Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations
Foreign Terrorist Organizations
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.
In 2014, the following FTOs were designated by the Department of State: Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi, Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah, and Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia on January 13, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis on April 10, and Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem on August 20. Also in 2014, the Department of State revoked the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia on July 15.
Legal Criteria for Designation under Section 219 of the INA as amended:
- It must be a foreign organization.
- The organization must engage in terrorist activity, as defined in section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)), or terrorism, as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C. § 2656f(d)(2)), or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism.
- The organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.
U.S. Government Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB)
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB)
Ansar al-Dine (AAD)
Ansar al-Islam (AAI)
Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi (AAS-B)
Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah (AAS-D)
Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T)
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM)
Army of Islam (AOI)
Asbat al-Ansar (AAA)
Aum Shinrikyo (AUM)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Boko Haram (BH)
Communist Party of Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA)
Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG)
Haqqani Network (HQN)
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI)
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)
Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Indian Mujahedeen (IM)
Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru)
Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT)
Jemaah Islamiya (JI)
Kata’ib Hizballah (KH)
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC)
Al-Mulathamun Battalion (AMB)
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-Nusrah Front (ANF)
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
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)
ABDALLAH AZZAM BRIGADES
aka Abdullah Azzam Brigades; Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades; Yusuf al-’Uyayri Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades
Description: The Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 30, 2012. AAB formally announced its establishment in a July 2009 video statement claiming responsibility for a February 2009 rocket attack against Israel. The group is divided into two branches: the Arabian Peninsula-based Yusuf al-’Uyayri Battalions of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, named after the now-deceased founder of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula; and the Lebanon-based Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, named after Ziad al Jarrah, a Lebanese citizen who was one of the planners of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Activities: AAB has relied primarily on rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, and is responsible for numerous rocket attacks fired into Israeli territory from Lebanon. These attacks in Israel have targeted population centers, including Nahariya and Ashkelon. In addition to rocket attacks, AAB carried out a July 2010 suicide bombing attack against the Japanese-owned oil tanker M/V M. Star in the Strait of Hormuz.
In November 2013, AAB began to target Hizballah. It claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 23 people and wounded over 140, and warned that the group would carry out more attacks unless Hizballah stops sending fighters to support Syrian government forces.
In February 2014, a twin suicide bomb attack targeting the Iranian cultural center in Beirut killed four people; AAB claimed responsibility for the attack and said that it had carried out the bombings as retaliation for Hizballah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. AAB is also believed to have been responsible for a series of bombings in Hizballah-controlled areas around Beirut. A June suicide bombing at a police checkpoint on the Beirut-Damascus highway targeted Lebanese General Security head Major General Abbas Ibrahim, who narrowly escaped. Also in June, a suicide bombing in the Beirut neighborhood of Tayyouneh killed a security officer and wounded 25 people.
In July, AAB briefly turned its attention back towards Israel, firing a series of rockets into northern Israel in response to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Location/Area of Operation: AAB is based in Lebanon and operates in Lebanon and Syria.
Funding and External Aid: Unknown
ABU NIDAL ORGANIZATION
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. Leadership of the organization after Nadal’s death 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 1986 attack on 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. There were no known ANO attacks in 2014.
Location/Area of Operation: ANO associates are presumed present in Lebanon.
Funding and 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.
ABU SAYYAF GROUP
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. 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.
Activities: The ASG engages in kidnapping for ransom, bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public 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 Philippine nationals 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 Deborah Yap of the Philippines were killed. Philippine and U.S. authorities blamed the ASG for a bombing near a Philippine military base in Zamboanga in October 2002 that killed a U.S. service member. 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 2014, ASG remained active, conducting numerous attacks on civilian and government targets in the southern Philippines. On July 28, 40 to 50 ASG militants with assault rifles opened fire on civilians traveling to celebrate the end of Ramadan, killing at least 21, including six children, and wounding 11. At least four members of a Talipao civilian security force were killed in the attack. In a July video, senior ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, also an FBI most-wanted terrorist, swore allegiance to ISIL and ISIL’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Philippine police conducted a number of raids and arrests of ASG members in 2014, including an ASG leader, Khair Mundos. Mundos confessed to having arranged the transfer of funds from al-Qa’ida to ASG to be used in bombings and other criminal acts throughout the island of Mindanao.
Strength: ASG is estimated to have 400 members.
Location/Area of Operation: The ASG operates primarily in the Philippine provinces of the Sulu Archipelago, namely Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi; and on the Zamboanga Peninsula. The group also operates in Malaysia.
Funding and External Aid: The ASG is funded through kidnapping for ransom operations and extortion, and may receive funding from external sources including remittances from supportive overseas Philippine workers and Middle East-based violent extremists. In the past, the ASG has also received assistance from regional terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiya, whose operatives provided training to ASG members and helped facilitate several ASG terrorist attacks.
AL-AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADE
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. AAMB’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: AAMB employed primarily small-arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers as the intifada spread in 2000, but by 2002 turned increasingly to attacks 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. Again in December 2011, AAMB launched rockets aimed at communities in the Negev. The attack caused no injuries or damage. In November 2012, two men recruited by AAMB were arrested in connection with stabbing a student in the Israeli city of Beersheba. That same year, AAMB claimed that they had fired more than 500 rockets and missiles into Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense, the week-long Israeli Defense Force operation in Gaza. In February 2013, AAMB claimed responsibility for a rocket attack in southern Israel, which landed outside of the city of Ashkelon. In summer 2014, AAMB joined Hamas in fighting Israel during Operation Protective Edge, and released a recruitment video showing fighters training in November.
Strength: A few hundred members.
Location/Area of Operation: Most of AAMB’s operational activity is in Gaza but the group also planned and conducted attacks inside Israel and the West Bank. The group has members in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Funding and External Aid: Iran has exploited AAMB’s lack of resources and formal leadership by providing funds and guidance, mostly through Hizballah facilitators.
aka Ansar Dine; Ansar al-Din; Ancar Dine; Ansar ul-Din; Ansar Eddine; Defenders of the Faith
Description: Ansar al-Dine (AAD) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 22, 2013. Operating in Mali, AAD was created in late 2011 after AAD’s leader, Iyad ag Ghali, failed in an attempt to take over another secular Tuareg organization. Following the March 2012 coup that toppled the Malian government, AAD was among the organizations (including al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa) to take over northern Mali, destroy UNESCO World Heritage sites, and enforce a severe interpretation of Sharia law upon the civilian population living in the areas it controlled.
Beginning in January 2013, French and allied African forces conducted operations in northern Mali to counter AAD and other violent extremist groups, eventually forcing AAD and its allies out of the population centers they had seized. AAD’s leader Iyad ag Ghali, however, remained free and in August 2014, Ghali appeared in an AAD video threatening to attack France.
Activities: AAD has received backing from AQIM in its fight against the Government of Mali – most notably in the capture of the Malian towns of Agulhok, Tessalit, Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu – between January and April 2012. In March 2012, Tuareg rebels, reportedly including AAD, executed 82 Malian soldiers and kidnapped 30 others in an attack against the town of Aguelhok. Before the French intervention in January 2013, Malian citizens in towns under AAD’s control who did not comply with AAD’s laws, reportedly faced harassment, torture, or execution.
AAD was severely weakened by the French intervention in Mali, but continued to participate in and support attacks in Mali, reportedly including bringing arms and fighters into Kidal in September 2013, in advance of an AQIM-led attack that killed at least two civilians. In December 2014, AAD took responsibility for firing at least nine rockets at the UN base in Tessalit, Mali, and is suspected to have been behind a second rocket attack on the same base a few days later.
Strength: AAD has fractured and its members have been largely scattered by the French intervention in Mali. The group’s membership numbers were unknown at the end of 2014.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Mali, Southwestern Libya
Funding and External Aid: AAD cooperates closely with and has received support from AQIM since its inception, and some factions of AAD are believed to maintain close ties to the group.
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 (AAI’s) goals include expelling western interests from Iraq and establishing an independent Iraqi state based on its interpretation of Sharia law. AAI was established in 2001 in Iraqi Kurdistan with the merger of two Kurdish violent extremist factions that traced their roots to the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. On May 4, 2010, Abu Abdullah al-Shafi’i, AAI’s leader, was captured by U.S. forces in Baghdad and remains in prison. On December 15, 2011, AAI announced a new leader, Abu Hashim Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman al Ibrahim.
Mullah Krekar (aka Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad), an Iraqi citizen and the founder of AAI, continued to reside in Norway on a long-term residence permit. In March 2012, a trial court in Norway convicted Krekar of issuing threats and inciting terrorism, and sentenced him to six years in prison. Krekar appealed, and in December 2012, an appeals court affirmed his convictions for issuing threats and intimidating witnesses, but reversed his conviction for "inciting terrorism." The appeals court reduced his sentence to two years and 10 months in prison.
Activities: AAI has conducted attacks against a wide range of targets including Iraqi government and security forces, and U.S. and Coalition Forces. AAI 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. During August and September 2013, AAI claimed attacks against Iraqi Army security forces, as well as an attack against an individual associated with the Iraqi government.
In 2014, AAI claimed responsibility for attacks that occurred near Kirkuk, Tikrit, and Mosul, Iraq. AAI’s attacks were primarily directed at the Iraqi police and security forces, and in one instance an oil field. AAI claims to have killed several Iraqi military members, law enforcement officials, and claims to have obtained weapons and vehicles.
Strength: Although precise numbers are unknown, AAI is considered one of the largest Sunni terrorist groups in Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily northern Iraq, but also maintains a presence in western and central Iraq.
Funding and External Aid: AAI receives assistance from a loose network of associates in Europe and the Middle East.
ANSAR AL-SHARI’A IN BENGHAZI
aka Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar al-Shariah Brigade; Ansar al-Shari’a Brigade; Katibat Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi; Ansar al-Shariah-Benghazi; Al-Raya Establishment for Media Production; Ansar al-Sharia; Soldiers of the Sharia; Ansar al-Shariah; Supporters of Islamic Law
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 13, 2014, Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi (AAS-B) was created after the 2011 fall of the Qadhafi regime in Libya and has been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, and assassinations and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya.
Activities: Members of AAS-B were involved in the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Four American citizens were killed in the attack, including Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.
In 2013 and 2014, AAS-B is believed to have cooperated with Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah in multiple attacks and suicide bombings targeting Libyan security forces in Benghazi.
In addition to its attacks, AAS-B controls several terrorist training camps in Libya, and has trained members of other terrorist organizations, some of which operate in Syria, Iraq, and Mali. At least 12 of the 28 individuals involved in Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s al-Mulathamun Battalion’s January 2013 attack against the Tiguentourine gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria, were trained in AAS-B camps.
Location/Area of Operation: Benghazi, Libya
Funding and External Aid: AAS-B obtains funds from AQIM, charities, donations, and criminal activities.
ANSAR AL-SHARI’A IN DARNAH
aka Supporters of Islamic Law; Ansar al-Sharia in Derna; Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar al-Sharia; Ansar al-Sharia Brigade in Darnah
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 13, 2014, Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah (AAS-D) was created after the 2011 fall of the Qadhafi regime in Libya and has been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, and assassinations and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya. In October 2014, AAS-D publicly pledged allegiance to ISIL.
Activities: Members of AAS-D were involved in the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Four American citizens were killed in the attack, including Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.
In 2013 and 2014, AAS-D is believed to have cooperated with Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi in multiple attacks and suicide bombings targeting Libyan security forces in Benghazi.
In addition to its attacks, AAS-D maintains several terrorist training camps in Darnah and Jebel Akhdar, Libya, and has trained members of other terrorist organizations operating in Syria and Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: Darnah, Libya
Funding and External Aid: Unknown
ANSAR AL-SHARI’A IN TUNISIA
aka Al-Qayrawan Media Foundation; Supporters of Islamic Law; Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia; Ansar al-Shari’ah; Ansar al-Shari’ah in Tunisia; Ansar al-Sharia
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 13, 2014, Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T) was founded by Specially Designated Global Terrorist Seif Allah Ben Hassine in early 2011. AAS-T has been implicated in attacks against Tunisian security forces, assassinations of Tunisian political figures, and attempted suicide bombings of locations that tourists frequent. AAS-T has also been involved in recruiting youth in Tunisia for fighting in Syria.
Activities: Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia was involved in the September 14, 2012 attack against the U.S. Embassy and American school in Tunis, which threatened the safety of over one hundred U.S. employees in the Embassy. In February and July 2013, AAS-T members were implicated in the assassination of two Tunisian politicians, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi. In October 2013, AAS-T attempted to carry out suicide attacks against two tourist sites in Tunisia. The first attack took place when a bomber blew himself up outside a hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, resulting in no other fatalities. On the same day, police prevented a suicide bombing in Monastir, Tunisia, when they arrested a would-be bomber at the Tomb of Habib Bourguiba.
Throughout 2014, Tunisian security forces continued to clash with AAS-T members.
Location/Area of Operation: Tunisia and Libya
Funding and External Aid: Unknown
ANSAR BAYT AL-MAQDIS
aka Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis; Ansar Jerusalem; Supporters of Jerusalem; Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes; Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis fi Sinaa; Supporters of the holy place
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on April 9, 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) rose to prominence in 2011 following the Egyptian uprisings and is responsible for attacks on Israel and Egyptian government and security elements, and tourists in Egypt. In November 2014, ABM officially declared allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Activities: ABM has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israeli interests, including a July 2012 attack against a Sinai pipeline exporting gas to Israel and an August 2012 rocket attack on the southern Israeli city of Eilat. In September 2012, ABM militants attacked an Israeli border patrol, killing one soldier and injuring another.
In October 2013, ABM claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing targeting the South Sinai Security Directorate in el Tor, which killed three people and injured more than 45. In January 2014, ABM successfully downed an Egyptian military helicopter in a missile attack, killing five soldiers on board; and also claimed responsibility for four attacks involving car bombs and hand grenades in Cairo, which left six people dead and over 70 wounded, many of them civilian bystanders.
ABM has targeted government officials, including the September 2013 attempted assassination of the Egyptian Interior Minister, and the January 2014 assassination of the head of the Interior Minister’s technical office. In February 2014, ABM claimed responsibility for the bombing of a tour bus in the Sinai Peninsula, killing the Egyptian driver and three South Korean tourists, in its first attack against foreign tourists.
In October 2014, ABM beheaded four individuals who they claimed spied for Israel. Also in October, ABM claimed an attack on a security checkpoint that left over 26 Egyptian soldiers dead and wounded 26 others, including civilians. ABM subsequently released a video of the attack as part of its announcement declaring allegiance to ISIL in November 2014.
Strength: ABM is estimated to have several hundred fighters in the Sinai and affiliated cells in the Nile Valley.
Location/Area of Operation: Even though ABM’s operations are based out of the Sinai Peninsula, the group’s reach extends to Cairo and the Egyptian Nile Valley, and across the border into Gaza.
Funding and External Aid: Although the source of ABM’s funding is largely unknown, there are indications that ABM may receive funding from external actors.
ARMY OF ISLAM
aka Jaysh al-Islam; Jaish al-Islam
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 19, 2011, the Army of Islam (AOI) is a Gaza-based terrorist organization founded in late 2005 that is responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the Governments of Israel and Egypt, as well as American, British, and New Zealander citizens. Led by Mumtaz Dughmush, AOI primarily operates in Gaza. It subscribes to a violent extremist 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 in Gaza. AOI is also responsible for early 2009 attacks on Egyptian civilians in Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt, and allegedly planned the January 1, 2011 Alexandria attack on a Coptic Christian church that killed 25 and wounded 100. On July 28, 2012, AOI released a statement that one of its members, Nidal al ‘Ashi, was killed fighting in Syria and in November 2012 announced that they had carried out rocket attacks on Israel in a joint operation with the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, a designated foreign terrorist organization. In August 2013, an Israeli official reported that AOI leader Dughmush was running training camps in Gaza. In August 2014, Israeli forces reportedly intercepted and killed several AOI fighters who were reportedly planning to attack Israel.
Strength: Membership is estimated in the low hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: Gaza, with attacks in Egypt and Israel.
Funding and External Aid: AOI receives much 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 violent Sunni extremist group composed primarily of Palestinians with links to al-Qa’ida (AQ) and other Sunni violent 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. Members of the group have traveled to Iraq between 2005 and 2011 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 the Ain al-Hilwah refugee camp. AAA did not publicly claim any attacks in 2014.
Strength: The group has at least 650 members.
Location/Area of Operation: The group’s primary base of operations is the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon.
Funding and 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 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo. 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 13 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 injured approximately 500. Japanese police arrested Asahara in May 1995; in February 2004, authorities sentenced him to death for his role in the 1995 attacks, but authorities have not yet carried out the sentence. In 2010 and 2011, several death sentences for other AUM senior members were finalized or affirmed by Japanese courts. In 2012, the final three AUM fugitives were arrested after 17 years on the run.
Since 1997, the group has split into two factions, both of which have recruited new members, engaged in commercial enterprises, and acquired property. In July 2000, Russian authorities arrested a group of Russian AUM followers who had planned to detonate bombs in Japan as part of an operation to free Asahara from jail and smuggle him to Russia. In August 2012, a Japan Airlines flight to the United States was turned back after receiving a bomb threat demanding the release of Asahara.
Although AUM has not conducted a terrorist attack since 1995, concerns remain regarding its continued adherence to the violent teachings of Asahara.
Strength: As of December 2014, AUM membership in Japan was approximately 1,650 with another 160 in Russia. AUM continues to maintain at least 32 facilities in 15 prefectures in Japan and continues to possess several facilities in Russia. (At the time of the Tokyo subway attack in 1995, 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 160 followers live in Russia.
Funding and External Aid: Funding primarily comes from member contributions and group-run businesses.
BASQUE FATHERLAND AND LIBERTY
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 Navarre; and the southwestern French territories of Labourd, Lower-Navarre, and Soule. ETA is listed as a terrorist organization by Spain and the EU. 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. In June 2009, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban on Batasuna. In September 2008, Spanish courts also banned two other Basque independence parties with reported links to Batasuna. In 2010, when Batasuna continued to try to remain engaged political activities, divisions among parts of ETA became publicly apparent.
Activities: ETA primarily has conducted bombings and assassinations. Targets typically included Spanish government officials, businessmen, politicians, judicial figures, and security and military forces; however, the group has also targeted journalists and major tourist areas. The group is responsible for killing 829 civilians and members of the armed forces and 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 that wounded more than 20 people at a convention center where Spanish King Juan Carlos and then Mexican President Vicente Fox were scheduled to appear. 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 fiftieth 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.
By October 2011, after ETA was militarily debilitated and politically isolated, the group announced a “definitive cessation of armed activity.” Given that the group has made and broken several past ceasefires, Madrid rejected this announcement and demanded that ETA disarm and disband. The group has yet to disband formally or give up its weapons arsenal since this latest cessation of armed activity.
Since 2007, more than 700 ETA militants have been arrested, including 16 arrested in 2014, both in Spain and abroad. Collaboration with France, the UK, Germany, and Mexico led to successful arrests in 2014.
Strength: Estimates put ETA membership of those who have not been captured by authorities at fewer than 20. There are approximately 455 ETA members in prison in Spain and France, one is incarcerated in Germany, and another in Portugal.
Location/Area of Operation: ETA operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, but the group has attacked Spanish and French interests elsewhere.
Funding and 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 Nigerian Taliban; Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad; Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad; People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad; Sunni Group for Preaching and Jihad
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on November 14, 2013, and led by Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram (BH) is a Nigeria-based group responsible for numerous attacks in northern and northeastern Nigeria that have killed thousands of people since its emergence in 2009. The group espouses a violent Sunni extremist ideology and at times has received assistance, including funds and training, from al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Activities: Among its major attacks, BH was responsible for the August 26, 2011 bomb attack on the UN building in Abuja that killed at least 21 people and wounded dozens more. The group is also responsible for the January 2012 attacks in Kano, Nigeria, in which a wave of bomb attacks in the city killed more than 180 people in a single day.
Boko Haram has increasingly crossed Nigerian borders to evade pressure and conduct operations. In February 2013, Boko Haram was responsible for kidnapping seven French tourists in the Far North of Cameroon. In November 2013, Boko Haram members kidnapped a French priest in Cameroon. In December 2013, Boko Haram gunmen reportedly attacked civilians in several areas of northern Cameroon. Security forces from Chad and Niger also reportedly partook in skirmishes against suspected Boko Haram members along Nigeria’s borders. In 2013, the group also kidnapped eight French citizens in northern Cameroon and obtained ransom payments for their release.
Boko Haram had its deadliest year in 2014, killing approximately 5,000 Nigerian civilians. The group also declared its own “Islamic state” in 2014 and began seizing territory from the Nigerian military throughout the northeast. In February 2014, BH killed dozens of people in two separate attacks, one on the farming village of Izghe in Borno state and the other on the fishing village of Doron Baga on Lake Chad. In April 2014, BH kidnapped at least 276 female students from a school in Chibok, Borno state. On June 2, 2014, at least two hundred people, mostly Christians, were massacred by BH militants in and around Gwoza, Borno state. On November 28, 2014, BH militants attacked the central mosque in Kano, Nigeria, killing approximately 120. BH conducted three attacks in Abuja and one attack in Lagos in 2014.
Strength: Membership is estimated to be several thousand fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, Lake Chad Basin, and southeast Niger.
Funding and External Aid: BH receives the bulk of its funding from criminal activities such as kidnapping for ransom, bank robberies, and extortion.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF PHILIPPINES/NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY
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.” In addition to 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 actions 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 claiming responsibility for the ambush and murder of Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.
Over the past few years, the CPP/NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence which are directed mainly against domestic and security force targets. In May 2013, the Armed Forces of the Philippines reported that from 2011 through the first quarter of 2013, 383 people, including 158 civilians, were killed in encounters between the CPP/NPA and government forces.
On July 10, 2014, heavily armed NPA fighters attacked a municipal police station in Surigao del Norte, and held four police officers captive during the attack, wounding two of them. At least two soldiers were killed and another wounded following a confrontation with suspected NPA rebels in Negros Occidental on July 17, 2014. During a nominal “holiday” ceasefire with the Government of the Philippines in December 2014, NPA carried out multiple attacks, including setting fire to construction equipment and a civilian’s vehicle, abducting a jail warden, and shooting and killing three military-affiliated individuals – all unarmed and in civilian clothes. The NPA continued to use explosive and improvised explosive devices to target police and security forces.
On March 22, 2014, two leaders of the CPP/NPA, Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma, were arrested by Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in Aloguinsan, Cebu. Abraham Delejero Villanueva, a suspected leader of the CPP/NPA, was also arrested on July 20, 2014, and on August 5, 2014, Eduardo Almores Esteban, a high-ranking official in the CPP/NPA, was arrested by the military and police in Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines.
Strength: The Philippine government estimates there are 4,000 CPP/NPA members.
Location/Area of Operation: Rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are also cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.
Funding and External Aid: The CPP/NPA raises funds through extortion and theft.
CONTINUITY IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY
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). In 2012, CIRA released a statement claiming it had new leadership, after previous leadership was ousted over allegations that it was acting to the detriment of the organization.
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.
The group has remained active in the past three years. In December 2012, a plot by CIRA to murder an Irish national serving in the British army was foiled by Irish police. In January 2013, the group claimed responsibility for firing shots at police officers in Drumbeg, Craigavon County, Northern Ireland. In March 2014, CIRA claimed responsibility for an attempted bomb attack on the home and vehicle of a Police Service of Northern Ireland officer.
Strength: Membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50. Police counterterrorism operations have reduced the group’s strength.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Funding and External Aid: CIRA supported its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.
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 formed in the 1970s. In 2011, it formed the Construction 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 2011 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, the “blind Sheikh,” Omar 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 Abd al-Rahman have called for reprisal attacks in the event of his death in prison.
Activities: In the 1990s, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security, 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. IG has not committed a known terrorist attack in recent years.
Strength: At its peak, IG likely commanded several thousand core members and a similar number of supporters. Security crackdowns following the 1997 attack in Luxor and the 1999 ceasefire, 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 is believed to have maintained a presence in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, the UK, Germany, and France.
Funding and 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: Hamas was 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, has conducted 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, fundraising, 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 retains control of Gaza.
Activities: Prior to 2005, Hamas conducted numerous anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings, rocket launches, improvised explosive device attacks, and shootings. Hamas has not directly targeted U.S. interests, although U.S. citizens have died and been injured in the group’s attacks against Israeli targets. 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, building its weapons caches, 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. From November 14-21, 2012, Hamas fought another war with Israel during which it claims to have launched more than 1,400 rockets into Israel. Despite the Egypt-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in 2012, operatives from Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) coordinated and carried out a November bus bombing in Tel Aviv that wounded 29 people. On July 8, 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza with the intent on stopping rocket fire into Israel, which had increased following Israeli military operations after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas.
Strength: Several thousand Gaza-based operatives with varying degrees of skills are in its armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, along with its paramilitary group known as the “Executive Force.”
Location/Area of Operation: Since 2007, Hamas has controlled Gaza and also has a presence in the West Bank. The group retains leaders and facilitators that conduct political, fundraising, and arms-smuggling activities throughout the region. Hamas also has a presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Funding and External Aid: Historically, Hamas has received funding, weapons, and training from Iran. In March 2014, Israel intercepted a weapons shipment containing rockets, mortars, and ammunition destined for Hamas and PIJ in Gaza. The group also raises funds in the Gulf countries and receives donations from Palestinian expatriates around the world through its charities, such as the umbrella fundraising organization, the Union of Good. Hamas’s supply lines continued to suffer since the crackdown on smuggling tunnels in the Sinai Peninsula by the Egyptian military.
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 19, 2012, the Haqqani Network (HQN) was formed in the late 1970s, around the time of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Jalaluddin Haqqani, HQN’s founder, established a relationship with Usama bin Laden in the mid-1980s, and joined the Taliban in 1995. After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, Jalaluddin retreated to Pakistan where, under the leadership of Jalaluddin’s son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group began participating in the insurgency and became known as the Haqqani Network.
Activities: HQN has planned and carried out a number of significant kidnappings and attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan government and civilian targets. HQN’s most notorious attacks in recent years include an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in June 2011, which killed 11 civilians and two Afghan policemen; a September 2011 truck bombing in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, which wounded 77 U.S. soldiers; a 19-hour attack on the U.S. Embassy and ISAF headquarters in Kabul in September 2011, which killed 16 Afghans, including at least six children; a June 2012 suicide bomb attack against Forward Operating Base Salerno, which killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded more than 100; and a 12-hour siege of the Spozhmai Hotel in Kabul in June 2012, which resulted in the death of at least 18 Afghans, including 14 civilians. HQN was also involved in holding U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was kidnapped in 2009 and remained in captivity until he was released in May 2014.
HQN’s attacks continued in 2014. In July, Afghan officials blamed HQN for a suicide attack at a market in Orgun, which killed over 70 people, and an attack against the airport in Kabul. In November, Afghan officials implicated HQN in an attack in which a suicide bomber killed more than 60 people at a volleyball game in Paktika province. In addition to these attacks, multiple HQN plots, many planned against Afghan officials in Kabul, were disrupted by the Afghan police before they could be carried out.
HQN suffered numerous setbacks in 2014, including the capture of two senior members, Anas Haqqani and Hafiz Rashid, by Afghan security forces in October.
Strength: HQN is believed to have several hundred core members, but it is estimated that the organization is also able to draw upon a pool of upwards of 10,000 fighters with varying degrees of affiliation. HQN cooperates closely with the larger Afghan Taliban and also draws strength through cooperation with other terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan, including al-Qa’ida, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Jaish-e Mohammad.
Location/Area of Operation: HQN is active along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and across much of southeastern Afghanistan, particularly in Loya Paktia. The group’s leadership has historically maintained a power base around Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Funding and External Aid: In addition to the support it receives through its connections to other terrorist organizations, HQN receives much of its funds from donors in Pakistan and the Gulf, as well as through criminal activities such as kidnapping, extortion, smuggling, and other licit and illicit business ventures.
HARAKAT-UL JIHAD ISLAMI
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 refocused its efforts on India. HUJI seeks the annexation of Indian-administered Kashmir and the 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. HUJI is mostly composed of Pakistani militants 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, died on June 3, 2011.
Activities: HUJI has been involved in a number of terrorist attacks. HUJI reportedly claimed responsibility for the September 7, 2011 bombing of the New Delhi High Court, which left at least 11 dead and an estimated 76 wounded, although another group separately claimed responsibility for the bombing. 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. HUJI did not publicly claim any attacks in 2014.
Strength: HUJI has an estimated strength of several hundred members.
Location/Area of Operation: 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.
Funding and 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 terrorist groups such as HUJI, al-Qa’ida, and Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) that advocate similar objectives. The leaders of HUJI-B signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Usama bin Laden 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 the Awami League in a grenade attack on January 27, 2005. HUJI-B committed no known attacks in 2013, however in March of that year, police in Dhaka arrested a group of militants which included some HUJI-B members. The group was preparing attacks on public gatherings and prominent individuals; and bombs, bomb-making material, and counterfeit currency were found when the arrest took place. In October 2014, a number of HUJI-B members were arrested, including a bomb expert. Some HUJI-B members may have traveled to Pakistan to receive military training from LeT.
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.
Funding and External Aid: HUJI-B funding comes from a variety of sources. Several international Muslim NGOs may have funneled money to HUJI-B and other Bangladeshi terrorist groups.
aka HUM; Harakat ul-Ansar; HUA; Jamiat ul-Ansar; JUA; al-Faran; al-Hadid; al-Hadith; Harakat ul-Mujahidin; Ansar ul Ummah
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) seeks the annexation of Indian Kashmir and the 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 in January 2005. HUM operated terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan until Coalition air strikes destroyed them in 2001. 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 terrorist 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. The group conducted numerous attacks on Indian interests from at least 2005 through 2013. There were no known HUM attacks in 2014.
Strength: HUM has a few hundred armed supporters, who are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris. After 2000, a significant portion of HUM’s membership defected to JEM.
Location/Area of Operation: Operating from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as well as several cities in Pakistan, HUM conducts terrorist operations primarily in Kashmir and Afghanistan. HUM trains its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: HUM collects donations from wealthy and grassroots donors in Pakistan.
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 following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Lebanon-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 the Iranian Supreme Leader, which was Ali Khamenei in 2014. Hizballah is closely allied with Iran and the two often work together on shared initiatives, although Hizballah also acts independently. Hizballah shares a close relationship with Syria, and like Iran, the group is providing assistance – including fighters – to Syrian regime forces in the Syrian conflict.
Hizballah has strong influence in Lebanon, especially with the Shia community. Hizballah plays an active role in Lebanese politics, and the group holds 12 seats in the 128-member Lebanese Parliament and two seats in the 24-member Council of Ministers. Hizballah’s political strength grew in the wake of the 2006 war with Israel and the group’s 2008 takeover of West Beirut, although its reputation and popularity have been significantly undermined by the group’s active support for the Asad regime.
Hizballah provides support to several Palestinian terrorist organizations, as well as a number of local Christian and Muslim militias in Lebanon. Besides overt political support, support includes the covert provision of weapons, explosives, training, funding, and guidance.
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, along with Iran, in the 1992 attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina and on the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires. In 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Shebaa 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 and the bodies of the Israeli soldiers were returned to Israel in a prisoner exchange with Hizballah in 2004.
Two attacks against UN Interim Force in Lebanon peacekeepers – an attack in late July 2011 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. 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. A fifth Hizballah member, Hassan Habib Merhi, was indicted in October 2013.
In 2012, Hizballah increased the pace of its terrorist plotting, and was implicated in several terrorist plots around the world. In January 2012, Thai police detained a Hizballah operative on immigration charges as he was attempting to depart Thailand from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. He led police to nearly 10,000 pounds of urea-based fertilizer and 10 gallons of liquid ammonium nitrate in a commercial building about 20 miles south of Bangkok. The Hizballah operative was convicted of possessing bomb-making materials by a Thai court in September 2013. He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
In Cyprus, a suspected Hizballah operative was detained by the Cypriot authorities on July 7, 2012 for allegedly helping plan an attack against Israeli tourists in Cyprus. The trial began in September 2012, and on March 21, 2013, a Cyprus court found a Hizballah operative guilty of charges stemming from his surveillance activities of Israeli tourist targets.
In July 2012, a terrorist attack was carried out on a passenger bus carrying 42 Israeli tourists at the Sarafovo Airport near the Bulgarian city of Burgas. The explosion killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian, and injured 32. On February 5, 2013, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsevtanov publicly linked two operatives in the Burgas bombing to Hizballah, and in July 2013, the Bulgarian government identified the operatives as Hassan al-Hajj Hassan, a dual Canadian-Lebanese citizen; and Meliad Farah, a dual Australian-Lebanese citizen. In August 2013, Hizballah claimed responsibility for an attack on the Lebanese-Israeli border that wounded four members of an Israeli military convoy.
In May 2013, Hizballah publicly admitted to playing a significant role in the ongoing conflict in Syria, rallying to support Syrian President Bashar al-Asad. Hizballah’s support for the Asad regime carried into 2014, and the group remained active in Syria. Separately, in October 2014, Hizballah set off an explosive device on the border between Lebanon and Israel. The attack wounded two Israeli soldiers.
Strength: Tens of thousands of supporters and members worldwide.
Location/Area of Operation: Hizballah is based in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon. As evidenced by Hizballah’s activities during the course of 2012 and 2013, the group is capable of operating around the globe. As of December 2014, Hizballah fighters were assisting Asad regime forces in many areas across Syria.
Funding and External Aid: Iran continued to provide Hizballah with training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, monetary, and organizational aid; Syria has furnished training, weapons, and 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. As illustrated by the Lebanese-Canadian bank case, Hizballah supporters are often engaged in a range of criminal activities that benefit the group financially. These have included smuggling contraband goods, passport falsification, trafficking in narcotics, money laundering, and credit card, immigration, and bank fraud.
aka Indian Mujahidin; Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahideen (ISF-IM)
Description: The Indian Mujahedeen (IM) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 19, 2011. An India-based terrorist group with links to Pakistan-based terrorist organizations, IM has been responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005, and has caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians. IM maintains ties to other U.S.-designated terrorist entities including Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Harakat ul-Jihad Islami. IM’s stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against Indians for their oppression of Muslims.
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; IM was responsible for 16 synchronized bomb blasts in crowded urban centers, and an attack at a local hospital in Ahmedabad that killed 38 and injured more than 100. Individuals associated with IM probably played a facilitative role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by LeT that killed 166 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. In 2013, IM conducted multiple bombings and terrorist attacks, killing dozens of innocent civilians and injuring hundreds more.
In 2014, IM reportedly continued to plan serial bombings throughout India. The Delhi Police Special Cell and Rajasthan Antiterrorism Squad disrupted a major terrorist attack in Rajasthan on March 23 when they arrested four suspected IM terrorists and confiscated 250 kg of explosives, including over 70 bombs. Indian authorities stated that IM was planning terrorist attacks in Delhi in September, and police seized a file with IM’s letterhead that mentioned plans to target Indian cities.
Location/Area of Operation: India
Funding and External Aid: Suspected to obtain funding and support from other terrorist organizations, and from sources in Pakistan and the Middle East.
ISLAMIC JIHAD UNION
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 violent extremist organization that splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the early 2000s and is currently based in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Najmiddin Jalolov founded the organization as the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG) in March 2002, but the group was renamed IJU in May 2005. Although IJU remains committed to overthrowing the Government of Uzbekistan, it also has a global agenda, seen in its attacks on Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.
Activities: The IJU primarily operates against ISAF and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan and continues to pose a threat to Central Asia. The group claimed responsibility for attacks in March and April 2004 in Uzbekistan, 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 to attack U.S. military bases and personnel by detaining and prosecuting three IJU operatives, including two German citizens. Foreign terrorist 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.
In 2013, two IJU videos showed an attack against an American military base in Afghanistan and an IJU sniper shooting an Afghan soldier at a base in Afghanistan. In January 2014, IJU released a video threatening the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. In May 2014, IJU claimed a joint operation with the Afghan Taliban on an Afghan military base in Khost province, and released a video of the attack.
Strength: 100 to 200 members
Location/Area of Operation: Based in Pakistan and active in Afghanistan, IJU members are also scattered throughout Central Asia and Europe.
Funding and External Aid: Unknown
ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF UZBEKISTAN
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 25, 2000, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’s (IMU) goal is to overthrow the Uzbek government and 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 al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). In April 2012, IMU leader Abu Usman Adil died and Usman Ghazi was named the group’s new leader.
IMU’s leadership cadre remains based in Pakistan’s tribal areas and operates primarily along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in northern Afghanistan. Top IMU leaders have integrated themselves into the Taliban’s shadow government in Afghanistan’s northern provinces. Operating in cooperation with each other, the Taliban and IMU have expanded their presence throughout northern Afghanistan, and have established training camps in the region. Group members may have also traveled to Syria to fight with violent extremist groups.
Activities: Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, the IMU has been predominantly focused on attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. In late 2009, NATO forces reported an increase in IMU-affiliated foreign fighters in Afghanistan. In 2010, IMU claimed responsibility 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 based in the Afghan province of Panjshir that killed two Afghan civilians and wounded two security guards. In 2013, IMU remained active and carried out numerous attacks that killed civilians and police, including a joint attack with the Taliban in May and a suicide attack near Bagram Air Base that targeted a U.S. military convoy.
On June 8, 2014, IMU claimed an attack on Karachi’s international airport that resulted in the deaths of at least 39 people. IMU posted photos online of 10 men holding AK-47s after the attack. On September 26, IMU senior leader Usman Ghazi announced the group’s allegiance to ISIL. The IMU released a statement praising the December 16 Peshawar school attack, carried out by TTP.
Strength: 200-300 members
Location/Area of Operation: IMU militants are located in South Asia, Central Asia, and Iran.
Funding and 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.
ISLAMIC STATE IN IRAQ AND THE LEVANT
aka al-Qa’ida in Iraq; 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; Islamic State in Iraq; Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham; Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi al-’Iraq wa-sh-Sham; Daesh; Dawla al Islamiya; Al-Furqan Establishment for Media Production
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 Laden. After this, al-Tawhid wal-Jihad became known as 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 in Iraq, although within the past year the group adopted the moniker Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to express its regional ambitions as it expanded its operations to include the Syrian conflict. Since 2012, ISIL has been led by Specially Designated Global Terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, aka Abu Du’a. On May 15, the Department of State amended the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation of AQI to add aliases, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and to make ISIL the organization’s primary name. In June 2014, ISIL leader al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate.
Activities: As AQI, ISIL has conducted high profile attacks, including improvised explosive device 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. ISIL perpetrates the majority of suicide and mass casualty bombings in Iraq using foreign and Iraqi operatives. ISIL was active in Iraq in 2012 and 2013; in 2013 alone it was responsible for the majority of deaths of the over 7,000 Iraqi civilians killed that year. ISIL was heavily involved in the fighting in Syria during 2013, including against other militant opposition groups, and participated in a number of kidnapping incidents against civilians, including aid workers and reporters.
ISIL remained active in 2014, launching numerous attacks on a variety of targets in both Syria and Iraq. In January, ISIL captured Fallujah, Iraq, and proclaimed an Islamic state there. In June, the group took over Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq, and a large part of the surrounding Nineveh province. In early July, ISIL captured Syria’s largest oilfield, the al-Omar. By late July, they took a Syrian 17th Division base near Raqqah. In early August, the group captured the Iraqi city of Sinjar, precipitating a humanitarian refugee crisis when the Yazidi, an Iraqi minority ethnic group living in the area, fled to avoid ISIL atrocities. Reported atrocities include the massacre of Yazidi men and the holding of Yazidi women and girls captive and selling them as slaves. In mid-August, ISIL beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley; in September, the group beheaded journalist Steven Sotloff; in October, ISIL killed British aid worker Alan Henning; and in November, American aid worker and ISIL hostage Peter Kassig was also murdered. In late December, ISIL captured a Jordanian pilot after his aircraft malfunctioned and he ejected into ISIL-controlled territory.
Strength: Estimates at year’s end placed the number of fighters that ISIL can muster between 20,000 and 31,500.
Location/Area of Operation: ISIL’s operations are predominately in Iraq and Syria, although supporters and associates worldwide who are inspired by the group’s ideology may be operating without direction from ISIL central leadership. In October 2014, Ansar al-Shari’a-Darnah publicly pledged allegiance to ISIL, and in November 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to the group. Also in October 2014, the chief spokesman of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and five regional commanders defected from TTP and publicly pledged allegiance to ISIL.
Funding and External Aid: ISIL receives most of its funding from a variety of businesses and criminal activities within areas it controls in Iraq and Syria. Criminal activities include robbing banks, smuggling oil, looting and selling antiquities and other goods, as well as extortion and kidnapping for ransom.
JAMA’ATU ANSARUL MUSLIMINA FI BILADIS-SUDAN (ANSARU)
aka Ansaru; Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan; Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa; JAMBS; Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on November 14, 2013, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru) publicly splintered from Boko Haram in January 2012. Ansaru’s leadership structure remains unclear; however, Khalid al-Barnawi held one of the top leadership positions within the organization. Since its inception, Ansaru has targeted western and international civilians and Nigerian government and security officials and is responsible for the deaths of civilians and a number of Nigerian security personnel. Ansaru’s stated goals are to defend Muslims throughout all of Africa by fighting against the Nigerian government and international interests, but to avoid killing innocent Muslim civilians. While Ansaru claims to identify with Boko Haram’s objectives and struggle, it has criticized the group for killing fellow Muslims.
Activities: In November 2012, Ansaru raided a police station in Abuja, killing Nigerian police officers and freeing detained terrorists from prison. In January 2013, Ansaru attacked a convoy of Nigerian peacekeepers on their way to Mali. Ansaru has also engaged in multiple kidnapping attacks targeting civilians. In late 2012, Ansaru kidnapped a French engineer and claimed the action was justified due to French involvement in Mali. Similarly in early 2013, Ansaru kidnapped and subsequently executed seven international construction workers. Ansaru committed no known attacks in 2014.
Strength: Total membership is unknown. Given its narrower scope of operations, it is estimated that Ansaru’s membership is much smaller than that of Boko Haram’s.
Location/Area of Operation: Ansaru’s operations take place in northern Nigeria.
Funding and External Aid: Ansaru maintained a working relationship with Boko Haram and during 2014 may have rejoined with the larger group.
aka the Army of Mohammed; Mohammed’s Army; Tehrik 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 India in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages. The group’s aim is to annex Indian-administered Kashmir to Pakistan and expel Coalition Forces from 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 continued to operate openly in parts of Pakistan despite the 2002 ban on its activities. Since its founding, JEM has conducted many fatal terrorist attacks in the region. JEM claimed responsibility for several suicide car bombings in Indian-administered 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 reportedly 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. In December 2013, JEM threatened to kill Indian politician Narendra Modi if he were elected Prime Minister. Though they did not publicly claim any attacks, JEM members continued to clash with Indian forces in Kashmir in 2014.
Strength: JEM has at least several hundred armed supporters in Pakistan.
Location/Area of Operation: Kashmir in India; Afghanistan; and Pakistan, particularly southern Punjab.
Funding and External Aid: To avoid asset seizures by the Pakistani government, since 2007 JEM has withdrawn funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and the production of consumer goods. JEM also collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets, sometimes using charitable causes to solicit donations.
JEMAAH ANSHORUT TAUHID
aka JAT; Jemmah Ansharut Tauhid; Jem’mah Ansharut Tauhid; Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid; Jama’ah Ansharut Tauhid; Laskar 99
Description: The Department of State designated Indonesia-based group Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 13, 2012. Formed in 2008, JAT seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia, and has carried out numerous attacks on Indonesian government personnel, police, military, and civilians. In 2011, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the founder and leader of JAT, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in organizing a militant training camp in Aceh. Ba’asyir is also the co-founder and former leader of Jemaah Islamiya (JI). JAT maintains ties to JI and other indigenous terrorist groups in Southeast Asia.
Activities: JAT has conducted multiple attacks targeting civilians and Indonesian officials, resulting in the deaths of several Indonesian police. JAT has robbed banks and carried out other illicit activities to fund the purchase of assault weapons, ammunition, explosives, and bomb-making materials. In October 2012, two policemen investigating an alleged terrorist camp linked to JAT were tortured and found dead in Poso, and authorities implicated JAT in the killings. In December 2012, four police officers were killed and two wounded in an attack by suspected local JAT members in Central Sulawesi after a group of 10 to 15 gunmen ambushed a police patrol in the area. In 2013, Indonesian authorities conducted two raids that killed five JAT members who had fled Poso after they had killed several police officers. Police found a pipe bomb and other bomb-making materials at the JAT camp.
In July 2014, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir pledged allegiance to ISIL and instructed his followers to fight with ISIL. JAT members are fighting in Syria, and Indonesian authorities have arrested some JAT members upon their return.
Strength: JAT is estimated to have several thousand supporters and members.
Location/Area of Operation: JAT is based in Indonesia with suspected elements in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Funding and External Aid: JAT raises funds through membership donations; bank robberies, cyber hacking, and other illicit activities; and legitimate business activities such as operating bookstores and other shops.
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 Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir that seeks to establish 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 associate Hambali. In 2006, several members connected to JI’s 2005 suicide attack in Bali were arrested; in 2007, 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. In February 2010, the Indonesian National Police discovered and disbanded a violent extremist training base in Aceh in which former members of JI and other Indonesian violent extremist groups participated. The police raid resulted in the capture of more than 60 militants, including some former JI operatives, and led authorities to former JI senior operative Dulmatin, one of the planners of the 2002 Bali bombing. In March 2010, Dulmatin was killed outside of Jakarta. In January 2011, JI member Umar Patek was captured in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and put on trial in Indonesia, where he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison in June 2012 for his role in the Bali bombing.
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 the October 2005 suicide bombing in Bali, which killed 26, including the three suicide bombers.
On July 17, 2009, a JI faction led by Top conducted the group’s most recent high-profile attacks, when two suicide bombers detonated explosive devices at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta that killed seven and injured more than 50, including seven Americans. The Philippine military announced it had killed two JI members in separate incidents in the south of the country in late 2012, including one of the group’s senior-most representatives to the Philippines.
In November 2014, Indonesian authorities released former JI bomb-maker Taufik Abdul Halim from prison after serving a 12-year sentence for attempting to bomb a Jakarta shopping mall in 2001.
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.
Funding and External Aid: JI fundraises through membership donations and criminal and business activities. It has received financial, ideological, and logistical support from Middle Eastern contacts and illegitimate charities and 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 inception in 2003, Jundallah, which operates primarily in the province of Sistan va Balochistan of Iran, and the Baloch areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, 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. In 2013, attacks continued in the Sistan va Balochistan province; however, it is unclear if Jundallah was involved in these attacks. There were no known attacks attributed to Jundallah in 2014.
Location/Area of Operation: Jundallah has traditionally operated throughout Sistan va Balochistan province in southeastern Iran and the greater Balochistan area of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Funding and 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 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 physically intimidated 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. There were no known Kahane Chai attacks during 2014.
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 that live mostly in West Bank settlements.
Location/Area of Operation: Israel and West Bank settlements, particularly Qiryat Arba in Hebron.
Funding and 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 violent 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 receives support from that group and its sponsor, Iran.
Activities: KH has been responsible for numerous 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 the summer of 2008, recording and distributing video footage of its attacks. In June 2011, five U.S. soldiers were killed in a rocket attack in Baghdad when KH assailants fired between three and five rockets at U.S. military base Camp Victory. The group remained active in 2014, participating in fighting in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ISIL), but has not conducted an attack on U.S. interests since July 2011.
Strength: Membership is estimated at 400 individuals.
Location/Area of Operation: KH’s operations are predominately Iraq-based, but also include fighting alongside pro-regime forces in Syria. Traditionally, KH conducted the majority of its operations in Baghdad, but its operations have expanded across Iraq in response to ISIL.
Funding and External Aid: KH is heavily dependent on support from Iran and Lebanese Hizballah.
KURDISTAN WORKERS’ PARTY
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) 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.
Activities: In the early 1990s, the PKK moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to include urban terrorism. Anatolia was the scene of significant violence; some estimates placed casualties at least 40,000 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 hardline militant wing took control and renounced the self-imposed ceasefire of the previous five years. Striking over the border from bases within Iraq, the PKK engaged in terrorist attacks in eastern and western Turkey. In 2009, the Turkish government and the PKK resumed peace negotiations, but talks broke down after a PKK-initiated attack in July 2011 that left 13 Turkish soldiers dead. In 2012, there were multiple car bombings resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people. Primary targets included Turkish government security forces, local Turkish officials, and villagers who oppose the organization in Turkey.
Widely publicized peace talks between Ocalan and the Turkish government to resolve the conflict began at the end of 2012. Peace talks continued throughout 2014 with the ceasefire holding, even with sporadic PKK attacks on Turkish government forces, including one attack in September where three Turkish police officers were killed.
Strength: Approximately 4,000 to 5,000 members; 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: The PKK operates primarily in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Europe.
Funding and External Aid: The PKK receives financial support from the large Kurdish diaspora in Europe and from criminal activity.
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; Al-Anfal Trust; Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool; Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal
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 anti-India-focused terrorist groups, with the ability to severely disrupt already tense regional relations. LeT formed in the late 1980s as the terrorist wing of the Islamist extremist organization, Markaz ud Dawa ul-Irshad, a Pakistan-based Islamic fundamentalist mission organization and charity originally 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 its name to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and began humanitarian projects to circumvent restrictions. LeT disseminates its message through JUD’s media outlets. In addition to LeT’s creation of JUD, LeT has repeatedly changed its name in an effort to avoid sanctions; other LeT aliases and front groups include Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal. Elements of LeT and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JEM) combined with other groups to mount such attacks as “The Save Kashmir Movement.” The Pakistani government banned LeT in January 2002, and JUD in 2008, following the 2008 Mumbai attack. LeT and Saeed continue to spread terrorist ideology, as well as virulent hate speech 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; several high profile attacks inside India; and operations against Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. The group uses assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Indian government officials hold LeT responsible for the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai against luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a train station, and a popular café that killed 166 people – including six American citizens – and injured more than 300. India has charged 38 people in the case; most are at large and thought to be in Pakistan.
In March 2010, Pakistani-American businessman David Headley pled guilty in a U.S. court to charges related to his role in the November 2008 LeT attacks in Mumbai, as well as to charges related 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 2011, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in January 2013.
In June 2012, Indian authorities arrested LeT member Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jindal, one of the instigators of the November 2008 Mumbai attack. LeT is alleged to have been responsible for a March 2013 attack on Indian paramilitary forces in the Indian-controlled Kashmir city of Srinagar, which killed five people and wounded 10 others.
LeT continued carrying out attacks in 2014. LeT was responsible for the May 23 attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan. Throughout the course of 2014, LeT terrorists have engaged in repeated gun battles with Indian security forces in Kashmir. These clashes have killed or injured over 20 Indian law enforcement agents, military personnel, and civilians.
Strength: The size of LeT is unknown, but it has several thousand members in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Pakistani Punjab; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Provinces in Pakistan; and in the southern Jammu, Kashmir, and Doda regions.
Location/Area of Operation: LeT has global connections and a strong operational network throughout South Asia. LeT maintains a number of facilities, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics in Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: LeT collects donations in Pakistan and the Gulf as well as from other donors in the Middle East and Europe, particularly the UK. LeT front organizations continued to openly fundraise in Pakistan and solicited donations in the Pakistani press during 2014.
LASHKAR I JHANGVI
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 terrorist 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 the Government of 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.
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 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz 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.
LJ attacks in 2012 killed hundreds of people; attacks ranged from suicide bombings to targeted shootings of ethnic Hazaras.
In 2013, LJ continued targeting individuals and groups of different ethnic or religious backgrounds. A January dual bombing in Quetta left upwards of 80 Pakistanis dead and over 100 wounded. In February, LJ claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in Quetta that killed at least 84 people and wounded around 200 more. In June, LJ conducted a complex attack in which they detonated a bomb targeting a bus carrying female university students. After the students were brought to a local hospital for treatment, LJ stormed the hospital with small arms and grenades. The attacks resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Pakistani civilians.
In January 2014, at least 24 people were killed and 40 others wounded in a bombing that targeted a bus carrying Shia pilgrims. LJ claimed responsibility for the attack. Also in January, LJ attempted to carry out a suicide bombing at a school in the predominantly Shia area of Hangu, Pakistan. The attack was thwarted when a 15-year old student tackled the bomber; the student, Aitezaz Hassan, died of his injuries. No other staff or students were harmed.
Strength: Membership is assessed in the low hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: LJ is active primarily in Pakistan’s Punjab province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Karachi, and Baluchistan.
Funding and External Aid: Funding comes from wealthy donors in Pakistan, as well as the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. The group engages in criminal activity to fund its activities, including extortion.
LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM
aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers
Description: Founded in 1976 and designated 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.
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, LTTE also had 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, killed LTTE leader Prabhakaran and other members of the LTTE leadership and military command, and declared military victory. There have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war, but a total of 13 LTTE supporters, several of which had allegedly planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014.
LTTE’s financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2014.
Strength: Exact strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: Sri Lanka and India
Funding and 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 its activities.
LIBYAN ISLAMIC FIGHTING GROUP
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 following years, 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, aligned with Usama bin Laden 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 UK released a statement formally disavowing any association with AQ, suggesting the group had fractured/lost internal cohesion. In September 2009, six imprisoned LIFG members in Libya 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 defunct 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, some LIFG members returned to Libya and some created the 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 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. There were no known terrorist attacks carried out by LIFG in 2014.
Location/Area of Operation: Since the late 1990s, many members have fled to southwest Asia, and European countries, particularly the UK.
Funding and External Aid: Unknown
MUJAHIDIN SHURA COUNCIL IN THE ENVIRONS OF JERUSALEM
aka: Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem; MSC; Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem; Mujahideen Shura Council; Shura al-Mujahedin Fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis; Majlis Shura al-Mujahidin; Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen; Magles Shoura al-Mujahddin
Description: The Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem is a consolidation of several Salafi terrorist groups based in Gaza that have claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israel since the group’s founding in 2012.
Activities: On August 13, 2013, MSC claimed responsibility for a rocket attack targeting the southern Israeli city of Eilat. Previously, MSC claimed responsibility for the March 21, 2013 attack in which Gaza-based militants fired at least five rockets at Sderot, Israel, and the April 17, 2013 attack in which two rockets were fired at Eilat, Israel. In addition to the rocket launches, MSC claimed responsibility for a cross-border improvised explosive device attack on June 18, 2012 that targeted an Israeli construction site, killing one civilian.
Strength: MSC is estimated to have several hundred fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: MSC operates in Gaza.
Funding and External Aid: MSC’s access to resources in 2014 is unclear.
aka al-Mulathamun Brigade; al-Muwaqqi’un bil-Dima; Those Signed in Blood Battalion; Signatories in Blood; Those who Sign in Blood; Witnesses in Blood; Signed-in-Blood Battalion; Masked Men Brigade; Khaled Abu al-Abbas Brigade; al-Mulathamun Masked Ones Brigade; al-Murabitoun; The Sentinels
Description: The al-Mulathamun Battalion (AMB) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 19, 2013. Originally part of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), AMB became a separate organization in late 2012 after its leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, split from AQIM. In Belmokhtar’s first public statement after the split, he threatened to fight against Western interests and announced the creation of the sub-battalion, “Those Who Sign in Blood.” In August 2013, AMB and the Mali-based Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) announced that the two organizations would merge under the name “al-Murabitoun.”
Activities: AMB’s Those Who Sign in Blood sub-battalion claimed responsibility for the January 2013 attack against the Tiguentourine gas facility near In Amenas, in southeastern Algeria. Over 800 people were taken hostage during the four-day siege, resulting in the death of 39 civilians, including three U.S. citizens. Seven other Americans escaped the attack.
Before their merger, in May 2013, AMB cooperated with MUJAO in twin suicide bombings in northern Niger on a Nigerien military base in Agadez and a French uranium mine in Arlit. The coordinated attacks killed at least 20 people, including all of the attackers.
AMB’s attacks continued in 2014. In February, AMB claimed responsibility for attacking French forces with rockets near the Timbuktu airport. In May, AMB claimed responsibility for an attack against a military base and a separate car bomb attack against a mine in Agadez region, Niger, which wounded 14 employees. In July, AMB claimed responsibility for a car bomb targeting a patrol of French soldiers in Gao, Mali, which killed one and wounded seven.
Strength: Membership levels of AMB are unknown; however, the al-Murabitoun terrorist group constitutes one of the greatest near-term threats to U.S. and international interests in the Sahel, because of its publicly stated intent to attack Westerners and proven ability to organize complex attacks.
Location/Area of Operation: Algeria, Libya, Mali, and Niger
Funding and External Aid: In addition to the support it may receive through its connections to other terrorist organizations in the region, AMB is likely funded through kidnapping ransoms and other criminal activities.
NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY
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. 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. The Colombian government began exploratory peace talks with the ELN in January 2014, although formal peace negotiations had not started by year’s end.
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 murders of teachers and trade unionists. The group has targeted Colombia’s infrastructure, particularly oil pipelines and equipment. In recent years, including 2014, the ELN launched joint attacks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest terrorist organization.
During 2014, the ELN launched fewer attacks against oil pipelines, but according to Colombian authorities, the group caused more damage than in 2013. The ELN was responsible for eighty percent of the pipeline attacks in 2014. On June 20, the ELN bombed a police station in Bogota injuring three people. On June 29, the group attacked a pipeline in Arauca department which resulted in 13 people injured and suspended production at the Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s oil field. In a demonstration of its ability to attack the capital city and in advance of the August presidential election, the ELN placed five leaflet bombs in Bogota on July 29, with several exploding prior to detection. On September 14, an ELN sniper shot dead two workers sent to repair a damaged section of an oil pipeline that had been bombed by the group near the town of Teorama, Norte de Santander.
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.
Funding and External Aid: The ELN draws its funding from the illicit narcotics trade and from extortion of oil and gas companies. Additional funds are derived from kidnapping ransoms. There is no known external aid.
PALESTINE ISLAMIC JIHAD - SHAQAQI FACTION
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 continues to plan and direct attacks against Israelis both inside Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza. Although U.S. citizens have died in PIJ attacks, the group has not directly targeted U.S. interests. PIJ attacks between 2008 and 2011 were primarily rocket attacks aimed at southern Israeli cities, and have also included attacking Israeli targets with explosive devices. In November 2012, PIJ operatives, working with Hamas, detonated a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv, leaving 29 civilians wounded. In December 2013, four PIJ operatives were arrested by Israeli authorities for their role in a bus bombing near Tel Aviv. In March 2014, PIJ carried out a wave of rocket attacks into Israeli territory. While the grouped claimed they fired 130 rockets and mortars, 60 were believed to have reached Israel. In September 2014, PIJ members claimed they were building tunnels from Gaza to use during future attacks against Israel.
Strength: PIJ has fewer than 1,000 members.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily Gaza with minimal operational presence in the West Bank and Israel. Other leadership elements reside in Lebanon and official representatives are scattered throughout the Middle East.
Funding and External Aid: Receives financial assistance and training primarily from Iran.
PALESTINE LIBERATION FRONT - ABU ABBAS FACTION
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-Palestinian Liberation Organization (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 16 years without claiming responsibility for an attack, the 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. There were no known PLF attacks in 2014.
Strength: Estimates have placed membership between 50 and 500.
Location/Area of Operation: PLF leadership and membership are based in Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza.
Funding and External Aid: Unknown
POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE
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 large-scale 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 increased 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. In 2008 and 2009, the PFLP was involved in several rocket attacks launched primarily from Gaza against Israel, and claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza, including a December 2009 ambush of Israeli soldiers in central Gaza. The PLFP claimed responsibility for numerous mortar and rocket attacks fired from Gaza into Israel in 2010, as well as an attack on a group of Israeli citizens. In October 2011, the PFLP claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that killed one civilian in Ashqelon. In 2012, the Israeli Shin Bet security agency arrested several members of PFLP for plotting to carry out attacks on IDF checkpoints and planning to conduct kidnappings.
On November 18, 2014, two Palestinians reportedly affiliated with the PFLP entered a synagogue and attacked Israelis with guns, knives, and axes, killing five people, including three American citizens, and injuring over a dozen, per media reporting.
Location/Area of Operation: Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
Funding and External Aid: Leadership received safe haven in Syria.
POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE-GENERAL COMMAND
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 Palestinian Liberation Organization. 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 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.
In November 2012, PFLP-GC claimed responsibility for a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that injured 29 people, although four Palestine Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives were later arrested for being behind the attack. In 2013, the PFLP-GC issued statements in support of the Syrian government, Hizballah, and Iran. The group was accused of participating, along with Syrian regime forces, in a battle at the al-Yarmouk refugee camp in July, using a rocket to target and kill civilians in the camp. In 2014, PFLP-GC appointed new leadership to conduct military operations and deploy Palestinian fighters.
Strength: Several hundred
Location/Area of Operation: Political leadership is headquartered 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.
Funding and External Aid: Received safe haven and logistical and military support from Syria and financial support from Iran.
aka Jabhat al-Nusrah; Jabhet al-Nusrah; The Victory Front; al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant; al-Nusrah Front in Lebanon; Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham min Mujahedi al-Sham fi Sahat al-Jihad
Description: Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 15, 2014, and is led by Specially Designated Global Terrorist Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani. It was formed in late 2011 when al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent al-Jawlani to Syria to organize terrorist cells in the region. In 2013, the group split from AQI and became an independent entity. ANF’s stated goal is to oust Syria’s Asad regime and replace it with a Sunni Islamic state; it currently controls a portion of Syrian territory from which it participates in the Syrian conflict.
Activities: ANF has been active in a number of operations against other factions in the Syrian Civil War. The group claimed responsibility for the Aleppo bombings in 2012, the al-Midan bombing in January 2012, a series of Damascus bombings in 2012, and the murder of journalist Mohammed al-Saeed. In December 2013, ANF abducted 13 nuns from a Christian monastery in Maaloula and held them until March 9, 2014. In late February 2014, ANF claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on an army checkpoint in Hermel, Lebanon, claiming it was in retaliation for Hizballah’s involvement in the civil war in Syria. In March, ANF reportedly kidnapped 30 Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp, located near Damascus. In May, American citizen Abu Huraira al-Amriki, reportedly working for ANF, carried out a suicide truck bombing in Idlib. There were no reported casualties, but this is believed to be the first example of an American conducting a suicide attack in Syria. Also in May, high-ranking Syrian military official and head of Syria’s air defense, Lt. Gen. Hussein Ishaq was killed in clashes with ANF. In June, it was reported that ANF had enlisted child soldiers into its ranks. In the same month, it was also reported that ANF militants killed a 14-year-old boy in Lebanon. On August 28, ANF militants kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers from Golan Heights in the UN Disengagement Observer Force Zone. The Fijian soldiers were later released in September. In early November, ANF attacked moderate rebel groups associated with the Free Syrian Army in Idlib. The rebel groups surrendered local towns to ANF and some members defected to ANF, while others were arrested.
Strength: Total membership is unknown, although estimated to be in the low thousands.
Location/Area of Operation: Syria.
Funding and External Aid: Al-Nusrah Front receives funding from a variety of sources, such as ransom payments accrued through kidnapping operations and donations from external Gulf-based donors.
aka al-Qa’eda; 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 Laden Network; the Usama Bin Laden 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 Laden in 1988. The group helped finance, recruit, transport, and train Sunni Islamist extremists for the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union. 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 1996 public declaration of war against the United States. 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 have been killed in recent years, including bin Laden and then second-in-command Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, in May and August 2011, respectively. Al-Rahman’s replacement, Abu Yahya al-Libi, was killed in June 2012. Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri remained at-large at year’s end.
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. soldiers 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 violent extremists launched more than a dozen attacks, killing at least 90 people, including 14 Americans in Saudi Arabia. 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 UK to the United States using liquid explosives. AQ claimed responsibility for a 2008 suicide car bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Pakistan that killed six, 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 and allegedly trained in explosives at AQ camps, was captured in Pakistan, extradited to the United States, and 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 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
In a December 2011 video, AQ leader al-Zawahiri claimed AQ was behind the August kidnapping of American aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan. Weinstein remained in captivity until his death in January 2015 in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In September 2014, AQ leader al-Zawahiri and other AQ leaders announced the establishment of Pakistan-based AQ in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). Two days after the announcement, two Pakistani warships were attacked in Karachi; AQIS took responsibility for plotting the attack almost one week later. The thwarted plan included commandeering the ships and missile system to attack nearby American warships. AQIS claims the orders came from al-Zawahiri. In February 2014, AQ removed the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant as an affiliate.
Strength: In South Asia, AQ’s core has been seriously degraded. The death or arrest of dozens of mid- and senior-level AQ operatives – including bin Laden in May 2011 – have disrupted communication, financial, facilitation nodes, and a number of terrorist plots. However, AQ serves as a focal point of “inspiration” for a worldwide network of affiliated groups – AQAP, AQIM, al-Nusrah Front, and al-Shabaab – and other violent Sunni Islamist extremist groups, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union, Lashkar i Jhangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahadin, and Jemaah Islamiya. Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Haqqani Network also have ties to AQ. Additionally, supporters and associates worldwide who are “inspired” by the group’s ideology may be operating without direction from AQ central leadership, and it is impossible to estimate their numbers.
Location/Area of Operation: AQ was based in Afghanistan until Coalition Forces removed the Afghan Taliban from power in late 2001. Since then, the group’s core leadership is believed to reside largely in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. AQ affiliates – al-Nusrah Front, AQAP, AQIM, and al-Shabaab – operate in Syria and Lebanon, Yemen, the Trans-Sahara, and Somalia, respectively.
Funding and 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.
AL-QA’IDA IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA
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; Ansar al-Shari’a
Description: Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) 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 both killed in Yemen.
The FTO designation for AQAP was amended on October 4, 2012, to include the alias Ansar al-Shari’a (AAS). AAS represents a rebranding effort designed to attract potential followers in areas under AQAP’s control.
Activities: AQAP has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against both internal and foreign targets since its inception in January 2009, including: 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 two unsuccessful attempted attacks against British targets during 2010. 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 UK and in the United Arab Emirates. AQAP attacks in 2012 targeted the Yemeni military, including a February 2012 suicide car bombing that killed 26 Yemeni soldiers in Hadramawt Governorate.
AQAP, operating under the alias AAS, carried out a May 2012 suicide bombing in Sana’a that killed 96 people. Also in May, press reported that AQAP allegedly plotted to detonate a bomb aboard a U.S.-bound airliner using an improvised explosive device (IED). Although there was no imminent threat to U.S. jetliners, the device, which was acquired from another government, was similar to devices that AQAP had previously used in past attempted terrorist attacks.
In 2013, AQAP focused its targeting efforts on the Yemeni military. In September, AQAP carried out a coordinated attack on two military targets in southern Yemen that killed at least 21 Yemeni soldiers. In December, an AQAP attack on the Yemeni Defense Ministry headquarters compound in Sanaa, Yemen killed 52 people, including civilian medical personnel.
In 2014, AQAP claimed responsibility for over 150 attacks in Yemen, using tactics such as IEDs, suicide bombings, and small-arms attacks. The group aggressively targeted both Houthis and Yemeni military and government institutions, including military bases, the Presidential palace in Sana’a, military checkpoints and vehicles, and the police academy in Sana’a. Over 75 Yemeni government or military personnel were killed in these attacks.
In September 2014, AQAP launched a rocket attack against Yemeni security forces around the perimeter of the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a. The attack did not cause any casualties, but was followed two months later by an IED attack at the northern gate of the embassy that injured multiple embassy security guards. Also in November, AQAP attempted to detonate explosives targeting the U.S. and British Ambassadors to Yemen. In December, AQAP claimed responsibility for an attack against the Iranian ambassador’s residence in Sana’a that killed one guard and two pedestrians.
Strength: AQAP is estimated to have approximately one thousand members.
Location/Area of Operation: Yemen
Funding and External Aid: AQAP’s funding primarily comes from robberies and kidnap for ransom operations, and donations from like-minded supporters.
AL-QA’IDA IN THE ISLAMIC MAGHREB
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 joined 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 on February 20, 2008, to reflect the change. Although 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 state. Abdelmalek Droukdel, aka Abu Mus’ab Abd al-Wadoud, is the group’s leader.
Activities: After 2007, when AQIM bombed the UN headquarters building and an Algerian government building in Algiers killing 60 people, AQIM’s northern leadership was largely contained to the mountainous region of northeastern Algeria, and the group’s southern battalions focused mostly on its kidnapping for ransom efforts. In 2011 and 2012, however, AQIM took advantage of the deteriorating security situation across Tunisia, Libya, and Mali, to plan and conduct expanded operations. Militants with ties to AQIM were involved in the September 11, 2012 attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi that killed J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and three staff members.
In 2013, AQIM attacked regional security forces, local government targets, and westerners in the Sahel, including a suicide bombing that killed two Malian civilians and injured six Malian soldiers.
In April 2014, AQIM killed 14 Algerian soldiers in an ambush on a convoy in mountains to the east of Algiers, making it one of the deadliest attacks on the Algerian military in several years. AQIM claimed responsibility for the May 27 attack on the house of Tunisia’s interior minister, Lotfi Ben Jeddou.
In addition to conducting attacks, AQIM continues to conduct kidnap for ransom operations. The targets 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 November 2014, AQIM released a video of two Western hostages, a Dutch national and a French national who were later released in December.
Strength: AQIM has several hundred fighters operating in Algeria with a smaller number in the Sahel. Since the French intervention in northern Mali, AQIM’s safe haven in northern Mali is less tenable for the organization and elements have moved to remote regions of northern Mali or to southwestern Libya. AQIM is attempting to reorganize in the wake of setbacks inflicted upon them by the combined French and African forces.
Location/Area of Operation: Northeastern Algeria (including but not limited to the Kabylie region), Libya, Tunisia, northern Mali, and Niger.
Funding and External Aid: AQIM members engage in kidnapping for ransom and criminal activities to finance their operations.
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 ceasefire 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 ceasefire 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.
The group remained active. In February 2013, two alleged RIRA members were arrested by Irish police while attempting to carry out the assassination of a local drug dealer. Police searched the van they were traveling in and found two loaded handguns and facemasks.
Strength: According 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 ceasefire and with Sinn Fein’s involvement in the peace process.
Location/Area of Operation: Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland.
Funding and 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.
REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES OF COLOMBIA
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 illicit narcotics production and trafficking. The FARC has been responsible for large numbers of kidnappings for ransom in Colombia, and in past years has allegedly held as many as 700 hostages. The FARC’s capacity 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 – estimated at approximately 8,000 in 2013 – and succeeded in capturing or killing a number of FARC senior and mid-level commanders. In August 2012, the Colombian President announced that exploratory peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC were underway. The formal talks began in Norway and then moved to Cuba, where they continued in 2014. These talks are the first such peace negations in over a decade and the fourth effort in the last 30 years. Although the government and the FARC reached a tentative partial agreement on three of the five agreed upon points, no overall peace agreement was concluded by the end of 2014,
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 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.
In 2014, the FARC focused on launching mortars at police stations or the military, placing explosive devices near roads or paths, and using snipers attacks, and ambushes. In 2014, FARC attacks on infrastructure, particularly on oil pipeline and energy towers, decreased. Security forces and government buildings were the most common terrorist targets, although civilian casualties occurred throughout the year.
Although FARC attacks decreased in 2014, the group committed a number of significant attacks. On March 15, the FARC killed two policemen in Tumaco, Nariño, after kidnapping and torturing them. In the run-up to the August presidential elections, the FARC increased terrorist attacks throughout the country. A FARC attack on a transmission tower in Buenaventura left 400,000 people without power. Three soldiers died when they detonated land mines laid by the FARC in Norte de Santander. A FARC attempt to attack a military base in Miranda, Cauca with grenades killed a four-year-old girl and wounded two others. FARC attacks in Meta left 70 oil wells without power and 16,000 people without potable water. On September 16, the FARC attacked a police patrol in Tierradentro, Córdoba, killing seven police and injuring five others. On November 5, the FARC killed two indigenous leaders near the southwestern municipality of Toribio for taking down a sign honoring a late FARC leader. On November 16, the FARC kidnapped a Brigadier General and two companions near Quibdo, Choco. Several days earlier, the FARC kidnapped two soldiers in Arauca. On November 22, the FARC launched an amphibious attack on Gorgona Island, in the Pacific Ocean, killing the island’s police commander and injuring six police officers.
Strength: Approximately 8,000 to 9,000 members, with several thousand additional supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily in Colombia; however, FARC leaders and combatants have been known to use neighboring countries for weapons sourcing and logistical planning. The FARC often use Colombia’s border areas with Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador for incursions into Colombia; and used Venezuelan and Ecuadorian territory for safe haven.
Funding and External Aid: The FARC is primarily funded by extortion, ransoms from kidnapping, and the international drug trade.
REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION 17 NOVEMBER
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 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 EU.
Activities: Initial attacks consisted of assassinations of senior U.S. officials and Greek public figures. Between 1975 and 1991, four American citizens were killed by 17N. The group began using bombings in the 1980s. 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. The convictions of 13 of these members have been upheld by Greek courts. There were no known 17N attacks in 2014.
Location/Area of Operation: Athens, Greece
Funding and External Aid: Unknown
REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE’S LIBERATION PARTY/FRONT
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 advocates a Marxist-Leninist ideology and opposes the United States, NATO, and Turkish establishments. Its goals are the establishment of a socialist state and the abolition of harsh high-security Turkish prisons.
Activities: Since the late 1980s, the group has primarily targeted current and retired Turkish security and military officials, although it has conducted attacks against foreign interests, including U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities, since 1990. The DHKP/C assassinated two U.S. military contractors and wounded a U.S. Air Force officer in the 1990s, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities. DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its repertoire in 2001, with attacks against Turkish police in January and September of that year. 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, although attacks have continued. In June 2004, the group was suspected of a bus bombing at Istanbul University that killed four civilians and wounded 21. In July 2005, police intercepted and killed a DHKP/C suicide bomber who attempted to attack the Ministry of Justice in Ankara. 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. 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.
The group was responsible for a number of high profile attacks in 2012 that included a suicide bombing of a police station in Istanbul. This tactic continued in 2013 when, on February 1, a DHKP/C operative exploded a suicide vest inside the employee entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Besides himself, the explosion killed a Turkish guard and seriously wounded a visiting Turkish journalist. In March 2013, using grenades and rocket launchers, three members of the group attacked the Ministry of Justice and the Ankara headquarters of the Turkish Justice and Development political party. The DHKP/C also claimed a similar attack in September 2013, when two members of the DHKP/C fired rockets at the Turkish National Police headquarters and a police guesthouse. One operative was arrested and the other killed after the attack. No other Turkish casualties were reported in either attack. In March 2014, DHKP/C claimed a shooting at a protest that left one man dead.
Strength: Membership includes an estimated several dozen members inside Turkey, with a support network throughout Europe.
Location/Area of Operation: Turkey, primarily in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Other members live and plan operations in European countries.
Funding and External Aid: The DHKP/C finances its activities chiefly through donations and extortion, and raises funds primarily in Europe.
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 the 2007 attack. On April 3, 2013, five members of RS were convicted by an Athens appeals court, three of them receiving maximum prison sentences. Maziotis and one other accused RS conspirator were convicted in absentia. Both remained at-large after disappearing in July 2012, after they were released following 18 months pre-trial confinement. Greek police alleged that Matziotis was involved in an armed robbery of a bank in Methana, Greece, after his fingerprints were found at the crime scene. On July 16, 2014, Maziotis was arrested after a shootout with Greek police in an Athens shopping district.
After a period of inactivity, the group remerged in April 2014 with a bomb attack outside a Bank of Greece office in Athens; the blast caused extensive damage to surrounding structures but no casualties.
Location/Area of Operation: Athens, Greece
Funding and 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: Designated 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 associated militias have undertaken a violent insurgency using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the series of transitional Somali governments. In 2014, the group continued to fight to discredit and destabilize the Federal Government of Somalia.
Al-Shabaab is an official al-Qa’ida (AQ) affiliate and has ties to other AQ affiliates including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In September 2014, former al-Shabaab leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed and replaced by Ahmed Diriye.
The group is composed of Somali recruits as well as a number of foreign fighters. Since 2011, al-Shabaab has seen its military capacity reduced due to the efforts of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces against al-Shabaab; and clashes, some violent, within the group itself. Despite al-Shabaab’s loss of key territory since 2012, the organization was able to maintain its hold on large sections of rural areas in south-central Somalia in 2014, and conducted attacks in Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti.
Activities: Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to exploit divisions in Somalia and undermine the Federal Government of Somalia, 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 AMISOM troops and Somali officials. It has been responsible for the assassination of numerous civil society figures, government officials, and journalists. Al-Shabaab fighters and those who have claimed allegiance to the group have conducted violent attacks and have assassinated international aid workers and members of NGOs.
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. In 2013, al-Shabaab again expanded its activities outside of Somali and staged a significant attack in September against the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The siege resulted in the death of at least 65 civilians – including foreign nationals from 13 countries outside of Kenya – six soldiers and police officers, and hundreds of injured.
In 2014, al-Shabaab carried out several attacks, including a May attack on the building of the Federal Parliament of Somalia, that injured at least two lawmakers; a May bombing attack on a restaurant in Djibouti that was popular with foreigners that killed 20 and wounded at least 15; and an attempted attack in July on Villa Somalia, the Somali Presidential Headquarters. In mid-November, al-Shabaab attacked a bus traveling in northern Kenya, singling out and killing 28 non-Muslims. In early December, al-Shabaab killed 36 Christians working in a quarry in northern Kenya. On December 25, al-Shabaab fighters penetrated the Mogadishu International Airport compound for the first time in several years, ambushing and killing at least ten AMISOM soldiers and contractors.
Strength: Al-Shabaab is estimated to have several thousand members, including a small cadre of foreign fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: Al-Shabaab has lost full control of significant areas of territory. In September 2012, al-Shabaab lost control of Kismayo, a vital port it used to obtain supplies and funding through taxes. In October 2014, al-Shabaab lost another strategic port in Baraawe to AU and Somali troops. Despite these losses, al-Shabaab continued to control large sections of rural areas in the middle and lower Juba regions, as well as Bay, Shabelle, and Bakol regions, and maintained its presence in northern Somalia along the Golis Mountains and within Puntland’s larger urban areas.
Funding and External Aid: Since 2012, al-Shabaab has seen its income diminish due to the loss of the strategic port cities of Kismayo, Merka, and Baraawe; furthermore, it lost a general ability to freely levy taxes in certain urban areas in southern and central Somalia. Al-Shabaab continued to operate and carry out attacks despite fewer financial resources, however, and still obtained some funds through illegal charcoal production and exports, taxation of local populations, and foreign donations.
Because al-Shabaab is a multi-clan entity, it reportedly receives donations from individuals in the Somali diaspora; however, the donations are not always intended to support terrorism, but also to support family members.
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: The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso or 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.
Today, SL operates primarily in the Apurimac, Ene, and Montaro River Valley (VRAEM), an area that accounts for half of Peru’s total cocaine production. The organization was significantly weakened by an August 2013 operation conducted by a joint military-police task force in the VRAEM that resulted in the deaths of two of the SL’s top operational leaders, Alejandro Borda Casafranca (also known as Comrade Alipio) and Martin Quispe Palomino (also known as Comrade Gabriel). The demise of Alipio and Gabriel was the biggest blow sustained by the SL since the capture of SL’s then-national leader, Comrade Feliciano, in 1999.
Activities: SL carried out approximately 20 terrorist attacks in 2014, a significant drop from the estimated 50 attacks the group conducted in 2013. The attacks resulted in the deaths of two soldiers and the wounding of six soldiers, two police officers, and seven civilians. SL did not demonstrate the ability to conduct attacks in Lima.
Strength: Peruvian officials estimated that SL consisted of approximately 100 fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: Peru, with most activity in rural areas, specifically the Huallaga Valley and the Apurimac, Ene, and Montaro River Valley of central Peru.
Funding and External Aid: SL is primarily funded by the illicit narcotics trade.
TEHRIK-E TALIBAN PAKISTAN
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 tribal militants agreed to cooperate and eventually coalesced into TTP under the leadership of now deceased leader Baitullah Mehsud. TTP was led by Hakimullah Mehsud from August 2009 until his death in November 2013. Following Hakimullah Mehsud’s death, TTP has been led by Mullah Fazlullah, formerly the leader of TTP’s chapter in the Swat area of Pakistan. Since Fazlullah became TTP’s leader, the group has been engaged in violent infighting. A rival faction led by Khan Said – a former TTP commander who had previously clashed with Hakimullah – publicly split from TTP in May 2014. Separately, TTP entered into peace talks with the Pakistani government in early 2014, but the talks collapsed in June 2014. In October 2014, the chief spokesman and five regional commanders defected from TTP and publicly pledged allegiance to ISIL.
TTP’s goals include waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistani military and state, as well as against NATO forces in Afghanistan, and overthrowing the Government of Pakistan. TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghan-Pakistani border to train and deploy its operatives, and the group has ties to 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.
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 involvement in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. TTP directed and facilitated the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010.
Throughout 2011 and 2012, TTP carried out attacks against the Government of Pakistan and civilian targets, as well as against U.S. targets in Pakistan. Attacks in 2011 targeted civilians, Pakistani government and military targets, and an American consulate convoy in a series of suicide bombings and attacks. In 2012, TTP carried out attacks targeting a mosque, police checkpoint, a Pakistani Air Force base, and a bus carrying Shia Muslims.
In 2013, TTP attacked both civilian and government targets. In May, three TTP bombings, two targeting political parties and a third targeting a newly-created elite police force killed 14 people and wounded 54 others. In September, a TTP suicide bomber struck outside a church in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 81 and wounding approximately 140. In October, a Pakistani government minister and nine other civilians were killed when a suicide bomber, believed to be a member of a local branch of the TTP in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, struck outside the official’s home during the Eid al-Adha holiday. In November, twin bomb attacks targeting a Shia neighborhood of Karachi, Pakistan killed six people and wounded 35 others.
TTP continued attacking both civilian and Pakistani government targets in 2014. In January, a TTP suicide attack on a police convoy in Karachi killed three and injured ten others. Also in January, a bombing against a military convoy, which was carried out by TTP in the Pakistani town of Bannu, killed at least 20 Pakistani soldiers and wounded at least 30. Two days later, a TTP suicide bombing at a bazaar in Rawalpindi killed eight soldiers and three children. In February, at least 13 policemen were killed and almost 60 others were injured in a suicide bombing targeting a bus carrying officers to a local training center near Karachi. In June, TTP launched two consecutive attacks against Karachi’s international airport, one on June 8 and the second followed two days later. In the June 8 attack, carried out in conjunction with Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a squad of commandos, disguised as government security forces, stormed the airport. The ensuing fight between security forces and the TTP, which lasted through the night, killed at least 36 people. The second attack, in which at least two gunmen opened fire on a guard post at the airport perimeter, caused no casualties. In December, TTP laid siege to a primary school in Peshawar, Pakistan. The eight-hour assault on the school killed 145 people, 132 of whom were children.
Strength: Several thousand.
Location/Area of Operation: Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan
Funding and External Aid: TTP is believed to raise most of its funds through kidnapping ransoms, criminal activity, and extortion.