Militant Palestinian & Islamic Organizations
The Arab Embrace of
Nazism 1933-1955: The Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini represents the prevalent
pro-Nazi posture among the Arab/Muslim world before, during and even after
the Holocaust. The Nazi-Arab connection existed even when Adolf Hitler
first seized power in Germany in 1933. News of the Nazi takeover was welcomed
by the Arab masses with great enthusiasm, as the first congratulatory telegrams
Hitler received upon being appointed Chancellor came from the German Consul
in Jerusalem, followed by those from several Arab capitals. Soon afterwards,
parties that imitated the National Socialists were founded in many Arab
lands, like the "Hisb-el-qaumi-el-suri" (PPS) or Social Nationalist Party
in Syria. Its leader, Anton Sa’ada, styled himself the Führer of the
Syrian nation, and Hitler became known as "Abu Ali" (In Egypt his name
was "Muhammed Haidar"). The banner of the PPS displayed the swastika on
a black-white background. Later, a Lebanese branch of the PPS – which still
receives its orders from Damascus – was involved in the assassination of
Lebanese President Pierre Gemayel.
Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini's
initiated (or copied) a doctrine of "systematic extermination" caused the
murder or flight from the country of any Arab suspected of less than total
loyalty to the rebels: mayor, affiliated official, sheikh, village mukhtar
(headman), rival Arab notable, and even prominent Muslim religious figures-all
were victims. In larger part he took his queue from similar German
SS actions. (see "Palestinians" killing
The most influential
party that emulated the Nazis was "Young Egypt," which was founded in October
1933. They had storm troopers, torch processions, and literal translations
of Nazi slogans – like "One folk, One party, One leader." Nazi anti-Semitism
was replicated, with calls to boycott Jewish businesses and physical attacks
on Jews. Britain had a bitter experience with this pro-German mood in Egypt,
when the official Egyptian government failed to declare war on the Wehrmacht
as German troops were about to conquer Alexandria.
After the war, a
member of Young Egypt named Gamal Abdul Nasser was among the officers who
led the July 1952 revolution in Egypt. Their first act – following in Hitler’s
footsteps – was to outlaw all other parties. Nasser’s Egypt became a safe
haven for Nazi war criminals, among them the SS General in charge of the
murder of Ukrainian Jewry; he became Nasser’s bodyguard and close comrade.
Alois Brunner, another senior Nazi war criminal, found shelter in Damascus,
where he served for many years as senior adviser to the Syrian general
staff and still resides today.
Sami al-Joundi, one
of the founders of the ruling Syrian Ba’ath Party, recalls: "We were racists.
We admired the Nazis. We were immersed in reading Nazi literature and books...
We were the first who thought of a translation of Mein Kampf. Anyone who
lived in Damascus at that time was witness to the Arab inclination toward
Fedayeen movements 1960s
When the West Bank was
annexed by Jordan in 1951, it tried to merge Jordan and Palestinians' interests
in Jordan's politics. This was done however, at the expense of Palestinian
nationalism. In spite of the strength of the Jordaninized elite in the
initial years following its inception in the early 1950s, most Palestinian
activists at a later time became rather involved in pan-Arab populist movements.
Most political leaders of pan-Arab and secular socialist opposition parties
in Jordan and elsewhere in the Arab world were also Palestinians who challenged
the Jordanianized elite. Eventually, the growth of Arabism since the late
1950s and the strength of the Fedayeen movements in the 1960s and 1970s
intensified oppositions to the Jordanianized elite. As time went
by, the Jordanianized elite became increasingly unpopular and the Arab
Israeli conflict was also becoming more Palestinianized. Soon after the
1967 war, most Palestinian activists became committed to new militant and
secular nationalist groups, known as the Fedayeens, which became popular
among Palestinians living outside Israel. Two decades later, Islamic revivalists
began to play a more leading role in Palestinian and inter-Arab politics.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Islamic groups managed to offer Palestinians and
Arabs alike an Islamic alternative to existing secular and local political
trends and ideologies. Along with these changes, the old myths of Arabism
and Palestinian militarism were replaced by new and uncompromising myths
of radical Islamism
The pan-Arab elite,
which became powerful in the late 1950s, emphasized that the liberation
of Palestine was part of the larger goal of changing the social and political
structure of the Arab world. Most Palestinian activists at the time believed
in this pan-Arab assumption, which illustrates that participation in pan-Arab
movements would likely enable Palestinians to regain their lost homeland.
The Palestinian attraction to pan-Arabism at the time was enhanced by the
presence of Palestinian activists who happened to become leaders of several
pan-Arab movements that were largely subsumed under the populist role of
both Nasserism in Egypt and Ba'athism in Syria and Iraq. Palestinian support
to pan-Arab movements and regimes remained strong and unchallenged until
1961, when the Egyptian-Syrian union failed. Their commitment to Arabism
was then questioned by key Palestinian organizations like Fatah, which
became the largest Fedayeen guerrilla group. The pan-Arab elite witnessed,
in addition, other changes as a result of the 1967 war. By then, a new
radical phase had been developed by which the Palestinian identity in relation
to the pan-Arab identity underwent another transformation.
After 1967, the mainstream
leadership of the Fedayeen movement was largely successful in disassociating
itself from pan-Arab myths and doctrines that dominated Palestinians' political
life in past decades. By that time, most Palestinian activists began instead
identifying themselves, directly or indirectly, with the new Fedayeen groups--namely
the al-Fatah organization, which was founded in Kuwait City in 1959 and
led PLO factions since 1968. Few Palestinian groups continued adherence
to the pan-Arab perspectives following the 1967 war era. Following
1967, the Fedayeen groups encouraged Palestinians to take matters into
their own hands and not rely on Arab leaders who, they believed, were not
serious about liberating Palestine. Their new strategy stressed independence
of action and the use of armed struggle as a means for regaining their
lost homeland. In so doing, the Fedayeens had, in the 1960s and 1970s,
become the new heroes of the Arab world. Since their takeover of the PLO,
the framework of the organization experienced major changes in its structure,
policy and philosophy. New revisions of the Palestine National Covenant
and the Constitution of the PLO were also made at the time of the transition.
Strong evidence showed that these changes were part of discernible trends
toward the creation of a new leadership that became represented in Palestinian
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Note that its emblem, like that of other Palestinian terrorist groups,
displays a map of all of the State of Israel -- not just those areas
administered by Israel since 1967.
Though the PLO claims that it recognizes
Israel's right to exist and wants to found a state only in Gaza and the
West Bank, its official stationery, bearing its official emblem, betrays
its true goals. As PLO officials have indicated repeatedly, the organization
has designs on conquering all of Israel. These aims have been incorporated
into the PLO Charter
and the PLO's "phased plan"
for Israel's destruction.
Founded in 1964 by the Arab League, the
PLO was the invention of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser. Nasser
saw it as a means to advance Egypt's goals of uniting the Arab world under
Egyptian rule, by rallying the Arab states under the banner of destroying
Since 1969, the PLO has been run by Chairman
Yasser Arafat and his militant terrorist group, Fatah.
Here is are some the most significant eventsof
the 1970s terrorist campaign:
May 1970 - 12 Israelis were killed when Palestinian
terrorists attacked a bus carrying schoolchildren at Moshav Avivim
in the Galilee.
September 1970 - Pan Am, Swissair, and TWA
planes carrying a total of 400 passengers were hijacked from Amsterdam,
Zurich, and Frankfurt. The TWA and Swissair planes were forced to land
in Zerqa, Jordan, and the Pan Am flight in Cairo. All three were blown
up after the passengers were freed.
May 1972 - Three Japanese terrorists working
for the PFLP machine-gunned passengers at the Lod airport in Israel, killing
27 and wounding 80. Most victims were Puerto Rican Christians.
September 1972, Five Arab terrorists wearing
track sweat suits climbed the 6-foot fence surrounding the Munich Olympics.
A total of 11 Israeli athletes were murdered.
October 1972, a Lufthansa jet was hijacked
by terrorists demanding that the Munich killers be released. After the
West German authorities freed the terrorists, the plane was released.
February 1973, Eight members of Black September,
part of Arafat's Fatah organization, stormed the Saudi embassy in Khartoum,
took U.S. Diplomates Noel, Moore and others hostage. A day later, on March
2, 1973, Noel, Moore and Eid were machine-gunned to death on the orders
The PLO was created in Jerusalem in 1964,
following a decision of the
of Arab States, with the first meeting of the Palestine
National Council (PNC) . The first Council, made up of 422 leading
Palestinian representatives, adopted the Palestinian National Charter and
formally created the PLO, headed by a Palestinian lawyer who had worked
for several Arab governments as a diplomat, Ahmed Shuquairy.
April 1974 - Eighteen Jews were murdered as
three Palestinian terrorists attacked an apartment block in Israel's northern
city of Kiryat Shemona.
May 1974 - Palestinian terrorists attacked
a school in the Israeli town of Ma'alot, killing 24 Israelis and wounding
July 1975 - Palestinians bomb Jerusalem's
Zion Square, killing 15 Israelis and wounding 62 more.
March 1978 - Palestinian terrorists hijacked
two buses on the Haifa-Tel Aviv coastal road, killing 35 Israelis and wounding
The creation of the PLO marked a change
in attitude among Palestinians: In the past, they saw Arab unification
as a solution to their problem. The failure in 1961 of unification between
and Syria one one hand
and the success of the struggle for national liberation in
in 1962 on the other, were decisive factors in their new awareness.
The highest body in the PLO is the PNC
which appoints the Executive
Committee which handles regular business between sessions. This has
remained unchanged since its inception. Several changes have been introduced
in the meantime, however, mainly after the 1967 war. Until then, the PLO
had been extremely dependent on the Arab states, and many organizations
were created in parallel. After the 1967 defeat, and because they had been
alone in resisting occupation, they joined the PLO: two of them, the Fatah
and the PFLP had as of
1968 one half of the seats in the PNC, and Ahmed Shuquairy resigned. One
year later, Yasser Arafat,
Fatah leader, was appointed President of the PLO by the PNC.
Recognized as representative of the Palestinian
people by all Arab States at their Summit in 1974 (see Arab
Summits), the PLO was given observer status at the United Nations the
same year and became a full member in its own right of the League of Arab
States in 1976. However, this has not prevented some Arab states from creating
parallel "PLO"s whenever its policy seemed to distance itself too much
from their own. This occurred in 1978, when Iraq spurred the creation in
Baghdad of a "Rejection Front" (see Abu
Nidal and PFLP-GC),
and later in 1983 in Damascus when Syria sponsored the "Palestinian National
Salvation Front" (see DFLP),
both attempts, however, were destined to fail.
In western Europe, Spain was the first
country granting diplomatic status to a PLO representative, followed later
by Portugal, Austria, France, Italy and Greece.
The PLO has two sources of financing: annual
contributions from Arab states and a tax varying between 3 and 6% levied
on the income of Palestinians.Of all countries, Saudi Arabia has been the
greatest and most regular contributor to date.
The PLO Executive Committee is made up
at present of 15 members, each heading a department. The Political Department
(the "Foreign Ministry" of the PLO) is headed by Faruk
Qaddumi, who alongside Arafat was one of the founders of the Fatah.
The Movement for the National Liberation
of Palestine (Fatah)
the grenade and crossed rifles, superimposed on the map of Israel. This
emphasizes the dedication of Fatah, along with the other "liberation" groups,
to the "armed struggle" against Israel, a euphemism for terrorism against
Founded in the early 1960s by the Egyptian-born
Yasser Arafat and friends of his in Algeria, Fatah was originally opposed
to the founding of the PLO,
which it viewed as a political opponent. Backed by Syria, Fatah began carrying
out terrorist raids against Israeli targets in 1965, launched from Jordan,
Lebanon and Egyptian-occupied Gaza (so as not to draw reprisals against
Syria). Dozens of raids were carried out eachyear, exclusively against
Fatah's popularity among Palestinians grew
until it took over control of the PLO in 1968. Since then it has been the
PLO's most prominent faction, under the direct control of PLO Chairman
"Fatah" is a reverse acronym of the Arabic,
at-Tahrir al-Wataniyyeh al-Falastiniyyeh. The word "Fatah" means "conquest
by means of jihad [Islamic holy war]".
Acronym for Harakat al-Tahrir al-Falistiniya,
the Palestinian Liberation Movement, with the first letters in reverse
order giving FATAH which means conquest (whereas the word derived from
the normal abbreviation Hataf means "death")
Fatah is the largest Palestinian political
organization. It was founded in Kuwait in 1957 as a Palestinian nationalist
movement opposed to Arab nationalism. Its founders include Yasser
ARAFAT, Khaled Al-Hassan, Farouq Qaddumi and Kalil Al-Wazzir (who was
later killed by an Israeli squad in 1988 in Tunis).
Fatah took no heed of the creation of the
in 1964 and concentrated itself on preparing for the armed struggle against
Israel as of 1965. Only after the Arab defeat in 1967 it joined the PLO
together with other guerilla groups and its spokesman, Yasser Arafat, became
later the Chairman of the PLO.
Today Fatah is still the largest political
group within the PLO and it holds more than one third of groups seats within
the Palestine National Council (PNC).
President: Yasser Arafat, Secretary General:
For some other information go to Fatah
official website 
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The PFLP stemmed from the Arab Nationalists' Movement ANM, created in Beirut
by two students, one a Palestinian refugee, George
Habash, the other a Syrian who had volunteered in the Arab expedition
corps in Palestine in 1948. The pan-Arab movement ANM no longer existed
after the Arab defeat of 1967.
Earlier in 1964, reacting to the creation
of the PLO that same
year, the Palestinian branch of the ANM set itself up as an autonomous
group under the name of "National Front for the Liberation of Palestine"
which carried out several actions against Israeli territory starting in
November 1964. At the end of 1967, the group changed name and became known
as the "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine".
Once established in Jordan
alongside other fedayin organizations, the PFLP grew very active in the
field and became known internationally through airplane highjackings. Weakened
in February 1969 by the split led by Nayef
Hawatmah, the PFLP still managed to hold onto its provocative role
in the Hashemite Kingdom
calling for an overthrow of the regime involving the PLO in the September
1970 confrontation which led to the elimination of the Palestinian resistance
After this defeat the PFLP changed its
approach. In 1972 it decided to forgo "external operations" choosing to
concentrate on striking in Israel
and the Occupied Territories,
without distinguishing, however, between civilian and military objectives.
Adopting a Marxist-Leninist ideology the PFLP broke with its more extremist
members. After 1973, the PFLP holds a central position in the opposition
to the new moderate attitude of the PLO. Following the signing of the Camp
David Agreements, Palestinian unity was reestablished, but the PFLP pulled
out of the Executive Committee in 1974 rejoining it only seven years later
in 1981. The differences between the PFLP and the Fatah
remained great, with the Lebanon
war in 1982 exacerbating them.
Once again the PFLP found itself at the
centre of an anti-Arafat
coalition with the Damascus based Palestinian dissidents, opposing both
negotiations with Jordan and the Fes Plan. However, it refused to form
a "Parallel PLO" which would only have weakened the Palestinian cause.
The PFLP remains one of the major forces within the PLO, and even if George
Habash abstained during crucial votes at the 18th PNC held in Algiers in
November 1988, the PFLP still supports the decisions that were democratically
adopted on that occasion.
The Madrid Conference and the Oslo process
marginalised the PFLP like most Palestinian factions.
Ranking second only after the Fatah, the
PFLP nevertheless remains influential in the refugee camps.
A reconciliation of the PFLP - together
with the DFLP - with Arafat and the Fatah took place in Cairo in August
1999 at the eve of the start of the negotiations on the Palestinian territories
final status. 
Marxist-Leninist group founded in 1967
by George Habash as a member of the PLO. Advocates a Pan-Arab revolution.
Opposes the Declaration of Principles signed in 1993 and has suspended
participation in the PLO. Committed numerous international terrorist attacks
during the 1970s. Since 1978 PFLP has carried out numerous attacks against
Israeli or moderate Arab targets, including the killing of a settler and
her son in December 1996.
Strength Some 800. Location/Area of Operation
Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the occupied territories. Receives most of
its financial and military assistance from Syria and Libya. 
The Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine -- General Command (PFLP-GC)
PFLP-CG is a Palestinian group formed after a split in the PFLP in 1968.
After its creation the group was headed
by Ahmed Jibril, a Palestinian who had served in the Syrian army as officer
before joining first the Fatah and later the PFLP.
It was in the "rejection front" created
in Baghdad in 1974 (see Abu Nidal) but the group soon fell victim to bloody
battles between pro-Syrians and pro-Iraqis causing several hundred deaths
in its ranks in 1978 discrediting the group for some time.
In recent years, Ahmed Jibril's group -
now based in Damascus - has been in the news mainly because of the capture
and exchange of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon and infiltration attempts in
Israel using new technologies (hot air balloons, ULM, motorized hang-gliders).
It is considered responsible for several attacks including that against
a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie causing 270 deaths. 
Split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming that
it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. Violently opposed
to Arafat's PLO. Led by Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian Army.
Closely allied with, supported by, and probably directed by Syria. Has
carried out numerous cross-border terrorist attacks into Israel using unusual
means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders. Strength several
hundred. Location/Area of Operation
Headquartered in Damascus, bases in Lebanon,
and cells in Europe. Receives logistic and military support from Syria,
its chief sponsor; financial support from Libya; safehaven in Syria. Receives
support also from Iran. 
The Democratic Front for the Liberation
of Palestine (DFLP)
organization coming out of the left wing of the PFLP
of George Habash from
which Nayef Hawatmah
split in February 1969, creating the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation
of Palestine (PDFLP) which later became the DFLP in August 1974.
Although the DFLP adopted an attitude similar
to that of the PFLP in 1969-70 in Jordan,
at the political level the differences were greater. As of 1969, the PDFLP
denounced jingoist slogans such as "drive the Jews into the sea"
and began a dialogue with the Israeli extreme left the following year.
Finally in 1973 it became, together with Fatah
and the Palestinian communists, one of the most adamant advocates of a
Palestinian state and of a "two states solution" as a provisional step.
On March 22, 1974, Hawatmah gave an interview to the Israeli paper Yedioth
Aharonoth saying he believed it would be useful if all factions of Israeli
society became aware of the Arab revolutionary position in the Arab-Israeli
conflict. He called for dialogue between progressive forces from both sides.
In 1977 the DFLP took a distance from Fatah
as it reproached it of compromising too much with Arab reactionaries. Hawatmah
tried to find a midway position between Arafat and his opponents. He refused
to join the Palestinian dissidents in Damascus after the war in Lebanon
In spite of its support for a "two states
solution", the DFLP refused to attend the Madrid
conference in 1991.
The signature of the Oslo
agreement in 1993 marginalised the DFLP like most PLO
When Israel allowed the return of most
members of the PNC in
the Palestinian Territories in 1996, the DFLP moved part of its leadership
to the area. A reconciliation of the DFLP - together the PFLP - with Arafat
took place in Cairo in August 1999. The Fatah-DFLP statement published
at this occasion defines red lines regarding the status of Jerusalem,
the refugees and their right to return, and an independent Palestinian
state. Two major DFLP demands were also accepted: the PLO's role as highest
authority in charge of the final status negociations and a referendum before
the signature of the final deal with Israel. 
Marxist group that split from the PFLP
in 1969. Believes Palestinian national goals can be achieved only through
revolution of the masses. Opposes the Declaration of Principles (DOP) signed
in 1993. In early 1980s occupied political stance midway between Arafat
and the rejectionists. Split into two factions in 1991, one pro-Arafat
and another more hardline faction headed by Nayif Hawatmah (which has suspended
participation in the PLO). In the 1970s carried out numerous small
bombings and minor assaults and some more spectacular operations in Israel
and the occupied territories, concentrating on Israeli targets. Involved
only in border raids since 1988, but continues to oppose the Israel-PLO
peace agreement. Strength estimated at 500 (total for both factions). Location/Area
of Operation in Syria, Lebanon, and the Israeli-occupied territories; attacks
have taken place entirely in Israel and the occupied territories.
Receives financial and military aid from Syria and Libya. 
The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)
Abbreviation of Harakat Al-Mouqawama Al-(I)Slamia
(Islamic Resistance Movement). The word Hamas itself means enthusiasm,
exaltation, (more often in a religious sense). Hamas is the main Palestinian
fundamentalist political movement and has grown out of a network of old
religious associations and claims to be philosophically linked to the Muslim
Brothers whose influence developed in Gaza
under Egyptian rule and which was widely tolerated during the first years
of the Israeli occupation as an alternative to the PLO.
Its spiritual founding father, Sheikh Ahmed
Yassin, has been in jail in Israel since 1991. Created in Gaza in 1987,
Hamas gained influence thanks to the Palestinian insurrection, the Intifada,
in the Occupied Territories
and asserted itself as the direct rival of the "secular" PLO. Hamas does
not however question the role of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian
people at an international level. The movement has left its mark on Palestinian
social life through the creation of hospitals, schools, control of mosques,
etc... The management of these institutions is carried out today by the
National Authority (PNA).
In December 1987, after the outbreak of
the Intifada, a "United Intifada Command" was set up comprising one third
of Hamas representatives and two thirds from the PLO. Hamas withdrew from
this Command in May 1988, pursuing its own struggle. In December 1992,
Israel deported 415 activists directly or indirectly linked to Hamas to
Hamas appears to be basically a nationalist
movement aiming at the total liberation of historical Palestine (which
includes Israel) and the creation of an Islamic state in Palestine. Opposed
to the Oslo Agreements (see "Oslo
peace process") signed between the PLO and Israel since September 1993,
it joined the "Alliance of Palestinian forces", an alliance of Palestinian
movements opposed to the peace process. The growing influence of Hamas
springs from frustrations caused by the failures of the peace process,
from the degradation of the image of the PLO-led PNA (undemocratic tendencies,
etc...) and from the attitude of the Israeli government (repeated closures
of the autonomous Palestinian territories, continuation of the colonisation,
etc...). Hamas boycotted the Palestinian elections of January 1996 in spite
of early rumours of participation.
Nominally controlled by Hamas, the Izz
al-Din al-Qassam Brigade is a nebula of small terrorist groups involved
in several deadly bombings in Israel since 1994. Since then, the Palestinian
National Authority has severely repressed Muslim fundamentalist circles
in the autonomous Palestinian territories.
However, there has always been a dialogue
between the PLO and Hamas. Several members of the political leadership
of Hamas would like to normalize the relations of their movement with the
Authority, thus turning it into a political party.
Today there are signs of a rift between
two tendencies within Hamas, one - based in Gaza - advocating dialogue
in the perspective of transforming Hamas into a political force respecting
the democratic process, the other - based in Amman - preferring violence.
HAMAS was formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth
of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various elements of
HAMAS have used both political and violent means, including terrorism,
to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place
of Israel. HAMAS is loosely structured, with some elements working openly
through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise
money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. Militant elements
of HAMAS, operating clandestinely, have advocated and used violence to
advance their goals. HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip
and a few areas of the West Bank. It also has engaged in peaceful political
activity, such as running candidates in West Bank Chamber of Commerce elections.
HAMAS activists, especially those in the Izz el-Din al-Qassem Forces, have
conducted many attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets, suspected
Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals. Strength unknown number of
hardcore members; tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers. Primarily
the occupied territories, Israel, and Jordan. Receives funding from Palestinian
expatriates, Iran, and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate
Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activity take place in Western
Europe and North America. 
The Party of God (Hizballah)
a.k.a.: Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice
Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and Islamic Jihad
for the Liberation of Palestine. Radical Shia group formed in Lebanon;
dedicated to creation of Iranian-style Islamic republic in Lebanon and
removal of all non-Islamic influences from area. Strongly anti-West and
anti-Israel. Closely allied with, and often directed by, Iran, but may
have conducted rogue operations that were not approved by Tehran. Known
or suspected to have been involved in numerous anti-US terrorist attacks,
including the suicide truck bombing of the US Embassy and US Marine barracks
in Beirut in October 1983 and the US Embassy annex in Beirut in September
1984. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping and detention
of US and other Western hostages in Lebanon. The group also attacked the
Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992. Strength of
several thousand. Operates in the Bekaa
Valley, the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon. Has established
cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and elsewhere.
Receives substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives,
political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran. 
Abu Nidal organization (ANO)
a.k.a.: Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab
Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, and
Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims. International terrorist
organization led by Sabri al-Banna. Split from PLO in 1974. Made up of
various functional committees, including political, military, and financial.
Has carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring
almost 900 persons. Targets include the United States, the United Kingdom,
France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries.
Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, the
Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi
in September 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in July
1988 in Greece. Suspected of assassinating PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad and
PLO security chief Abu Hul in Tunis in January 1991. ANO assassinated a
Jordanian diplomat in Lebanon in January 1994 and has been linked to the
killing of the PLO representative there. Has not attacked Western targets
since the late 1980s. Strength of several hundred plus militia in Lebanon
and overseas support structure. Currently headquartered in Libya with a
presence in Lebanon in the Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley) and also several Palestinian
refugee camps in coastal areas of Lebanon. Also has a presence in Sudan.
Has demonstrated ability to operate over wide area, including the Middle
East, Asia, and Europe. Has received considerable support, including safehaven,
training, logistic assistance, and financial aid from Iraq and Syria (until
1987); continues to receive aid from Libya, in addition to close support
for selected operations.
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Islamic extremist group operating in the southern
Philippines led by Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani. Split from the Moro National
Liberation Front in 1991. Uses bombs, assassinations, kidnappings for ransom,
and extortion payments from companies and businessmen in its efforts to
promote an Iranian-style Islamic state in Mindanao, an island in the southern
Philippines heavily populated by Muslims. Staged a raid on the town of
Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995, the group's first large-scale action. Strength
of about 200 members, mostly younger Muslims, many of whom have studied
or worked in the Gulf states, where they were exposed to radical Islamic
ideology. The ASG operates in the southern Philippines, and occasionally
in Manila. Probably has ties to Islamic extremists in the Middle East.
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
An Islamic extremist group, the GIA aims to
overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with an Islamic state.
The GIA began its violent activities in early 1992 after Algiers voided
the victory of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)--the largest Islamic party--in
the first round of December 1991 legislative elections. Frequent attacks
against regime targets--particularly security personnel and government
officials--civilians, journalists, teachers, and foreign residents. Since
announcing its terrorist campaign against foreigners living in Algeria
in September 1993, the GIA has killed about 100 expatriate men and women--mostly
Europeans--in the country. The GIA uses assassinations and bombings, including
car bombs, and it is known to favor kidnapping victims and slitting their
throats. The GIA hijacked an Air France flight to Algiers in December 1994,
and suspicions centered on the group for a series of bombings in France
in 1995 and one there in late 1996. Strength unknown, probably several
hundred to several thousand. Location/Area of Operation in Algeria.
Algerian expatriates, many of whom reside in Western Europe, provide some
financial and logistic support. In addition, the Algerian Government has
accused Iran and Sudan of supporting Algerian extremists, and severed diplomatic
relations with Iran in March 1993. 
Last year, at least 2,700 people lost their
lives in the conflict, which has raged for nine years. The GIA, which has
stepped up its insurgency after several months of relative calm, has rejected
peace overtures from President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and vowed to pursue
fighting. The GIA is known for its brutal terrorist methods, slitting the
throats of its victims, often whole families including women and children.
It is latest attack (12 Feb, 2001) at least 26 unarmed civilians were killed
in a new massacre - the biggest single attack so far this year. Eleven
of those killed were children, with at least one victim only six months
old. The atrocity happened on Saturday night in a shanty town near Berrouaghia,
60 miles south of the capital, Algiers. The civil war broke out in 1992
after the army-backed authorities canceled an election part of the way
through, which the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was poised to win. The
conflict has claimed more than 100,000 lives. [BBC]
Al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)
An indigenous Egyptian Islamic extremist group
active since the late 1970s; appears to be loosely organized with no single
readily identifiable operational leader. Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman is the
preeminent spiritual leader. Goal is to overthrow the government of President
Hosni Mubarak and replace it with an Islamic state. Armed attacks
against Egyptian security and other government officials, Coptic Christians,
and Egyptian opponents of Islamic extremism. The group also has launched
attacks on tourists in Egypt since 1992. Al-Gama'at claimed responsibility
for the attempt in June 1995 to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Strength not known, but probably several thousand
hardcore members and another several thousand sympathizers. Operates mainly
in the Al Minya, Asyut, and Qina Governorates of southern Egypt. It also
appears to have support in Cairo, Alexandria, and other urban locations,
particularly among unemployed graduates and students. External Aid
not known. Egyptian Government believes
that Iran, Sudan, and Afghan militant Islamic groups support the group.
The Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA)
HUA, an Islamic militant group that seeks
Kashmir's accession to Pakistan, was formed in October 1993 when two Pakistani
political activist groups, Harakat ul-Jihad al-Islami and Harakat ul-Mujahedin,
merged. According to the leader of the alliance, Maulana Saadatullah Khan,
the group's objective is to continue the armed struggle against nonbelievers
and anti-Islamic forces. Has carried out a number of operations against
Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. The HUA also supports Muslims
in Indian-controlled Kashmir with humanitarian and military assistance.
It has been linked to the Kashmiri militant group Al-Faran that has held
four Western hostages in Kashmir since July 1995. There is no evidence
that HUA ordered the kidnapping. The Harakat ul-Ansar has several thousand
armed members located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in the southern Kashmir
and the Doda regions of India. The HUA uses light and heavy machineguns,
assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets. Membership is open to
all who support the HUA's objectives and are willing to take the group's
40-day training course. It has a core militant group of about 300, mostly
Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but includes Afghans and Arab veterans of the
Afghan war. The HUA is based in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, but HUA members
have participated in insurgent and terrorist operations in Kashmir, Burma,
Tajikistan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The HUA is actively involved in
supporting Muslims in Indian-controlled Kashmir with humanitarian and military
assistance. The HUA's Burma branch, located in the Arakan Mountains, trains
local Muslims in weapons handling and guerrilla warfare. In Tajikistan,
HUA members have served with and trained Tajik resistance elements. The
first group of Harakat militants entered Bosnia in 1992. The HUA collects
donations from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Islamic states to purchase
relief supplies, which it distributes to Muslims in Tajikistan, Kashmir,
and Burma. The source and amount of HUA's military funding are unknown
but are believed to come from sympathetic Arab countries and wealthy Pakistanis
and Kashmiris. 
Jamaat ul-Fuqra is an Islamic sect that seeks
to purify Islam through violence. Fuqra is led by Pakistani cleric Shaykh
Mubarik Ali Gilani, who established the organization in the early 1980s.
Gilani now resides in Pakistan, but most Fuqra cells are located in North
America. Fuqra members have purchased isolated rural compounds in North
America to live communally, practice their faith, and insulate themselves
from Western culture. Fuqra members have attacked a variety of targets
that they view as enemies of Islam, including Muslims they regard as heretics
and Hindus. Attacks during the 1980s included assassinations and firebombings
across the United States. Fuqra members in the United States have been
convicted of criminal violations, including murder and fraud. Strength
Unknown. Location/Area of Operation North America, Pakistan.
a.k.a.: Jihad Group, Vanguards of Conquest,
Talaa' al-Fateh, International Justice Group, World Justice Group An Egyptian
Islamic extremist group active since the late 1970s; appears to be divided
into at least two separate factions: remnants of the original Jihad led
by Abbud al-Zumar, currently imprisoned in Egypt, and a faction calling
itself Vanguards of Conquest (Talaa' al-Fateh). The Vanguards of Conquest
appears to be led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is currently outside Egypt;
his specific whereabouts are unknown. Like al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, the
Jihad factions regard Sheikh Umar Abd-al Rahman as their spiritual leader.
The goal of all Jihad factions is to overthrow the government of President
Hosni Mubarak and replace it with an Islamic state. Specializes in armed
attacks against high-level Egyptian Government officials. The original
Jihad was responsible for the assassination in 1981 of President Anwar
Sadat. Unlike al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, which mainly targets mid- and lower-level
security personnel, Coptic Christians, and Western tourists, al-Jihad appears
to concentrate primarily on high-level, high-profile Egyptian Government
officials, including cabinet ministers. Claimed responsibility for the
attempted assassinations of Interior Minister Hassan al-Alfi in August
1993 and Prime Minister Atef Sedky in November 1993. Strength not known,
but probably several thousand hardcore members and another several thousand
sympathizers among the various factions. Operates mainly in the Cairo area.
Also appears to have members outside Egypt, probably in Afghanistan, Pakistan,
and Sudan. External Aid
Not known. The Egyptian Government claims
that Iran, Sudan, and militant Islamic groups in Afghanistan support the
The Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
The PIJ, which originated among militant Palestinians
in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s, is a series of loosely affiliated factions
rather than a cohesive group. The PIJ is committed to the creation of an
Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through holy war.
Because of its strong support for Israel, the United States has been identified
as an enemy of the PIJ. The PIJ also opposes moderate Arab governments
that it believes have been tainted by Western secularism. PIJ militants
have threatened to retaliate against Israel and the United States for the
murder of PIJ leader Fathi Shaqaqi in Malta in October 1995. It has carried
out suicide bombing attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank, Gaza
Strip, and Israel. The PIJ has threatened to attack US interests in Jordan.
Strength Unknown. Location/Area of Operation Primarily Israel and the occupied
territories and other parts of the Middle East, including Jordan and Lebanon.
The largest faction is based in Syria. Probably receives financial assistance
from Iran and possibly some assistance from Syria.
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
Terrorist group that broke away from the PFLP-GC
in mid-1970s. Later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan
factions. Pro-PLO faction led by Muhammad Abbas (Abu Abbas), who became
member of PLO Executive Committee in 1984 but left it in 1991. The Abu
Abbas-led faction has carried out attacks against Israel. Abbas's group
was also responsible for the attack in 1985 on the cruise ship Achille
Lauro and the murder of US citizen Leon Klinghoffer. A warrant for Abu
Abbas's arrest is outstanding in Italy. Strength At least 50. Location/Area
of Operation PLO faction based in Tunisia until Achille Lauro attack. Now
based in Iraq. Receives logistic and military support mainly from PLO,
but also from Libya and Iraq.
Note that the various emblems above of
the Palestinian terror groups all show maps of Palestine which include
all of current-day Israel. The fact that these emblems are still used by
those groups who claim to support the peace process with Israel raises
the concern that the current process is just part of the phased
plan for the destruction of Israel.
Regarding Israel's Security (IRIS): The "Who's Who" of Terror Groups
Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation.
State Department: Background Information on Terrorist Groups
Politics and the Mainstream of the Palestinian Movement (pro-Arab view)
This page was produced by Joseph
Middle Eastern Political and Religious
Brooklyn, New York
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