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Militant Palestinian & Islamic Organizations

"Hisb-el-qaumi-el-suri" (PPS)

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 "Palestinians")

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 Nazism."

Fedayeen movements 1960s and 1970s

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 radicalism. [4].

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

PLO Logo 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 Israel.

Since 1969, the PLO has been run by Chairman Yasser Arafat and his militant terrorist group, Fatah.[1]

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 of Arafat.
  • 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 62 more.

  • 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 82 more. 
The PLO was created in Jerusalem in 1964, following a decision of the League 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.

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 Egypt and Syria one one hand and the success of the struggle for national liberation in Algeria 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.[2]

The Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine (Fatah)

Note 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 civilians.

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 civilian targets.

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 Yasser Arafat.

"Fatah" is a reverse acronym of the Arabic, Harekat at-Tahrir al-Wataniyyeh al-Falastiniyyeh. The word "Fatah" means "conquest by means of jihad [Islamic holy war]".[1]

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 PLO 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: Farouq Qaddumi.

For some other information go to Fatah official website [2]

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

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 in Jordan.

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. [2]

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. [3]

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command (PFLP-GC)

The 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. [2]

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. [3]

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)

Palestinian 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 1982.

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 factions.

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. [2]

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. [3]

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 Palestinian 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 south Lebanon.

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. [2]

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. [3]

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. [3]

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.[3]

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. [3]

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. [3]

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. [3]

Jamaat ul-Fuqra

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 Jihad factions.

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.

[1] Information Regarding Israel's Security (IRIS): The "Who's Who" of Terror Groups
[2] European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation.
[3] U.S. State Department: Background Information on Terrorist Groups
[4] Inter-Arab Politics and the Mainstream of the Palestinian Movement (pro-Arab view)

This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst 
Brooklyn, New York 
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