings and minor assaults and some more spectacular operations in Israel and the occupied territories, concentrating on Israeli targets such as the 1974 massacre in Ma'alot in which 27 Israelis were killed and over 100 wounded. Involved only in border raids since 1988.
Strength Estimated at 500 (total for both factions).
Location/Area of Operation Syria, Lebanon, and the Israeli-occupied territories; attacks have taken place entirely in Israel and the occupied territories.
External Aid Receives financial and military aid from Syria and Libya.
Devrimci Sol aka: Dev Sol
Description Formed in 1978 as a splinter faction of the Turkish People's Liberation Party/Front. Espouses a Marxist ideology, intensely xenophobic, and virulently anti-US and anti-NATO; seeks to unify the proletariat to stage a national revolution. Finances its activities chiefly through armed robberies and extortion.
Activities Conducted attacks against US, Turkish, and NATO targets until weakened by massive arrests during 1981-83. Methods of attack include handgun assassinations and bombings. Since reemergence during late 1980s, has concentrated attacks against current and retired Turkish security and military officials; responsible for the murders of four active and retired generals and nearly 30 police officers in 1991. Resumed operations against foreign interests during 1991, claiming responsibility for assassinating two American contractors and one British businessman; attempted the murder of a US Air Force officer and over 30 bombings against Western diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities.
Strength Several hundred members, several dozen armed militants.
Location/Area of Operation Carries out attacks in Turkey--primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Conducts fundraising operations in Western Europe.
External Aid Possible training support from radical Palestinians.
ELA (see Revolutionary People's Struggle)
ELN (see National Liberation Army)
ETA (see Basque Fatherland and Liberty)
Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN)
Description Formed in 1980 with Cuban backing, the guerrilla umbrella organization is composed of five leftist groups: Central American Workers' Revolutionary Party (PRTC), People's Revolutionary Army (ERP), Farabundo Marti Popular Liberation Forces (FPL), Armed Forces of National Resistance (FARN), and the Communist Party of El Salvador's Armed Forces of Liberation (FAL). The group reached a peace agreement with the Government of El Salvador on 31 December 1991.
Activities Bombings, assassinations, economic sabotage, arson, among other rural and urban operations. Since 1988 the FMLN increased urban terrorism in the capital.
Strength 6,000 to 7,000 combatants.
Location/Area of Operation El Salvador, limited activity in Honduras.
External Aid Has received direct support from Cuba and receives support from the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, where it maintains an office. The FMLN also receives significant financial support from front groups and sympathetic organizations in the United States and Europe.
FARC (see Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)
Fatah (see Al-Fatah)
15 May Organization
Description Formed in 1979 from remnants of Wadi Haddad's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Operations Group (PFLP-SOG). Led by Muhammad al-Umari, who is known throughout Palestinian circles as Abu Ibrahim or the bomb man. Group was never part of PLO. Reportedly disbanded in the mid-1980s when several key members joined Colonel Hawari's Special Operations Group of Fatah.
Activities Claimed credit for several bombings in the early-to-middle 1980s, including hotel bombing in London (1980), El Al's Rome and Istanbul offices (1981), and Israeli Embassies in Athens and Vienna (1981). Anti-US attacks include an attempted bombing of a Pan Am airliner in Rio de Janeiro and a bombing on board a Pan Am flight from Tokyo to Honolulu in August 1982. (The accused bomber in this last attack, Mohammed Rashid, is currently jailed in Greece following his conviction for the bombing, which killed a Japanese teenager.)
Strength 50 to 60 in early 1980s.
Location/Area of Operation Baghdad until 1984. Before disbanding, operated in Middle East, Europe, and East Asia, Abu Ibrahim is reportedly in Iraq.
External Aid Probably received logistic and financial support from Iraq until 1984.
First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO)
Description Small, Maoist urban terrorist group established in 1975. Loosely associated with the Spanish Communist Party-Reconstituted. Seeks to remove US military forces from Spain and establish a revolutionary regime.
Activities Carried out small-scale bombing attacks on US and NATO facilities in early 1980s; capabilities reduced by arrests since 1985. During 1991, GRAPO claimed responsibility for bombing a rail line outside Madrid and segments of the NATO pipeline in Spain.
Strength Probably fewer than a dozen operatives.
Location/Area of Operation Spain.
External Aid Reported to have had ties to the French Action Directe and the Italian Red Brigades. The German RAF has sought ties to the group.
Description Formed in early 1970s as a personal security force for Arafat and other PLO leaders.
Activities According to press sources, in 1985 expanded operations to include terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
No confirmed terrorist activity outside Israel and the occupied territories since September 1985, when it claimed responsibility for killing three Israelis in Cyprus, an incident that was followed by Israeli air raids on PLO bases in Tunisia.
Location/Area of Operation Based in Beirut before 1982. Since then, dispersed in several Arab countries. Now operating in Lebanon, other Middle Eastern countries, and Europe.
External Aid PLO is main source of support.
FPM (see Morazanist Patriotic Front)
FPMR (see Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front)
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (aka: The Islamic Group)
Description An indigenous Egyptian Islamic extremist group active since the late 1970s; appears to be loosely organized with no single readily identifiable operational leader. Sheikh Omar Abdurrahman is the preeminent spiritual leader. Goal is to overthrow the government of President Hosni Mubarak and replace it with an Islamic state.
Activities Armed attacks against Egyptian security and other officials, Coptic Christians, Western tourists, and Egyptian opponents of Islamic extremism. It assassinated the speaker of the Egyptian assembly in October 1990 and launched a series of attacks on tourists in Egypt in 1992. One of the attacks resulted in the death of a British tourist.
Strength Not known, but probably several thousand hardcore members and another several thousand sympathizers.
Location/Area of Operation Operates mainly in the Al Minya, Asyut, and Qina Governorates of southern Egypt. It also appears to have support in Cairo, Alexandria, and other urban locations, particularly among unemployed graduates and students.
External Aid Not known. Egyptian Government believes that Iran and Sudan support the group.
GRAPO (see First of October Antifascist Resistance Group)
Hawari Group aka: Fatah Special Operations Group, Martyrs of Tal Al Za'atar, Amn Araissi
Description Part of Yasser Arafat's Fatah apparatus, the group is named after its leader commonly known as Colonel Hawari, who died in an automobile crash in May 1991 while traveling from Baghdad to Jordan. The group has ties historically to Iraq. Membership includes former members of the radical Palestinian 15 May organization.
Activities Carried out several attacks in 1985 and 1986, mainly in Europe and usually against Syrian targets. Has also targeted Americans, most notably in the April 1986 bombing of TWA Flight 840 over Greece in which four Americans were killed. Future of group uncertain following Hawari's death.
Location/Area of Operation Middle Eastern countries and Europe.
External Aid PLO is main source of support.
HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
Description HAMAS was formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and has become Fatah's principal political rival in the occupied territories. Various elements of HAMAS have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. HAMAS is loosely structured, with some elements working openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. Other elements, operating clandestinely, have advocated and used violence to advance their goals. HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the West Bank. It has also engaged in peaceful political activity, such as running candidates in West Bank chamber of commerce elections.
Activities HAMAS activists--especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Forces--have conducted many attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets, suspected Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals. During 1992, elements of HAMAS were responsible for several prominent anti-Israeli attacks, including ambushes of military units in the West Bank and the murder of a member of the Israeli border police in December. HAMAS elements are increasingly using lethal weapons and tactics--such as firearms, roadside explosive charges, and car bombs--in their operations.
Strength Unknown number of hard-core members; tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers.
Location/Area of Operations Primarily the occupied territories, Israel, and Jordan.
External Aid Receives funding from Palestinian expatriates, Iran, and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activity takes place in Western Europe and North America.
Hizballah (Party of God) aka: Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine
Description Radical Shia group formed in Lebanon; dedicated to creation of Iranian-style Islamic republic in Lebanon and removal of all non-Islamic influences from area. Strongly anti-West and anti-Israel. Closely allied with, and often directed by, Iran. Dissidents, however, have conducted rogue operations that were not approved by Tehran.
Activities Known or suspected to have been involved in numerous anti-US terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck-bombing on the US Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 and the US Embassy annex in September 1984. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping and detention of most, if not all, US and other Western hostages in Lebanon. Islamic Jihad publicly claimed responsibility for the car-bombing of Israel's Embassy in Buenos Aires in March 1992.
Strength Several thousand.
Location/Area of Operation Operates in the Bekaa Valley, the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon: has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, and elsewhere.
External Aid Receives substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran.
Japanese Red Army (JRA) aka: Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB)
Description An international terrorist group formed about 1970 after breaking away from Japanese Communist League Red Army Faction. Now led by Fusako Shigenobu, believed to be in Syrian-garrisoned area of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Stated goals are to overthrow Japanese Government and monarchy and to help foment world revolution. Organization unclear but may control or at least have ties to Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB); may also have links to Antiwar Democratic Front--an overt leftist political organization--inside Japan. Details released following November 1987 arrest of leader Osamu Maruoka indicate that JRA may be organizing cells in Asian cities, such as Manila and Singapore. Has had close and longstanding relations with Palestinian terrorist groups--based and operating outside Japan--since its inception.
Activities Before 1977, JRA carried out a series of brutal attacks over a wide geographical area, including the massacre of passengers at Lod airport in Israel (1972) and two Japanese airliner hijackings (1973 and 1977). Anti-US attacks include attempted takeover of US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur (1975). Since mid-1980s has carried out several crude rocket and mortar attacks against a number of US embassies. In April 1988, JRA operative Yu Kikumura was arrested with explosives on the New Jersey Turnpike, apparently planning an attack to coincide with the bombing of a USO Club in Naples, a suspected JRA operation that killed five, including a US servicewoman. He was convicted of these charges and is serving a lengthy prison sentence in the United States.
Strength About 30 hardcore members; undetermined number of sympathizers.
Location/Area of Operation Based in Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon; often transits Damascus.
External Aid Receives aid, including training and base camp facilities, from radical Palestinian terrorists, especially the PFLP. May also receive aid from Libya. Suspected of having sympathizers and support apparatus in Japan.
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) aka: Kurdistan Labor Party
Description Marxist-Leninist terrorist group composed of Turkish Kurds established in mid-1970s. Seeks to set up Marxist state in southeastern Turkey, which has a large population of Kurds.
Activities Primary targets are Turkish Government forces and civilians in southeastern Turkey but is becoming increasingly active in Western Europe against Turkish targets and rival Kurdish groups. In 1986, attacked NATO target in Mardin, Turkey. In the summer of 1991 the PKK carried out a spate of kidnappings of Westerners; all were released unharmed.
Strength 3,000, plus 2,000 to 5,000 supporters.
Location/Area of Operations Iran, Syria, and Iraq. Operates in Turkey and Western Europe; training facilities in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
External Aid Probably still receives some aid and safehaven from Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
Lautaro Youth Movement (MJL) aka: The Lautaro faction of the United Popular Action Movement (MAPU/L) or Lautaro Popular Rebel Forces (FRPL)
Description Violent, anti-US, extremist group that advocates the overthrow of the Chilean Government. Leadership largely from leftist elements but includes criminals and alienated youths. Recruits from poorer areas of cities. The leftist group became active in late 1980s. Its assaults during 1990 increased in number and sophistication and have continued through 1992.
Activities Has been linked to several assassinations of policemen, bank robberies, and bombings and burnings of Mormon chapels.
Location/Area of Operation Chile; mainly in Santiago.
External Aid May have ties to Cuba.
Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR)
Description The FPMR was founded in 1983 as the armed wing of the Chilean Communist Party and named for a hero in Chile's war of independence against Spain. The main movement announced it was laying down arms to become a political movement on 1 June 1991. The group splintered in 1987 into two factions, of which the dissident wing (FPMR/D) is now one of Chile's most active terrorist groups.
Activities FPMR/D is responsible for numerous bombing attacks against domestic and foreign targets and assassinations of Chileans. Responsible for many attacks on Mormon churches and US businesses from 1986 through 1992. In November 1990 an FPMR/D bomb concealed in a softball bat killed a Canadian and injured a US Embassy officer. The group attacked a Marine guard van at the US Embassy on 16 February 1991 with an antitank rocket that did not detonate and automatic weapons fire, injuring one US marine.
Strength 1,000 to 1,500.
Location/Area of Operation Chile.
External Aid Received training and weapons support from Cuba in past years, none in 1991. May cross-train with Peru's MRTA.
MJL (see Lautaro Youth Movement)
Morazanist Patriotic Front (FPM)
Description A radical, leftist terrorist group that first appeared in the late 1980s. Attacks made in protest of US intervention in Honduran economic and political affairs.
Activities Attacks on US, mainly military, personnel in Honduras. Claimed responsibility for attack on a bus in March 1990 that wounded seven US servicemen. Claimed bombing of Peace Corps office in December 1988, bus bombing that wounded three US servicemen in February 1989, attack on US convoy in April 1989, and grenade attack that wounded seven US soldiers in La Ceiba in July 1989.
Strength Unknown, probably relatively small.
Location/Area of Operation Honduras.
External Aid Had ties to former Government of Nicaragua and possibly Cuba.
Mozambican National Resistance (Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana, or RENAMO)
Description Established in 1976 by the Rhodesian security services, primarily to operate against anti-Rhodesian guerrillas based in Mozambique. South Africa subsequently developed RENAMO into an insurgent group opposing the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO).
Activities Operates as a guerrilla insurgency against Mozambican Government and civilian targets; frequently and increasingly runs cross-border operations into Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia, where it has murdered and kidnapped numerous civilians and destroyed property.
Strength 20,000 guerrillas.
Location/Area of Operation Mozambique; border areas of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia.
External Aid Assistance previously received from South Africa as well as from private individuals and groups in Europe and elsewhere.
MRTA (see Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement)
National Liberation Army (ELM)--Bolivia
Description Claims to be revived ELN that was established by Che Guevara in the 1960s and was active into the early 1970s. Holds traditional Marxist-Leninist revolutionary ideologies. Operates as an umbrella group over numerous small Bolivian subversive movements that include the CNPZ.
Activities During 1991 focused on domestic Bolivian targets. See Nestor Paz Zamora Commission (CNPZ) for further information on ELN activities. Threats against US interests continued through 1992. Probably responsible for fake bomb placed in US Embassy elevator in April 1991.
Location/Area of Operation Bolivia.
External Aid May receive training, logistic, and other limited support from Peru's MRTA.
National Liberation Army (ELN)--Colombia
Description Rural-based, anti-US, Maoist-Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group formed in 1963. Engaged in unsuccessful peace talks with the Government of Colombia during 1991.
Activities Periodically kidnaps foreign employees of large corporations and holds them for very large ransom payments. Extortion and bombing attacks against US and other foreign businesses in Colombia, particularly the petroleum industry. Has inflicted major damage on oil pipelines since 1986.
Strength 1,000 to 2,000.
Location/Area of Operation Colombia.
External Aid In the past received limited arms and training from Cuba and training from Nicaragua.
Nestor Paz Zamora Commission (CNPZ)
Description Radical leftist terrorist organization that first appeared in October 1990. Named after deceased brother of President Paz Zamora. Currently operates under the ELN (Bolivia) umbrella. Violent, extremely anti-US, Marxist-Leninist organization.
Activities The group attacked the US Embassy Marine guardhouse on 10 October 1990 with automatic weapons and a bomb. One Bolivian policeman was killed and another seriously injured in the attack.
Strength Unknown. Probably fewer than 100.
Location/Area of Operation Bolivia.
External Aid Peru's MRTA has provided training, limited funding, and logistic support.
New People's Army (NPA)
Description The guerrilla arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, an avowedly Maoist group formed in December 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, the NPA has an active urban infrastructure to carry out terrorism; uses city-based assassination squads called sparrow units. Derives most of its funding from contributions of supporters and revolutionary taxes extorted from local business.
Activities In addition to guerrilla activities, has used urban terrorism, including attacks on government officials, police, and military officers in Manila and other major cities. Has vowed to kill US citizens who allegedly are involved in the government's counterinsurgency campaign. The NPA has killed 10 US military members and private American citizens in the Philippines since 1987. Attacked some US businesses located in rural areas who refused to pay so-called revolutionary taxes.
Strength 16,000, plus support groups.
Location/Area of Operation Philippines.
External Aid Receives funding from overseas fundraisers in Western Europe and elsewhere; also linked to Libya. Diverts some funding of humanitarian aid.
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
Description Terrorist group that broke away from the PFLP-GC in mid-1970s. Later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. Pro-PLO faction led by Muhammad Abbas (Abu Abbas), who became member of PLO Executive Committee in 1984 but left the Executive Committee in 1991.
Activities Abu Abbas-led faction carried out abortive seaborne attack staged from Libya against Israel on 30 May 1990. Abbas's groups were also responsible for October 1985 attack on the cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of US citizen Leon Klinghoffer. A warrant for Abu Abbas's arrest is outstanding in Italy. Others who were involved in the hijacking are wanted elsewhere. Openly supported Iraq during Gulf war.
Strength At least 50.
Location/Area of Operation PLO faction based in Tunisia until Achille Lauro attack. Now based in Iraq.
External Aid Receives logistic and military support mainly from PLO, but also Libya and Iraq.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Description Founded in 1964 as a Palestinian nationalist umbrella organization dedicated to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, control devolved to the leadership of the various fedayeen militia groups, the most dominant of which was Yasser Arafat's Al-Fatah. In 1969, Arafat became chairman of the PLO's Executive Committee, a position he still holds. In the early 1980s, PLO became fragmented into several contending groups but remains the preeminent Palestinian organization. The United States considers the PLO an umbrella organization that includes several constituent groups and individuals holding differing views on terrorism. At the same time, US policy accepts that elements of the PLO have advocated, carried out, or accepted responsibility for acts of terrorism. PLO Chairman Arafat publicly renounced terrorism in December 1988 on behalf of the PLO. The United States considers that all PLO groups, including Al-Fatah, Force 17, Hawari Group, PLF, and PFLP, are bound by Arafat's renunciation of terrorism. The US-PLO dialogue was suspended after the PLO failed to condemn the 30 May 1990 PLF attack on Israeli beaches. PLF head Abu Abbas left the PLO Executive Committee in September 1991; his seat was filled by another PLF member.
Activities In the early 1970s, several groups affiliated with the PLO carried out numerous international terrorist attacks. By the mid-1970s, under international pressure, the PLO claimed it would restrict attacks to Israel and the occupied territories. Several terrorist attacks were later carried out by groups affiliated with the PLO/Fatah, including the Hawari Group, the Palestine Liberation Front, and Force 17, against targets inside and outside Israel.
Strength See numbers for affiliated groups.
Location/Area of Operation Tunis, other bases in various countries in the Middle East.
External Aid See affiliated groups. Accurate public information on financial support for the PLO by Arab governments is difficult to obtain.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Description The PIJ originated among militant Palestinian fundamentalists in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s. The PIJ may be a series of loosely affiliated factions, rather than a cohesive group. The PIJ is committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through holy war. Because of its strong support for Israel, the United States has been identified as an enemy of the PIJ. The PIJ also opposes moderate Arab governments that it believes have been tainted by Western secularism.
Activities The PIJ demonstrated its terrorist credentials when it attacked a tour bus in Egypt in February 1990 and killed 11 people, including nine Israelis. The PIJ also has carried out cross-border raids against Israeli targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A PIJ leader in Jordan has publicly threatened to attack US interests. PIJ agents were arrested in Egypt in September 1991 while attempting to enter the country to conduct terrorism.
Location/Area of Operations Primarily Israel and occupied territories and other parts of the Middle East, including Jordan and Lebanon.
External Aid Uncertain, possibly Iran and Syria.
PKK (see Kurdistan Workers Party)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Description Marxist-Leninist group that is a member of the PLO founded in 1967 by George Habash. After Fatah, is the most important military and political organization in the Palestinian movement. Advocates a Pan-Arab revolution. Although remaining in the PLO, Habash has publicly differed with Arafat. Has spawned several dangerous splinter groups.
Activities Committed numerous international terrorist attacks between 1970 and 1977. Since the death in 1978 of Wadi Haddad, its terrorist planner, PFLP has carried out numerous attacks against Israeli or moderate Arab targets.
Location/Area of Operation Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the occupied territories.
External Aid Receives most of its financial and military assistance from Syria and Libya.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Description Split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming that it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. Violently opposed to Arafat's PLO. Led by Ahmad Jabril, a former captain in the Syrian Army. Closely allied with, supported by, and probably directed by Syria.
Activities Claims to have specialized in suicide operations. Has carried out numerous cross-border terrorist attacks into Israel, using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders. Hafiz Kassem Dalkamoni, a ranking PFLP-GC official, was convicted in Germany in June 1991 for bombing US troop trains. He faces additional charges in Germany for other terrorist offenses, including manslaughter.
Strength Several hundred.
Location/Area of Operation Headquarters in Damascus with bases in Lebanon and cells in Europe.
External Aid Receives logistic and military support from Syria, its chief sponsor. Financial support from Libya. Safehaven in Syria. Support also from Iran.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Command (PFLP-SC)
Description Marxist-Leninist group formed by Abu Salim in 1979 after breaking away from the now-defunct PFLP-Special Operations Group.
Activities Has claimed responsibility for several notorious international terrorist attacks in Western Europe, including the bombing of a restaurant frequented by US servicemen in Torrejon, Spain, in April 1985. Eighteen Spanish civilians were killed in the attack.
Location/Area of Operation Operates out of southern Lebanon, in various areas of the Middle East, and in Western Europe.
External Aid Probably receives financial and military support from Syria, Libya, and Iraq.
Popular Struggle Front (PSF)
Description Radical Palestinian terrorist group once closely involved in the Syrian-dominated Palestinian National Salvation Front. Led by Dr. Samir Ghosheh. Rejoined the PLO in September 1991.
Activities Terrorist attacks against Israeli, moderate Arab, and PLO targets.
Strength Fewer than 300.
Location/Area of Operation Mainly Syria and Lebanon, and elsewhere in the Middle East.
External Aid Receives support from Syria and may now receive aid from the PLO.
Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) aka: The Provos
Description A radical terrorist group formed in 1969 as the clandestine armed wing of Sinn Fein, a legal political movement dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and then to unify Ireland. Has a Marxist orientation. Organized into small, tightly knit cells under the leadership of the Army Council.
Activities Bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, extortion, and robberies. Targets government and private-sector interests--including senior British officials and British military targets in Western Europe--and Northern Irish Protestant paramilitary organizations. Has become increasingly indiscriminate in its spectacular bombing attacks. PIRA has stepped up operations on mainland Britain over the past three years, conducting numerous attacks there during 1992. In April, it exploded a huge van bomb in London, killing three people and wounding 90 others, including one American. In the autumn, the PIRA launched a major bombing campaign in London against train stations, hotels, and shopping areas, resulting in casualties and major property damage.
Strength Several hundred, plus several thousand sympathizers.
Location/Area of Operation Northern Ireland, Irish Republic, Great Britain, and Western Europe.
External Aid Has received aid from a variety of groups and countries and considerable training and arms from Libya and, at one time, the PLO. Also is suspected of receiving funds and arms from sympathizers in the United States. Maintains links to ETA.
Red Army Faction (RAF)
Description The small and disciplined RAF is the successor to the Baader-Meinhof Gang, which originated in the student protest movement in the 1960s. Ideology is an obscure mix of Marxism and Maoism; committed to armed struggle. Organized into hardcore cadres that carry out terrorist attacks and a network of supporters who provide logistic and propaganda support. Has survived despite numerous arrests of top leaders over the years.
Activities Bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and robberies. Targets German Government and private sector and US interests. Among the latter, attempted assassination in Belgium of NATO Commander (1979); bombing of NATO Air Force headquarters in Ramstein (1981); rocket attack of USAREUR Commander in Heidelberg (1981); and bombing of Rhein-Main Air Force Base (1985). In February 1991, the RAF fired approximately 250 assault rifle rounds at the US Embassy in Bonn, and in April the group assassinated the German Trust Agency director, Detlev Karsten Rohwedder.
Strength Ten to 20, plus several hundred supporters.
Location/Area of Operations Germany.
External Aid Basically self-sustaining, but during Baader-Meinhof period received some support from Middle Eastern terrorist groups; some ties may still exist. The RAF received logistic support, sanctuary, and training from the German Democratic Republic during the early 1980s. The RAF appears to be developing closer ties to GRAPO in Spain.
RENAMO (see Mozambican National Resistance)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Description Established in 1966 as military wing of Colombian Communist Party; is largest guerrilla group there. Goal is to overthrow government and ruling class; anti-United States. Organized along military lines, includes at least one urban front.
Activities Armed attacks against Colombian targets, bombings of US businesses, kidnappings of Colombians and foreigners for ransom, and assassinations. Traffics in drugs and has well-documented ties to drug traffickers. Peace talks with Colombian Government have proved unsuccessful.
Strength Approximately 4,500 to 5,500 armed combatants and 10,000 supporters.
Location/Area of Operation Colombia.
External Aid FARC has ties to Cuba; amount of aid unknown.
Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November)
Description A radical leftist group established in 1975 and named for the November 1973 student uprising protesting the military regime. Anti-US, anti-Turkish, anti-NATO; committed to violent overthrow of the regime, ouster of US bases, removal of Turkish military presence from Cyprus, and severing of Greece's ties to NATO and the EC. Organization is obscure, possibly affiliated with other Greek terrorist groups.
Activities Initial attacks were selected handgun assassinations against senior US officials, including US Embassy official Richard Welch in 1975 and US Navy Capt. George Tsantes in 1983. Began assassinating Greek officials and public figures in 1976 and added bombings, including attacks against US military buses in 1987 and assassination of US defense attache William Nordeen in 1988. Since 1990 has expanded targeting to include EC facilities and foreign firms investing in Greece and added improvised rocket attacks to its methods. In 1991 was responsible for at least five of the 15 terrorist attacks against coalition targets in Greece during the Gulf war, including the assassination in March of a US Army sergeant. Also stepped up attacks against Turkish interests with attempted murder of Turkish Embassy official in July 1991, and assassination of Turkish Embassy press attache in October 1991.
Strength Unknown, but presumed to be small.
Location/Area of Operations Greece, primarily in Athens metropolitan area.
External Aid May receive support from ELA and other Greek terrorist group cadres.
Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA)
Description Formed in 1971 to oppose the Greek military junta; is a self-described leftwing revolutionary, anticapitalist, anti-imperialist group. Organization is unclear, but probably consists of a loose coalition of several very small and violent groups or affiliates, possibly including 17 November.
Activities Before 1974, was nonviolent; turned to terrorism after removal of junta. Has targeted US military and business facilities and, since 1986, stepped up attacks on Greek Government and commercial interests; primary method has been bombings of buildings, apparently without intent to endanger life. Safehouse raid in November 1990 revealed weapons cache and direct contacts with 1 May and Revolutionary Solidarity; during 1991, ELA and 1 May claimed joint responsibility for over 20 bombings.
Strength Unknown, perhaps up to 20 or 30, plus supporters.
Location/Area of Operation Greece.
External Aid No known foreign sponsors.
Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, SL)
Description Peru's largest subversive organization is among the world's most dangerous and ruthless terrorist groups. Formed in late 1960s by then university professor Abimael Guzman Reynoso. Goal is to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with a peasant revolutionary regime as well as to rid Peru of foreign influences. Has extensive ties to narcoproducers and narcotraffickers working in Peru.
Activities Killed two foreigners in 1992. Engages in particularly brutal forms of terrorism. Originally rural based, but has increasingly operated in urban areas since 1986. Has attacked diplomatic missions of nearly every country represented in Peru, foreign businesses, foreign and domestic humanitarian aid projects, in addition to Peruvian Government and private-sector targets. September arrest of Guzman and three other politburo members in Lima was severe blow.
Strength 4,000 to 5,000 combatants. Strong rural support base.
Location/Area of Operation Peru.
External Aid No known foreign sponsors, although SL sympathizers in Latin America, North America, and Europe obtain political and possibly some financial support from local radicals. Receives money from drug trade, including Colombian narcotics traffickers.
17 November (see Revolutionary Organization 17 November)
Description Sikh terrorism is sponsored by a number of Indian and expatriate Sikh groups who want to carve out an independent Sikh state called Khalistan (``Land of the Pure'') from Indian territory. Sikh violence outside India, which surged following the Indian Army's 1984 assault on the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine, has decreased but remains high. Groups that have carried out acts of terrorism include the Dashmesh or 10th Regiment (active in India, Germany, and Canada); Dal Khalsa; Babbar Khalsa (India, Western Europe, Canada); and the All-India Sikh Students Federation (militant wing of the main Sikh party, the Akali Dal, now splintered).
Activities Regular and bloody attacks mounted frequently in India against Hindus and against Indian officials and facilities, particularly in Punjab; they include assassinations, bombings, and kidnappings. Sikh extremists probably bombed the Air India jet downed over the Irish Sea in June 1985, killing 329 passengers and crew. On the same day, a bomb planted by Sikhs on an Air India flight from Vancouver exploded in Tokyo's Narita airport, killing two Japanese baggage handlers. In 1991, Sikh terrorists attempted to assassinate the Indian Ambassador in Romania--once India's senior police officer in Punjab (1986-89)--and kidnapped and held the Romanian Charge in New Delhi for seven weeks. Sikh attacks within India, ranging from kidnappings and bombings to assassinations, continue at a high level. Indian security forces captured or killed many Sikh leaders in 1992, however, and total civilian deaths in Punjab have dropped as compared to 1991, when more than 3,300 civilians died. There was a marked drop in the number of killings during the closing months of 1992.
Location/Area of Operation India, Western Europe, and North America.
External Aid Sikh expatriates have formed a variety of international organizations that lobby for the Sikh cause overseas. Most prominent are the World Sikh Organization and the International Sikh Youth Federation.
Terra Lliure (TL) (Free Land)
Description Leftwing Catalonian separatist terrorist group formed in the 1970s with the goal of establishing an independent
Marxist state in the Spanish Provinces of Catalonia and Valencia. Leadership announced in July 1991 that the group had ceased terrorist operations, but hardcore members may remain active.
Activities Mainly small-scale bombing attacks against property in northeastern Spain. Targets include foreign banks and travel agencies. Reportedly renounced terrorism in July 1991.
Location/Area of Operation Spain.
External Aid None known.
Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)
Description Traditional Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement in Peru formed in 1983. Led by Nestor Serpa and Victor Polay. Objective is to rid Peru--and perhaps region--of ``imperialist'' influence and establish a Marxist regime.
Activities Responsible for more anti-US attacks than any other group in Latin America. In 1990 and 1991, attacked the US Ambassador's residence, bombed the US Consulate and US-Peruvian Binational Center, and attacked US businesses and Mormon churches. Attacked Peru's Presidential Palace and President Fujimori's airplane in 1991. Attacks down in 1992 because of internal dissension, increased government pressure, and June arrest of MRTA leader Victor Polay.
Strength 1,000 to 2,000 combatants.
Location/Area of Operation Peru. Bolivia in conjunction with the ELN.
External Aid Has received training in Cuba. May have ties to Libya.