Formed in 1975 as the armed wing of the illegal Communist Party of Spain during the Franco era. Advocates the overthrow of the Spanish Government and its replacement with a Marxist-Leninist regime. GRAPO is vehemently anti-United States, seeks the removal of all US military forces from Spanish territory, and has conducted and attempted several attacks against US targets since 1977. The group issued a communique following the attacks of 11 September in the United States, expressing its satisfaction that “symbols of imperialist power” were decimated and affirming that “the war” has only just begun. Designated under EO 13224 in December 2001.
GRAPO did not mount a successful terrorist attack in 2003, marking the second consecutive year without an attack. The group suffered several major setbacks as well. In March, the group’s political wing—the Reconstituted Communist Party of Spain (PCE/R)—was outlawed, marking the first time in the organization’s 28-year history that the Spanish judicial system ruled that GRAPO and the PCE/R comprised a single organization. In June, seven GRAPO members—including four leaders—were sentenced to various prison terms in France. Early in 2003, GRAPO committed a series of bank robberies, ostensibly to fund its operations. GRAPO has killed more than 90 persons and injured more than 200 since its formation. The group’s operations traditionally have been designed to cause material damage and gain publicity rather than inflict casualties, but the terrorists have conducted lethal bombings and close range assassinations. In May 2000, the group killed two security guards during a botched armed robbery attempt of an armored truck carrying an estimated $2 million, and in November 2000, members assassinated a Spanish policeman in a possible reprisal for the arrest that month of several GRAPO leaders in France.
Fewer than two-dozen activists remaining. Police have made periodic large-scale arrests of GRAPO members, crippling the organization and forcing it into lengthy rebuilding periods. In 2002, Spanish and French authorities arrested 22 suspected members, including some of the group’s reconstituted leadership. Three more members were arrested in December 2003.
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