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Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1992
Middle East Overview
There were 79 international terrorist incidents in the Middle East during 1992, the same number of incidents that occurred the previous year. Most of the 1991 incidents were low-level attacks in Lebanon and elsewhere; many of these were related to the Gulf war and the Israeli self-declared security zone on southern Lebanon. The bulk of attacks in 1992 were Iraqi-sponsored attacks against UN personnel working in Iraq.
Iran's ongoing state sponsorship of terrorism, including its efforts to build closer ties to non-Shia terrorist groups, poses significant threats in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Iranian-backed Lebanese militants claimed responsibility for one of the year's terrorist ``spectaculars''--the March 1992 car-bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, in which 29 people died and 242 were injured. Hizballah was responsible for several rocket attacks into areas near Israel's northern border. The trial in Amman of two Jordanian parliamentarians brought forth charges that Iran was supporting sedition against the Jordanian Government. Iran also continues to support terrorism aimed at disrupting the Arab-Israeli peace process.
Continued sanctions and international isolation of Iraq hampered Saddam's regime's ability to conduct acts of international terrorism during 1992. Nevertheless, the Iraqis were able to carry out the brazen murder of a defecting Iraqi nuclear scientist on the streets of Amman late in the year. Iraq continued to provide its traditional support and safehaven to terrorist Palestinian elements such as Palestine Liberation Front leader Abu Abbas. In addition to its support for international terrorism, the Iraqi regime was also responsible for numerous attacks on UN and humanitarian relief personnel working in Iraq pursuant to the Security Council resolutions.
There has been no evidence of direct Syrian Government involvement in terrorist acts since 1986, but Syria continues to provide support and safehaven to Arab and non-Arab terrorist organizations in Syria and in parts of Lebanon in which Syrian troops are deployed.
In defiance of UN resolutions demanding that support cease, Libya continued to sponsor international terrorism during 1992. Tripoli has defied international demands that those believed responsible for the bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772 be handed over for trial. Qaddafi's regime made partial moves to close some terrorist training camps but still provides support and safehaven to such notorious terrorists as Abu Nidal.
The year saw a marked increase in domestic terrorism in Egypt, as Islamic radical elements expanded their antigovernment campaign by targeting foreign tourists in addition to Egyptian Coptic Christians and security officials. Among the most serious incidents was an attack in October on a tourist bus, which left a British woman dead and two other people injured; a similar attack on a bus of German tourists wounded five. The Egyptian Government cited support offered the radicals by Iran and Sudan as a contributing factor in the violence.
The terrorism picture in North Africa is mixed: the overall situation in Tunisia improved, but Algeria suffered from a rash of terrorist attacks, including the bloody 26 August explosion at Algiers Airport that resulted in 12 deaths. Lesser bomb attacks were directed against the offices of foreign airlines. In both countries, the governments contend that Sudan and Iran are providing support to the organizations responsible for the attacks.
International terrorism by Palestinian groups decreased from 17 incidents in 1991 to three incidents in 1992. Much of the decrease can be attributed to restrictions placed on the activities of these groups by Syria and Libya. However, internecine struggles between Palestinian groups--particularly in Lebanon between PLO elements and the Abu Nidal organization (ANO)--generated significant violence.
The year also witnessed a considerable upsurge in violence carried out by the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS). In addition to a number of lethal attacks against Israeli military targets, elements of the group were also responsible for the terrorist abduction and murder of an off-duty Israeli border policeman near Tel Aviv and have claimed responsibility for the murder of an Israeli merchant in Gaza. Over the course of the year, HAMAS's antimilitary and terrorist operations displayed a new daring and sophistication.
Yemen witnessed an upsurge of terrorism in 1992, as a spate of bombs that the Government of Yemen believes were planted by an Islamic extremist group were aimed at both Yemeni and foreign targets. Bombings at a hotel and a hotel parking lot in Aden in December killed one person and injured several others.
Algeria Political violence in Algeria increased rapidly after the Algerian Government suspended in January 1992 the second round of elections, which the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was poised to win. The FIS was outlawed as a political party in March 1992. The fundamentalists' attacks have focused primarily on official and military targets, but some have also been directed at civilian and Western interests. President Boudiaf was assassinated in June 1992 by a security official whom the official inquiry described as having Islamist sympathies. The Government of Algeria has consistently attributed terrorist violence to the FIS and has prosecuted alleged FIS members for terrorist activity. Regime repression has split the FIS into a number of militant independent cells that have gone underground, become more violent, and generally do not appear to be operating under any central command and control structure. The growing popular discontent with the government and the economy is broadening the appeal of these militants. Algerian officials, including Prime Minister Belaid Abdesselam, have pointed to a ``foreign hand'' behind terrorist activity but have offered no evidence. Algeria ordered Tehran to reduce its diplomatic staff to ``symbolic'' levels in November because of its belief that Tehran supported Algerian fundamentalists.
The number and sophistication of terrorist attacks in Algeria gradually increased during 1992, moving from primitive black-powder explosives to more complex devices such as car bombs. In January, bombs that were thrown at the US Embassy and French Consulate in Algiers were improvised, low-yield devices. By contrast, a timer-triggered, high-explosive device was used in the bombing of Boumedienne International Airport in August, which resulted in 12 deaths. Militant elements of the FIS as well as other Islamic opposition groups have also shown an improving capability to coordinate their attacks nationwide. For example, they attempted to bomb two Western airline offices at virtually the same time as the Boumedienne Airport bombing. The first use of a car bomb occurred on 31 October near an Algiers shopping area and resulted in at least three injuries.
The Algerian Government's response to the challenge to its authority in 1992 included a number of military-style operations, launched in May and June, against armed extremist groups operating southeast of Algiers and the creation in September of elite military units specifically charged with antiterrorist responsibilities. In October, Algiers promulgated a strict antiterrorist law that sharply increased the penalties for ``terrorist'' crimes and expanded the number of special antiterrorist courts. In the new law, Algiers has defined terrorism in very broad terms that cover most antiregime activity. Despite these measures--which also included mass arrests and the creation of detention camps for detainees--the number of attacks against regime targets had not diminished by year's end.
In 1992, the government continued to allow radical Palestinian groups that have been associated with terrorism to maintain a presence in Algeria. In April, the regime issued a statement condemning terrorism but questioned the legality of the sanctions imposed on Libya under UN Security Council Resolutions 731 and 748. The government has abided by most provisions of Resolution 748 but has not reduced the level of Libyan diplomatic representation, as required by the resolution.
Egypt Egypt suffered a marked increase in terrorism in 1992, although there were no terrorist attacks against Americans or US interests. In May, Islamic extremists added foreign tourists to their other targets--Egyptian officials, Egyptian Coptic Christians, and secularist Egyptian Muslims--in a campaign of attacks against the Mubarak government. Most attacks have occurred in central and southern Egypt. Among the most serious incidents were the 21 October shooting attack on a tourist bus near Dayrut, which killed one British tourist and wounded two others; the 2 November shooting attack on a bus carrying 55 Egyptian Coptic Christians near Al Minya, which wounded 10 people; and the 12 November attack on another tourist bus near Qena, which wounded five German tourists and one Egyptian. In addition, Dr. Farag Foda, a prominent Egyptian politician and a strong opponent of Islamic extremism, was assassinated on 8 June in Cairo by Islamic extremists.
Most of the attacks in 1992 were perpetrated by the al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya extremist group, which was also responsible for the assassination of People's Assembly speaker al-Mahgoub in October 1990. This group seeks the violent overthrow of the Egyptian Government and has targeted the tourist industry, Egypt's second-largest earner of foreign exchange, as well as Egyptian officials and Christians. Sheikh Omar Abdurrahman, a senior leader in the al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya movement, has been in the United States since 1990. US authorities are moving expeditiously with the aim of ensuring the Sheikh's departure from this country. Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya is basically indigenous but receives support from Sudan and possibly Iran and has established ties to other militant Islamic movements.
The Egyptian Government has responded to the upsurge in terrorism with a series of tough law-and-order measures. After the assassination of Farag Foda, Egypt's People's Assembly in July passed wide-ranging, antiterrorist amendments to the penal code, including instituting the death penalty or life imprisonment for convicted terrorists and expanding police detention powers. The government has used these new laws to launch a massive security crackdown, primarily in southern Egypt and parts of Cairo, resulting in the detention of hundreds of suspected members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya and other extremist organizations. On 3 December, moreover, an Egyptian military court handed down death sentences to eight Muslim extremists, seven of whom were sentenced in absentia, for plotting the violent overthrow of the government. The court also gave prison sentences ranging from one year to life imprisonment to 31 other extremists.
The Egyptian Government cooperates with the United States and other countries in counterterrorism programs and has taken steps to strengthen its capabilities. It has publicly supported broader international efforts to combat terrorism, including improved intelligence sharing, strengthened counterterrorism protocols, and increased counterterrorism assistance to developing countries. Although there has been no reduction of Libya's diplomatic presence in Egypt, or vice versa, as mandated by UN sanctions in effect against Libya, Cairo had not designated an ambassador to Libya as of December 1992 and has observed the civil air and arms sanctions.
Israel and the Occupied Territories There was a sharp increase in terrorism and violence in Israel and the occupied territories at the end of 1992. The kidnapping and murder of an off-duty Israeli border guard by HAMAS--the Islamic Resistance Movement in the occupied territories--from a Tel Aviv suburb in mid-December resulted in a crackdown on Palestinian Islamic extremists, which included the deportation of over 400 suspected members and sympathizers of HAMAS and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to a remote hillside in southern Lebanon. The slaying of the border guard was part of a larger overall trend by HAMAS militants toward increasingly bold operations against Israeli security forces, which included ambushes of military units in Gaza and Hebron in early December that killed four soldiers. Many such operations, including the murder of an elderly merchant in the Gaza Strip in May, were attributed to the military arm of HAMAS, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Forces.
In 1992, Israel carried out major counterterrorist operations against Hizballah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In February, an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) helicopter unit killed Hizballah's leader, Abbas Musawi, his wife, and six-year-old child in southern Lebanon. In mid-September, Shin Bet--the internal security service--and the IDF captured the reputed head of the PFLP in the occupied territories, Ahmad Qattamash, and seized the group's regional archives. Qattamash has been charged with ``providing services to an illegal organization'' but not with terrorist activity. In addition to the deportations to Lebanon, during 1992 Shin Bet and the IDF detained more than 1,000 people accused of being members of HAMAS, the PIJ, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the PFLP in several roundups in the occupied territories. According to the Government of Israel, Israeli authorities interrogate approximately 3,000 persons yearly on suspicion of involvement in, or support for, terrorism.
Because of stepped-up border security by Israeli, Egyptian, and Jordanian forces, there were only seven guerrilla infiltration attempts from Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt in 1992, as compared to more than 20 in 1991. Two of the attempts in 1992 were seaborne operations, including an attempt near Eilat in May in which one Israeli was killed. The infiltrators were linked to Fatah, the PIJ, and the DFLP. In most cases, the infiltrators failed to penetrate the Israeli border, and the precise intended targets were not clear. Nonetheless, Israeli communities along the border with Lebanon, as well as IDF and Army of South Lebanon units deployed in the security zone, remained vulnerable to paramilitary attacks from Syrian- and Iranian-backed militants based in southern Lebanon. Without apparent regard for the nature of the target, Hizballah fired rocket volleys into Israel and the security zone several times in 1992.
Israeli personnel and facilities were the targets of two terrorist attacks outside Israel in 1992, both in the aftermath of the killing of Sheikh Abbas Musawi. In March, suspected Hizballah members detonated a car bomb in front of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Twenty-nine people were killed, more than 240 were wounded, and the building was destroyed. Also in March, a security officer at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara was killed by a bomb placed beneath his car; Iranian-backed Turkish fundamentalists are the leading suspects in the attack.
In 1992, Israel conducted no significant prosecutions of international terrorists, and it neither carried out nor requested any extraditions for terrorism. Israel's highest court upheld the deportation to Lebanon of Palestinian fundamentalists alleged to support terrorism. On 2 December, a bill to repeal the provision of the 1948 Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance that forbids contact with groups defined by Israel as terrorist passed a first reading in the Israeli parliament.
Intra-Palestinian violence in the occupied territories--mostly between Fatah and HAMAS--increased overall during 1992. The number of incidents rose in Gaza and declined somewhat in the West Bank. Nearly 200 Palestinians were killed by other Arabs in the occupied territories in 1992, as compared with some 140 in 1991.
Israeli authorities believe Jewish extremists were responsible for several anti-Palestinian and anti-US incidents in 1992. The Hashmona'im organization attempted to shoot at the house of the Mayor of Bethlehem in February. Members of the Kach party tried to assault Palestinian negotiator Faisal Husseini in a Jerusalem courtroom in May and may have been responsible for a grenade attack on a Jerusalem market in November. In addition, Jewish extremists attacked Palestinians in Jerusalem and the occupied territories many times in 1992 to protest Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians and the PLO's role in the Arab-Israeli peace talks. Jewish extremists have also threatened US personnel and facilities in Israel. During 1992, Israeli security and police increased their surveillance of Kach and other extreme right factions such as Hashmona'im and Gideon's Sword. (###)
BOX INSERTˇ The Palestinian Uprising During most of 1992, the intifadah--a popular uprising marked by mass demonstrations, strikes, and unorganized stonethrowing--gave way to more lethal, selective violence conducted by a hardcore group of activists using weapons such as firearms, roadside explosive charges, and car bombs, mainly against Israeli military and security personnel but also against civilians. Although intifadah violence decreased during most of 1992, attacks with firearms increased, and two vehicles containing gas-filled canisters were discovered and defused near Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem in November and December. Pipe bombs, molotov cocktails, axes, and knives continued to be common implements used by individual Palestinians in attacks against Israeli civilians and military units. Arabs killed more than two dozen Israelis in Israel and the occupied territories in 1992, while at least 158 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces. The Israeli military employed tougher tactics to respond to intifadah violence in 1992.
The intifadah as a whole is primarily a civil insurrection that contains elements of terrorism in specific instances. Acts of intifadah violence sometimes go unclaimed and are not clearly tied to specific goals and objectives of organized groups. While in some cases an incident is claimed by a group, in other cases it is not. In those latter cases, when it is impossible to identify a perpetrator or motive, it is difficult to apply our working definition of terrorism.
END BOXˇ (###) Jordan The principal terrorism-related events in Jordan in 1992 were the December assassination of an Iraqi nuclear scientist on the streets of Amman and the conviction and subsequent royal pardon of two Jordanian legislators for involvement with a subversive Muslim group, Shabab al-Nafeer al-Islami (Vanguard of the Islamic Youth). During the trial of the two in October, prosecutors alleged that the Vanguard planned to attack the US, British, and French Embassies in Amman and conduct cross-border raids into the West Bank. Jordanian authorities also charged that the Vanguard received funding from Iran via the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). In mid-November, a state security court convicted the legislators on several counts of criminal antiregime activity and sentenced them to 20 years at hard labor. A few days later, King Hussein granted a general pardon to prisoners convicted of political crimes in Jordan, and the two were released.
Jordanian security and police closely monitor secular and Islamic extremists inside the country and detain individuals suspected of involvement in violent acts aimed at destabilizing the government or its relations with neighboring states. Besides the crackdown on the Vanguard, Jordanian police in late November closed a PFLP-GC office in Amman and arrested several group members on charges of subversive activity. Islamic militants suspected of instigating violence have also been targeted for special scrutiny by Jordanian authorities. Security services cracked down on the fundamentalist Muhammad's Army in 1991, and no successor group of the same stature emerged in 1992. In addition, Jordan has tightened security along its border with Israel and last year interdicted several armed infiltration operations claimed by, or attributed to, factions of Arafat's Fatah or the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Jordan continues to recognize the ``State of Palestine.'' It hosts a Palestinian ``embassy'' as well as offices of Fatah and such PLO ``rejectionists'' as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. HAMAS--the Islamic Resistance Movement in the occupied territories--has an office in Amman. In addition, some extremist Palestinian groups with a history of anti-Western terrorist activity--including the PFLP-GC, Abu Abbas's faction of the Palestine Liberation Front, and some elements of the PIJ--maintain a presence in Jordan.
Kuwait There were several minor terrorist incidents in Kuwait in 1992. On 26 June, a bomb blast at the residence of the Dean of Kuwait University's medical faculty killed the dean's gardener. In July, Kuwaiti police arrested a group of so-called freelance criminals and charged them with responsibility for the bombing. A trial date for the suspects has not been set. On 9 and 11 December, bombs exploded in a suburb of Kuwait City, causing damage to a video store and three nearby shops, but no injuries. No one claimed responsibility for the blast, although video shops in Kuwait have been targets of Islamic extremists.
Kuwait maintained its firm antiterrorist policy through 1992. Regarding Pan Am Flight 103, Kuwait complied with UN Security Council Resolution 748--which mandated a ``significant reduction'' in Libya's diplomatic presence--by expelling two Libyan diplomats during the summer. Kuwait also rejected Tripoli's request to reopen the Libyan Arab Airlines office.
Lebanon In 1992 the number of international terrorist incidents in Lebanon dropped to a total of six as compared to 32 in 1991. The attacks resulted in two people killed and 10 wounded. Late in 1992, one Nepalese soldier--attached to the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL)--and one Israeli boy were killed in Hizballah rocket attacks on UN positions and Northern Israel. Ten other people were wounded in 1992 terrorist operations that included car bombings, shootings, and rocket attacks.
During 1992, Lebanon's central government continued to extend its authority beyond the Beirut and Tripoli areas to parts of the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley. In late July, the Lebanese Armed Forces, apparently with Syrian approval, reclaimed the Shaykh Abdallah Barracks, a military training facility occupied by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah fighters since 1982; late in the year, government authority was also exte nded into Beirut's southern suburbs. The Lebanese Government, however, has not taken steps necessary to disarm Hizballah or to expand its authority into areas of southern Lebanon controlled by Hizballah or the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army (SLA). Syria continues to maintain a sizable military presence in northern and eastern Lebanon, and Israel continues to occupy a self-declared security zone in the south.
An Israeli Defense Forces helicopter unit ambushed a Hizballah convoy in southern Lebanon on 16 February, killing the group's leader, Abbas Musawi, his wife, and six-year-old son. On 17 March, Islamic Jihad--a covername for Hizballah--publicly claimed responsibility for car-bombing Israel's Embassy in Argentina in retaliation for the killing of Musawi. The attack killed 29 persons and injured more than 240 others. Islamic Jihad released a videotape of the Embassy taken before the bombing to authenticate its claim to have conducted Hizballah's first attack outside Lebanon since 1988.
In 1992, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Libya continued to provide varying degrees of financial, military, and logistic support to terrorist groups based in Lebanon. In addition to the radical Shia group, Hizballah--which was legally recognized as a political party during the year and won eight of 128 seats in Lebanese parliamentary elections in August and September--several radical Palestinian groups have training facilities in Lebanon. These include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Abu Nidal
organization (ANO). Several non-Palestinian groups-- such as Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Revolutionary Left (Dev Sol)--also maintain facilities in Lebanon. Most of these groups are based in the Bekaa Valley.
The detention of Western hostages in Lebanon came to an end in 1992 with the release in June of two German relief workers who were abducted in 1989. The Freedom Strugglers--probably a covername for Iranian-backed Hizballah--announced on 15 June that the Germans would be released because of Iranian and Syrian efforts to ``resolve the issue'' of Mohammed and Abbas Hammadi, Hizballah terrorists imprisoned in Germany. The fate of several Israeli military personnel missing in Lebanon remains unknown.
Saudi Arabia No terrorist attacks or legal prosecutions related to terrorism took place in Saudi Arabia in 1992, and Sunni and Shia extremists who oppose the Saudi monarchy do not now pose a significant terrorist threat. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca--the hajj--passed relatively peacefully in 1992. Nonetheless, the government continues to be concerned about the possibility of terrorist acts against Saudi interests inside the Kingdom, particularly about attacks sponsored by Iraq or Iran. Outside Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen was held hostage inside his Embassy in Sanaa for 18 hours in April by a Yemeni citizen. The Saudi and Yemeni Governments cooperated closely to resolve the incident, which ended when a Yemeni security officer overwhelmed the terrorist.
The Saudi Government has cooperated against terrorism in several areas. The Saudis, for example, refused to give landing clearances to an Ethiopian relief plane that was hijacked in Djibouti in July. Saudi Arabia has not resumed financial aid to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since the end of the Gulf war, although the Saudi Government provides the PLO with the proceeds of a tax on the income of Palestinians living in the Kingdom. Some private Saudis probably provide funds to the PLO, HAMAS, and other Palestinian and fundamentalist groups throughout the region. The same is true regarding private Saudi support for other groups, including elements in Somalia and Sudan. Riyadh decries acts of terrorism committed in the name of the Palestinian cause, but it nonetheless considers the cause to be legitimate as a movement of national liberation and as resistance to Israeli military occupation.
There has not been any reduction, however, in the small Libyan diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia, as mandated in the UN resolutions imposing sanctions against Libya. Libya has six diplomats in Saudi Arabia, four in Riyadh, and two in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia is represented in Libya by one Second Secretary.
Tunisia There were no terrorist attacks or incidents in Tunisia in 1992. The Tunisian Government has consistently claimed that Tunisian Islamic extremists, particularly members of the an-Nahda party, have used, or plotted to use, terrorist methods and that they are supported and financed by foreign governments, especially Iran and Sudan. At the end of August 1992, Tunisian military courts, after public trials in which there were allegations of serious irregularities, pronounced verdicts against 279 alleged an-Nahda supporters accused in 1991 of plotting to assassinate Tunisian Government leaders and overthrow the government. The courts sentenced 265 defendants to prison terms ranging from one year to life; 14 were acquitted. Party leader Rachid Ghannouchi--who is seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom--was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia. Tunisia has joined the Governments of Egypt and Algeria in calling on Iran and Sudan to stop supporting Islamic radicals across the Maghreb.
The Tunisian Government maintained a strong antiterrorism policy in 1992. Tunis condemned the August 1992 airport bombing in Algiers, as well as terrorist attacks against Western tourists in Egypt. The government continues to enforce the UN sanctions severing airlinks to Libya in connection with the bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 and
UTA Flight 772, although Tunisia had not complied with the UN requirement to reduce significantly the Libyan diplomatic presence in Tunis.
Tunisia continues to serve as the location of the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Tunisian Government abides by the 1982 PLO-Tunisian agreement that allowed the PLO to establish itself in Tunisia and restricts access to Tunisia to include only those Palestinians it identifies as nationalists rather than terrorists. Tunis provides no training sites, training assistance, or support to terrorist organizations.
Yemen A series of assassinations and bombings by unknown perpetrators took place in Yemen in 1992. On 26 April, the Yemeni Justice Minister was wounded by an unknown gunman while being driven in his car in Sanaa. The Minister subsequently recovered from his wounds. On 14 June, the brother of Yemeni Prime Minister Haydar Abu Bakr al-`Attas was shot and killed by unknown assailants in the city of Al Mukalla. On 20 June, an adviser to the Minister of Defense was shot and killed in Sanaa, apparently in an altercation with Yemeni security forces. In August and September, there was a series of bomb blasts at the homes or offices of leading Yemeni political figures in Sanaa.
Foreign interests have also been the targets of bombing attacks. On 23 September, a minor bomb explosion occurred behind the US Embassy. On 29 October, a bomb was detonated outside the wall of the German Embassy, and, on 9 November, another small bomb exploded just outside the perimeter wall of the US Embassy in Sanaa. There were no reported injuries in any of these bombings, and property damage in all cases appeared to be slight. Finally, there were two explosions in Aden on 29 December, one at a hotel and one at a hotel parking lot, which killed one person and injured several others. Although there were no US casualties, the explosion in the parking lot was near a hotel that billeted US military personnel involved in the airlift for Operation Rescue in Somalia. US personnel stationed in Aden were withdrawn from Yemen on 31 December.
Little information is available on what organizations or individuals were responsible for these incidents. In press reports, Yemeni authorities have accused the Yemeni Islamic Jihad of the hotel bombing and other attacks. Known Islamic Jihad members were arrested at the end of the year.
A Yemeni citizen held the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen hostage inside the Saudi Embassy in Sanaa for 18 hours on 19 and 20 April. The kidnapper reportedly demanded a $1 million ransom. The situation was resolved when a Yemeni security official overpowered the extremist and freed the Ambassador. A Yemeni court in October sentenced the kidnapper to three years in prison. The kidnapper apparently was acting on his own and was not part of a larger group or organization.
Yemeni officials frequently have announced their commitment to cutting ties to terrorist groups. Sanaa reportedly is narrowing criteria and tightening procedures for issuing passports to non-Yemenis, including Palestinians. A few terrorist groups, however, continue to maintain a presence in Yemeni territory, probably with the assistance of Yemeni officials from the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) regime.