Details of Some Terror List Groups

The Associated Press
Sept. 25, 2001


AL-QAIDA

The name of Osama bin Laden's group means "the base." Founded in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, it is one of the two main members of the International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusades, an alliance established in 1998 bent on killing Americans and destroying U.S. interests around the world. Experts say al-Qaida is a loose network of small cells working independently – with few ties that could be used by investigators to build trails of evidence. Militants who share his hatred of the West turn to bin Laden for money, training and contacts with those who can supply expertise ranging from bomb-making to logistics.

ABU SAYYAF GROUP

Philippine military says this group has links to bin Laden. Abu Sayyaf members say they are fighting for Muslim independence in the southern region of the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines. The government regards them as mere bandits. Among their tactics is taking hostages; several Americans have been among their victims.

ARMED ISLAMIC GROUP

Algerian group with ties to bin Laden. In an operation similar to the Sept. 11 attacks, it hijacked an Air France plane on Christmas Eve 1994, claiming it wanted to blow it up over Paris. The plane got as far as an airport in Marseilles, where it was stormed and its passengers freed. Three people were killed.

HARAKAT UL-MUJAHIDIN

Based in Pakistan, the group was previously called Harakat-ul Ansar – "movement of helpers." It changed its name to Harakat ul-Mujahidin – "movement of holy warriors" – after the United States declared it a terrorist organization. They are one of the bigger groups fighting in Indian Kashmir. Their leadership was trained in Afghanistan, fought during the Soviet invasion and have very close links to the Taliban.

EGYPTIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD

Also known as Al-Jihad – holy war – or the Egyptian Jihad. Second main partner in bin Laden's International Front. Leader Ayman Al-Zawahri's decision to join the International Front led to a split within Islamic Jihad; other Egyptian militants feared taking on the United States. The group was behind the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF UZBEKISTAN

Seeks to install an Islamic fundamentalist regime in Uzbekistan, a neighbor of Afghanistan, which is ruled by the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban. Washington wants the current secular, authoritarian government of Uzbekistan as an ally against the Taliban. It was placed on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations in September 2000 after the kidnapping of four American mountain climbers in Kyrgystan one month earlier. The Uzbek government alleges that the group was behind a series of bombings in the capital Tashkent in 1999 supposedly targeting President Islam Karimov. There have been reports in Kabul that bin Laden has named the group's leader, Juma Namangani, his deputy head of military operations. Uzbeks are frequently seen in Kabul. It's not clear how many are in Afghanistan fighting with the Taliban but estimates put it at several hundred. Namangani is believed to have a home in Kabul.

ASBAT AL-ANSAR

Name means "group of supporters" or "group of helpers." Headed by Ahmed Abdel-Karim al-Saadi, also known as Abou Mohjen, a Palestinian fundamentalist sentenced to death in Lebanon and believed to be hiding in a Palestinian refugee camp that is notoriously lawless and off-limits to Lebanese security forces. The group is not known for having an international reach. Al-Saadi was sentenced in absentia for the 1995 assassination of a Muslim cleric in Beirut. He is also accused of bombing religious sites and liquor stores between 1994 and 1995. Last year, a man described as an aide to al-Saadi fired four grenades and sprayed automatic gunfire on the Russian Embassy in Beirut, killing a Lebanese policeman and injuring several passers-by before being shot and killed by security forces. Members in recent years reportedly believed that defending the Muslims of Chechnya is a religious duty and anyone who killed a Russian would become a martyr and enter heaven.

SALAFIST GROUP FOR CALL AND COMBAT

Especially active in Algeria. Led by notorious rebel Hassan Hattab. Dissident faction of the Armed Islamic Group, Algeria's most radical insurgency movement.

LIBYAN ISLAMIC FIGHTING GROUP

Little-known fundamentalist group which claimed responsibility for 1996 assassination attempt against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. By all accounts Gadhafi has since crushed the militants.

AL-ITIHAAD AL-ISLAMIYA (AIAI)

Means "The Islamic Union." Said to be active in Ethiopia, seeking independence and Islamic rule for Ogaden, a region of eastern Ethiopia predominantly inhabited by ethnic Somalis.

ISLAMIC ARMY OF ADEN

Yemeni authorities say communiques from abroad have been signed with this name, but no militant activities have been linked to this group. In June, nine people believed to be affiliated with the group were arrested in Yemen after allegedly being found with hand grenades, small arms and documents that included a map of the U.S. Embassy in San'a, Yemen's capital.

It is unclear whether the group is linked to the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, the best known of a number of groups that emerged from Yemen and other Arab fighters who, like bin Laden, had helped the Afghans oust Soviet invaders in 1989. Bin Laden's father was born in Yemen, and many of the Afghan Arabs from Yemen were believed to have been recruited by him.

OSAMA BIN LADEN

Bin Laden's money and commitment brought him to prominence in Afghanistan when thousands of Arabs came to help their fellow Muslims drive out Soviet invaders. When the Soviets retreated in 1989, Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia, where his family runs a wealthy construction company.

Once home, he clashed with the Saudi monarchy over its decision to invite American troops into Saudi Arabia, the site of Islam's two holiest places, Mecca and Medina. Bin Laden's rage at the presence of "infidel" troops on holy land, as well as his conviction Washington sides with Israel against the Palestinians, fuels his terror war with the United States.

U.S. officials say he is the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. He also is accused in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

MUHAMMAD ATIF

An Egyptian also known as Subhi Abu Sitta and Abu Hafs Al Masri. He is commander of the military wing of the International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusades, known as the Islamic Army for the Liberation of Holy Sites, which claimed responsibility for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. One of Sitta's daughters married a son of bin Laden. Sitta succeeded another Egyptian, Ali al-Rashidi, who drowned in Uganda's Lake Victoria in 1995, two years after he was sent to Africa to recruit members for al-Qaida.

SAYF AL-ADL

Believed to be low-ranking member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

SHAYKH SAIID

Also known as Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad. Was in charge of bin Laden's financial affairs in Sudan and moved with him to Saudi Arabia.

ABU ZUBAYDAH

Also known as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn and Tariq. Identified by Jordanian counterterrorism officials as a Palestinian who carries an Egyptian travel document and is believed to be living in Pakistan or Afghanistan. He is allegedly a senior aide to bin Laden and responsible for recruiting in al-Qaida. A Jordanian military court found him guilty in absentia of conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets during millennium celebrations in Jordan. He was sentenced to death in absentia in September 2000.

AYMAN AL-ZAWAHRI

Leader of the Egyptian Jihad and bin Laden's top lieutenant. While bin Laden provides the money and charisma, al-Zawahri is the experienced ideologue. He is blamed for the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and a series of attempts to kill other Egyptian leaders. Al-Zawahri's decision to join the International Front led to a split within Jihad; other Egyptian militants feared taking on the United States.

THIRWAT SALAH SHIHATA

The No. 2 to al-Zawahri in Egyptian Jihad. Sentenced to death in absentia twice in Egypt, once in 1991 in assassination attempt against prime minister and once in 1998 for Jihad activities.

TARIQ ANWAR AL-SAYYID AHMAD

Also known as Fathi, Amr al-Fati. High-ranking Egyptian Jihad member. Sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt in 1998 case against several Jihad members.

MUHAMMAD SALAH

Also Nasr Fahmi Nasr Hasanayn. High ranking Egyptian Jihad member, sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt in 1998 case against several Jihad members.

MAKHTAB AL-KHIDAMAT/AL KIFAH

Means: "The services office/the struggle." The group recruited fighters during the Afghan war against the Soviets.

WAFA HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION

A Saudi organization whose operations include food distribution and construction of a clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan. This group was active in Bosnia during its 1992-1995 war.

AL RASHID TRUST

Pakistan-based charity begun by Islamists who espouse the same brand of Islam as the Taliban. They operate in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province and over the last year expanded into Afghanistan, opening scores of bakeries to feed the poor. They also have built at least a dozen mosques along the road from Kandahar to Kabul and on the road from Kabul to the Pakistani border town of Torkham. When the Taliban clashed with the World Food Program over WFP's desire to better regulate its bakeries, the Al Rashid Trust took over during a brief shutdown by the WFP.


Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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4 oct 2001