The Bureau of Counterterrorism in the State Department (CT) continually monitors the activities of terrorist groups active around the world to identify potential targets for designation. When reviewing potential targets, CT looks not only at the actual terrorist attacks that a group has carried out, but also at whether the group has engaged in planning and preparations for possible future acts of terrorism or retains the capability and intent to carry out such acts.
Once a target is identified, CT prepares a detailed “administrative record,” which is a compilation of information, typically including both classified and open sources information, demonstrating that the statutory criteria for designation have been satisfied. If the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, decides to make the designation, Congress is notified of the Secretary’s intent to designate the organization and given seven days to review the designation, as the INA requires. Upon the expiration of the seven-day waiting period and in the absence of Congressional action to block the designation, notice of the designation is published in the Federal Register, at which point the designation takes effect. By law an organization designated as an FTO may seek judicial review of the designation in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit not later than 30 days after the designation is published in the Federal Register.
Until recently the INA provided that FTOs must be redesignated every 2 years or the designation would lapse. Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), however, the redesignation requirement was replaced by certain review and revocation procedures. IRTPA provides that an FTO may file a petition for revocation 2 years after its designation date (or in the case of redesignated FTOs, its most recent redesignation date) or 2 years after the determination date on its most recent petition for revocation. In order to provide a basis for revocation, the petitioning FTO must provide evidence that the circumstances forming the basis for the designation are sufficiently different as to warrant revocation. If no such review has been conducted during a 5 year period with respect to a designation, then the Secretary of State is required to review the designation to determine whether revocation would be appropriate. In addition, the Secretary of State may at any time revoke a designation upon a finding that the circumstances forming the basis for the designation have changed in such a manner as to warrant revocation, or that the national security of the United States warrants a revocation. The same procedural requirements apply to revocations made by the Secretary of State as apply to designations. A designation may be revoked by an Act of Congress, or set aside by a Court order.
Legal Criteria for Designation under Section 219 of the INA as amended
- It must be a foreign organization.
- The organization must engage in terrorist activity, as defined in section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)),* or terrorism, as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C. § 2656f(d)(2)),** or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism.
- The organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.
Legal Ramifications of Designation
- It is unlawful for a person in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to a designated FTO. (The term “material support or resources” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(1) as ” any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who maybe or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(2) provides that for these purposes “the term ‘training’ means instruction or teaching designed to impart a specific skill, as opposed to general knowledge.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(3) further provides that for these purposes the term ‘expert advice or assistance’ means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge.’’
- Representatives and members of a designated FTO, if they are aliens, are inadmissible to and, in certain circumstances, removable from the United States (see 8 U.S.C. §§ 1182 (a)(3)(B)(i)(IV)-(V), 1227 (a)(1)(A)).
- Any U.S. financial institution that becomes aware that it has possession of or control over funds in which a designated FTO or its agent has an interest must retain possession of or control over the funds and report the funds to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Other Effects of Designation
- Supports our efforts to curb terrorism financing and to encourage other nations to do the same.
- Stigmatizes and isolates designated terrorist organizations internationally.
- Deters donations or contributions to and economic transactions with named organizations.
- Heightens public awareness and knowledge of terrorist organizations.
- Signals to other governments our concern about named organizations.
Revocations of Foreign Terrorist Organizations
The Immigration and Nationality Act sets out three possible basis for revoking a Foreign Terrorist Organization designation:
- The Secretary of State must revoke a designation if the Secretary finds that the circumstances that were the basis of the designation have changed in such a manner as to warrant a revocation;
- The Secretary of State must revoke a designation if the Secretary finds that the national security of the United States warrants a revocation;
- The Secretary of State may revoke a designation at any time.
Any revocation shall take effect on the date specified in the revocation or upon publication in the Federal Register if no effective date is specified. The revocation of a designation shall not affect any action or proceeding based on conduct committed prior to the effective date of such revocation.
U.S. Government Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
|Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)|
|Aum Shinrikyo (AUM)|
|Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)|
|Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group – IG)|
|Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)|
|Kahane Chai (Kach)|
|Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK, aka Kongra-Gel)|
|Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)|
|National Liberation Army (ELN)|
|Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)|
|Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)|
|Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)|
|PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC)|
|Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)|
|Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)|
|Shining Path (SL)|
|Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)|
|Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)|
|Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT)|
|Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB)|
|Asbat al-Ansar (AAA)|
|al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)|
|Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA)|
|Jemaah Islamiya (JI)|
|Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)|
|Ansar al-Islam (AAI)|
|Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)|
|Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (formerly al-Qa’ida in Iraq)|
|Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)|
|Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)|
|Revolutionary Struggle (RS)|
|Kata’ib Hizballah (KH)|
|al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)|
|Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI)|
|Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)|
Jaysh al-Adl (formerly Jundallah)
|Army of Islam (AOI)|
|Indian Mujahedeen (IM)|
|Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT)|
|Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB)|
|Haqqani Network (HQN)|
|Ansar al-Dine (AAD)|
|al-Mulathamun Battalion (AMB)|
|Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi|
|Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah|
|Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia|
|ISIL Sinai Province (formerly Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis)|
|Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC)|
|Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al Naqshabandi (JRTN)|
|Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s Branch in Libya (ISIL-Libya)|
|Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent|
|Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)|
|al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB)|
|Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM)|
|Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)|
|Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH)|
Also known as (aka) Abdullah Azzam Brigades; Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades; Yusuf al-‘Uyayri Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades; Marwan Hadid Brigades; Marwan Hadid Brigade.
Description: Designated as a FTO on May 30, 2012, the Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB) formally announced its establishment in a July 2009 video statement claiming responsibility for a February 2009 rocket attack against Israel. The Lebanon-based group’s full name is Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, named after Lebanese citizen Ziad al Jarrah, one of the planners of and participants in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Activities: After its initial formation, AAB relied primarily on rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. It is responsible for numerous rocket attacks fired into Israeli territory from Lebanon targeting – among other things – population centers.
In November 2013, AAB began targeting Hizballah. AAB claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 23 people and wounded more than 140. The group warned it would carry out more attacks if Hizballah did not stop sending fighters to Syria in support of Syrian government forces.
In February 2014, AAB again attacked Hizballah for its involvement in the Syrian conflict, claiming a twin suicide bomb attack against the Iranian cultural center in Beirut, which killed four people. AAB was also believed to be responsible for a series of bombings in Hizballah- controlled areas around Beirut. AAB was also blamed for a suicide bombing in June 2014 in the Beirut neighborhood of Tayyouneh, which killed a security officer and wounded 25 people.
In June 2015, the group released photos of a training camp for its “Marwan Hadid Brigade” camp in Syria, likely located in Homs province. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, AAB continued its involvement in the Syrian conflict and was active in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilwah refugee camp. In December 2017, AAB called for violent jihad by Muslims against the United States and Israel after the U.S. announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. There were no attacks claimed by AAB in 2018.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: AAB is based in Lebanon but operates in both Lebanon and Syria.
Funding and External Aid: Unknown.
Aka al Harakat al Islamiyya (the Islamic Movement).
Description: The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. The ASG split from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the early 1990s and is one of the most violent terrorist groups in the Philippines. The group claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.
Activities: The ASG has committed kidnappings-for-ransom, bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion.
Throughout 2015, the ASG was responsible for multiple attacks, kidnappings, and the killing of hostages. In September 2016, the ASG abducted two Canadians, a Norwegian, and a Philippine woman from a resort on Samal Island. The ASG set ransom at US $60 million. The ASG beheaded the two Canadian citizens later that year, and in early 2017, the ASG beheaded a German citizen when ransom deadlines were not met. The group continued its kidnapping-for-ransom operations in 2017, after collecting approximately US $7.3 million during the first six months of 2016. In August 2017, ASG members killed nine people and injured others in an attack on Basilan Island.
In July 2018, ASG detonated a car bomb at a military checkpoint on Basilan Island that killed 10, including a Philippines soldier and pro-government militiamen. In late December, the group was suspected of kidnapping three men from a fishing vessel operating in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and was also suspected of a September 11 attack on another fishing vessel operating in the same area, indicating ASG remains committed to piracy and armed robbery in the Southern Philippines maritime area.
Strength: The ASG is estimated to have 400 members.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is located mainly in the Philippine provinces of the Sulu Archipelago – namely Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and Mindanao – but has also conducted cross-border operations into eastern Malaysia.
Funding and External Aid: The ASG is funded primarily through kidnapping-for-ransom operations and extortion. It may receive funding from external sources, including remittances from overseas Philippine workers and Middle East-based sympathizers. In the past, the ASG has also received training and other assistance from regional terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiya.
Aka al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion.
Description: Designated as a FTO on March 27, 2002, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB) is composed of small cells of Fatah-affiliated activists that emerged at the outset of the al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000. AAMB strives to drive the Israeli military and West Bank settlers from the West Bank to establish a Palestinian state loyal to Fatah.
Activities: During the 2000 Intifada, AAMB carried out primarily small-arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers. By 2002, the group was striking Israeli civilians inside Israel. In January 2002, AAMB claimed responsibility for the first female suicide bombing in Israel. In 2010 and 2011, the group launched numerous rocket attacks on Israeli communities. In addition, in November 2012, AAMB claimed it had fired more than 500 rockets and missiles into Israel during an Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza.
In 2015, AAMB declared an open war against Israel and asked Iran for funds to help it in its fight against Israel in a televised broadcast. In the same broadcast, an AAMB fighter displayed a new two-mile tunnel crossing the border beneath Gaza and Israel, which the leader claimed would be used in the next rounds of battle. Throughout 2015, AAMB continued attacking Israeli soldiers and civilians.
In March 2016, armed confrontation in Nablus between Palestinian youths and Palestinian security officials broke out following the arrest of an AAMB associate on charges of murder; seven youths and six Palestinian security officials were injured in the unrest. AAMB claimed responsibility for two rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in March 2017 and six rockets in June 2018, although the rockets did not cause any casualties.
Strength: The group is estimated to have a few hundred members.
Location/Area of Operation: Most of AAMB’s operational activity is in Gaza, but it has also planned and conducted attacks inside Israel and the West Bank. AAMB has members in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Funding and External Aid: Iran has provided AAMB with funds and guidance, mostly through Hizballah facilitators.
Aka Saraya al-Ashtar.
Description: Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) was designated as a FTO on July 11, 2018. AAB is an Iran-backed terrorist organization established in 2013 with an aim to overthrow the ruling family in Bahrain through violent militant operations. In January 2018, AAB formally adopted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps branding and reaffirmed its loyalty to Tehran to reflect its role in an Iranian network of state and non-state actors that operates against the United States and its allies in the region.
Activities: In March 2014, AAB conducted a bomb attack that killed two local police officers and an officer from the United Arab Emirates. In January 2017, AAB shot and killed a local police officer. Using social media, AAB also promotes violent activity against the British, Saudi Arabian, and U.S. governments. Since 2013, AAB has claimed responsibility for more than 20 terrorist attacks against police and security targets in Bahrain.
Strength: The size of AAB is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is located in Bahrain.
Funding and External Aid: AAB receives funding and support from the Government of Iran.
Aka Ansar Dine; Ansar al-Din; Ancar Dine; Ansar ul-Din; Ansar Eddine; Defenders of the Faith.
Description: The Mali-based group Ansar al-Dine (AAD) was designated as a FTO on March 22, 2013. AAD was created in late 2011 after AAD’s leader Iyad ag Ghali failed in his attempt to take over another secular Tuareg organization. Following the March 2012 coup that toppled the Malian government, AAD was among the organizations (which also included al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM] and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa) to take over northern Mali, destroy UNESCO World Heritage sites, and enforce a severe interpretation of Sharia law upon the civilian population living in the areas under its control.
Beginning in January 2013, French and allied African forces conducted operations in northern Mali to counter AAD and other terrorist groups, eventually forcing AAD and its allies out of the population centers they had seized. Ghali, however, remained free and appeared in AAD videos in 2015 and 2016 threatening France and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
In September 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted AAD leader Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi of the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu in 2012. In September 2017, the ICC ordered al-Mahdi to pay more than US $3 million in reparations for his part in the group’s 2012 destruction of the Timbuktu World Heritage site.
In 2017, the Sahara Branch of AQIM, AAD, al-Murabitoun, and the Macina Liberation Front came together to form Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM).
Activities: In early 2012, AAD received backing from AQIM in its fight against the Government of Mali, including for its capture of the Malian towns of Agulhok, Gao, Kidal, Tessalit, and Timbuktu. In March 2013, AAD members were reportedly among the Tuareg rebels responsible for killing 82 Malian soldiers and kidnapping 30 others in an attack against Agulhok. Before the French intervention in January 2013, Malian citizens in towns under AAD’s control who refused to comply with AAD’s laws allegedly faced harassment, torture, and death.
AAD was severely weakened by the 2013 French intervention, but increased its activities in 2015 and 2016. In 2016, AAD claimed responsibility for attacks targeting the Malian army and MINUSMA. In July 2016, AAD attacked an army base, leaving 17 soldiers dead and six missing, and in the following month the group claimed three attacks: two IED attacks on French forces and a rocket or mortar attack on a joint UN-French base near Tessalit. In October and November of 2016, AAD claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on UN and French forces. In February 2017, AAD claimed responsibility for an attack on the Malian Gendarmerie in Tenenkou, Mali. AAD did not claim any attacks in 2018.
Strength: The group’s exact membership numbers were unknown at the end of 2018.
Location/Area of Operation: AAD is active in Mali and has also threatened to attack Mauritania and the Ivory Coast.
Funding and External Aid: AAD cooperates closely with and has received support from AQIM since its inception. AAD is also said to receive funds from foreign donors and through smuggling.
Aka Ansar al-Sunna; Ansar al-Sunna Army; Devotees of Islam; Followers of Islam in Kurdistan; Helpers of Islam; Jaish Ansar al-Sunna; Jund al-Islam; Kurdish Taliban; Kurdistan Supporters of Islam; Partisans of Islam; Soldiers of God; Soldiers of Islam; Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan.
Description: Ansar al-Islam (AAI) was designated as a FTO on March 22, 2004. AAI was established in 2001 in the Iraqi Kurdistan region with the merger of two Kurdish terrorist factions that traced their roots to the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. On May 4, 2010, AAI’s leader Abu Abdullah al-Shafi’i was captured by U.S. forces in Baghdad; he remained in prison at the end of 2018. On December 15, 2011, AAI announced a new leader: Abu Hashim Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman al Ibrahim. AAI seeks to expel western interests from Iraq and establish an independent Iraqi state based on its interpretation of Sharia law.
Activities: AAI conducted attacks against a wide range of targets including Iraqi government and security forces, and U.S. and Coalition forces from 2003 to 2011. AAI also carried out numerous kidnappings, murders, and assassinations of Iraqi citizens and politicians. In 2012, the group claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Sons of Martyrs School in Damascus, which was occupied by Syrian security forces and progovernment militias; seven people were wounded in the attack.
During summer 2014, part of AAI issued a statement pledging allegiance to ISIS, although later reports suggest that a faction of AAI opposed joining ISIS.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: AAI is active primarily in northern Iraq, but also maintains a presence in western Iraq and in central Iraq. Since 2011, AAI has operated in Syria.
Funding and External Aid: AAI receives assistance from a loose network of associates in Europe and the Middle East.
Aka Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar al-Shariah Brigade; Ansar al-Shari’a Brigade; Katibat Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi; Ansar al-Shariah-Benghazi; Al-Raya Establishment for Media Production; Ansar al-Sharia; Soldiers of the Sharia; Ansar al-Shariah; Supporters of Islamic Law.
Description: Designated as a FTO on January 13, 2014, Ansar alShari’a in Benghazi (AAS-B) was created after the 2011 fall of the Qadhafi regime in Libya. It has been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, and assassinations and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya.
Activities: Members of AAS-B were involved in the September 11, 2012, attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Four U.S. citizens were killed in the attack: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.
In 2016, AAS-B continued its fight against the “Libyan National Army” in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of both Libyan security forces and civilians. Additionally, AAS-B controlled several terrorist training camps in Libya and trained members of other terrorist organizations, some of which operate in Syria, Iraq, and Mali.
In May 2017, AAS-B announced its formal dissolution because of heavy losses, including the group’s senior leadership, as well as defections to ISIS in Libya. AAS-B claimed no attacks in 2018.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operated in Benghazi, Libya.
Funding and External Aid: AAS-B obtained funds from al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, charities, donations, and criminal activities.
Aka Supporters of Islamic Law; Ansar al-Sharia in Derna; Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar alSharia; Ansar al-Sharia Brigade in Darnah.
Description: Designated as a FTO on January 13, 2014, Ansar alShari’a in Darnah (AAS-D) was created after the 2011 fall of the Qadhafi regime in Libya. It has been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, and assassinations and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya.
Activities: Members of AAS-D were involved in the September 11, 2012, attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Four U.S. citizens were killed in the attack: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.
In 2013 and 2014, AAS-D is believed to have cooperated with Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi in multiple attacks and suicide bombings targeting Libyan security forces in Benghazi. In 2016, AAS-D continued its involvement in fighting in and around Darnah. In addition to its attacks, AAS-D maintained several terrorist training camps in Darnah and Jebel Akhdar, Libya, and has trained members of other terrorist organizations operating in Syria and Iraq.
In 2018, there were unconfirmed reports that AAS-D was involved in clashes with the “Libyan National Army.”
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operated in Darnah, Libya.
Funding and External Aid: The group’s sources of funding are unknown.
Aka Al-Qayrawan Media Foundation; Supporters of Islamic Law; Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia; Ansar al-Shari’ah; Ansar al-Shari’ah in Tunisia; Ansar al-Sharia.
Description: Designated as a FTO on January 13, 2014, Ansar alShari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T) was founded by Seif Allah Ben Hassine in early 2011. AAS-T has been implicated in attacks against Tunisian security forces, assassinations of Tunisian political figures, and attempted suicide bombings of locations frequented by tourists. AAS-T has also recruited youth in Tunisia to fight in Syria.
Activities: AAS-T was involved in the September 14, 2012, attack against the U.S. Embassy and American school in Tunis, which threatened the safety of more than 100 U.S. Embassy employees. In February and July 2013, AAS-T members were implicated in the assassination of Tunisian politicians, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.
Since 2016, Tunisian authorities have continued to confront and arrest AAS-T members. AAS-T did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018.
Strength: AAS-T’s size is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Tunisia and Libya.
Funding and External Aid: The group’s sources of funding are unknown.
Aka Jaysh al-Islam; Jaish al-Islam.
Description: Designated as a FTO on May 19, 2011, the Army of Islam (AOI), founded in late 2005, is a Gaza-based terrorist organization responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the Israeli and Egyptian governments and British, New Zealand, and U.S. citizens. The group, led by Mumtaz Dughmush, subscribes to a violent Salafist ideology.
Note: AOI is a separate and distinct group from the Syria-based Jaysh al-Islam, which is not a designated FTO.
Activities: AOI is responsible for several rocket attacks on Israel, and the 2006 and 2007 kidnappings of civilians, including a U.S. journalist. AOI also carried out the early 2009 attacks on Egyptian civilians in Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt, and planned the January 1, 2011, attack on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria that killed 25 and wounded 100. In November 2012, AOI announced that it had launched rocket attacks on Israel in a joint operation with the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem. In August 2013, an Israeli official reported that AOI leader Dughmush was running training camps in Gaza.
In September 2015, AOI reportedly released a statement pledging allegiance to ISIS. In a short post attributed to the group, AOI declared itself an inseparable part of ISIS-Sinai Province. Since then, AOI has continued to express support for ISIS. The group released a video in October 2017 in an effort to encourage ISIS fighters defending Mosul. AOI claimed responsibility for no attacks in 2018.
Strength: Membership is estimated in the low hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Egypt, Gaza, and Israel.
Funding and External Aid: AOI receives much of its funding from a variety of criminal activities in Gaza.
Aka AAA; Band of Helpers; Band of Partisans; League of Partisans; League of the Followers; God’s Partisans; Gathering of Supporters; Partisan’s League; Esbat al-Ansar; Isbat al-Ansar; Osbat al-Ansar; Usbat al-Ansar; Usbat ul-Ansar.
Description: Designated as a FTO on March 27, 2002, Asbat alAnsar (AAA) is a Lebanon-based Sunni terrorist group composed primarily of Palestinians. Linked to al-Qa’ida and other Sunni terrorist groups, AAA aims to thwart perceived anti-Islamic and pro-Western influences in the country. AAA’s base is largely confined to Lebanon’s refugee camps.
Activities: AAA first emerged in the early 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the group assassinated Lebanese religious leaders and bombed nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores. The group has also plotted against foreign diplomatic targets. Between 2005 and 2011, AAA members traveled to Iraq to fight Coalition Forces. AAA has been reluctant to involve itself in operations in Lebanon, in part because of concerns of losing its safe haven in the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp. AAA remained active in Lebanon but claimed no attacks in 2018.
Strength: The group has at least 650 members.
Location/Area of Operation: AAA’s primary base of operations is the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon.
Funding and External Aid: It is likely the group receives money through international Sunni extremist networks.
Aka A.I.C. Comprehensive Research Institute; A.I.C. Sogo Kenkyusho; Aleph; Aum Supreme Truth.
Description: Aum Shinrikyo (AUM) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. It was established in 1987 by leader Shoko Asahara and gained legal status in Japan as a religious entity in 1989. The Japanese government revoked its recognition of AUM as a religious organization following AUM’s deadly 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo. Despite claims that it has renounced violence and Asahara’s teachings, members of AUM continue to adhere to the violent and apocalyptic teachings of its founder.
Activities: In March 1995, AUM members simultaneously released the chemical nerve agent sarin on several Tokyo subway trains, killing 13 and causing up to 6,000 people to seek medical treatment. Subsequent investigations by the Japanese government revealed the group was responsible for other mysterious chemical incidents in Japan in 1994, including a sarin gas attack on a residential neighborhood in Matsumoto that killed seven and injured approximately 500. Japanese police arrested Asahara in May 1995; in February 2004, authorities sentenced him to death for his role in the 1995 attacks.
Although AUM has not conducted a terrorist attack since 1995, concerns remain regarding its continued adherence to the violent teachings of Asahara. The group consists of two factions, both of which have recruited new members, engaged in commercial enterprises, and acquired property. In July 2000, Russian authorities arrested a group of Russian AUM followers who planned to detonate bombs in Japan as part of an operation to free Asahara from jail. In August 2012, a Japan Airlines flight to the United States turned back after receiving a bomb threat demanding the release of Asahara.
In March 2016, Montenegro expelled 58 people associated with AUM found holding a conference at a hotel in Danilovgrad. One month later, Russian authorities carried out dozens of raids on 25 AUM properties and opened a criminal investigation into an AUM cell. In November 2017, Japanese police raided the offices of a “successor” group to AUM. AUM leader Shoko Asahara was executed in July 2018.
Strength: Recent estimates suggest the group has around 1,500 followers. AUM continues to maintain facilities in Japan and Russia.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Japan and Russia.
Funding and External Aid: Funding comes primarily from member contributions and grouprun businesses.
Aka ETA; Askatasuna; Batasuna; Ekin; Euskal Herritarrok; Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna; Herri Batasuna; Jarrai-Haika-Segi; K.A.S.; XAKI.
Description: Designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles in the Spanish Basque provinces of Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Viscaya; the autonomous region of Navarre; and the southwestern French territories of Labourd, Lower-Navarre, and Soule.
Activities: ETA has primarily conducted bombings and assassinations. Targets typically include Spanish government officials, businessmen, politicians, judicial figures, and security and military forces; however, the group has also targeted journalists and major tourist areas. ETA is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians and members of the armed forces and police, and injuring thousands, since it formally began its campaign of violence in 1968.
In December 2006, ETA exploded a massive car bomb destroying much of the covered parking garage at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport. ETA marked its fiftieth anniversary in 2009 with a series of high profile and deadly bombings, including the July 2009 attack on a Civil Guard Barracks that injured more than 60 men, women, and children.
ETA has not launched any attacks since it announced a “definitive cessation of armed activity” in October 2011.
Authorities seized ETA weapons in 2016, including a cache found in a forest north of Paris, and the top ETA leader was captured. In April 2017, ETA reported that it relinquished its last caches of weapons. In May 2018, ETA released a letter announcing the dissolution of its organizational structures.
Strength: Since 2004, more than 900 ETA militants have been arrested both in Spain and abroad. It is unknown how many ETA members remained at the time of its announced dissolution but it was likely in the hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, and Madrid.
Funding and External Aid: ETA is probably experiencing financial shortages given that the group announced publicly in September 2011 that it had ceased collecting “revolutionary taxes” from Basque businesses. Sources of ETA funding were unknown in 2018.
aka Nigerian Taliban; Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad; Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad; People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad; Sunni Group for Preaching and Jihad
Description: Nigeria-based Boko Haram (BH) was designated as a FTO on November 14, 2013. The group is responsible for numerous attacks in northern and northeastern Nigeria and in the Lake Chad Basin in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger that have killed thousands of people since 2009.
In March 2015, BH pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audiotape message. ISIS accepted the group’s pledge, and the group began calling itself ISIS-West Africa. In August 2016, ISIS announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was to replace Abubakar Shekau as the new leader of the group. Infighting then led the group to split. Shekau maintains a group of followers and affiliates concentrated primarily in the Sambisa Forest; this faction is known as Boko Haram, while al-Barnawi’s group is now separated and designated as ISIS-West Africa.
Activities: BH crosses porous Lake Chad region borders to target civilians and military personnel in northeast Nigeria, the Far North Region of Cameroon, and parts of Chad and Niger. The group continued to evade pressure from Lake Chad country forces, including through the regional Multinational Joint Task Force. Since 2009, BH has killed an estimated 20,000 people and displaced more than two million others.
In 2014, BH killed about 5,000 Nigerian civilians in various attacks. The kidnapping of 276 female students from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, brought global attention to BH’s activities and highlighted its deliberate targeting of non-combatants, including children. The group continued to abduct women and girls in the northern region of Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, some of whom it later subjected to domestic servitude, other forms of forced labor, and sexual servitude, including through forced marriages to its members. For further information, refer to the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report.
Between January 3 and 7, 2015, BH carried out a massacre in Baga, Borno State; reported casualties ranged from 150 to more than 2,000 killed, injured, or disappeared. The January 2015 attacks and other BH operations in surrounding smaller villages in 2015 displaced an estimated 35,000 people and allowed BH to gain control of Borno State.
In February 2016, the group conducted attacks in Nigeria, killing 30 people on February 13 in a spate of attacks in Borno State that included forcing worshipers into a mosque and killing them. In October, BH released 21 Chibok schoolgirls to Nigerian authorities in exchange for the release of selected BH members; it was the first mass release of Chibok hostages since the 2014 abductions.
In 2017 and 2018, BH increased its forced abduction of women and girls and ordered them to carry out suicide attacks on civilians, including the January 2017 attack against the University of Maiduguri in Borno State, and twin attacks against a mosque and market in Adamawa State, Nigeria in May 2018, killing 86.
In April 2018, 18 BH militants launched an attack using suicide bombers, mortars, and gunmen, targeting two villages and a military base, killing 14 civilians and one soldier. In July 2018, BH insurgents ambushed a convoy of vehicles in Borno State, torching 27 vehicles and killing 30 people. In January 2018, Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in northeast Nigeria in December 2017, including attacks on Nigerian soldiers and suicide bombings in crowded markets.
Strength: Membership is estimated to be several thousand fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: BH operates in northeastern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, southeast Niger, and areas of Chad along the Nigerian border.
Funding and External Aid: BH largely self-finances through criminal activities such as looting, extortion, kidnapping-for-ransom, and bank robberies.
Aka CPP/NPA; Communist Party of the Philippines; the CPP; New People’s Army; the NPA.
Description: The Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) was designated as a FTO on August 9, 2002. The military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – the New People’s Army (NPA) – is a Maoist group formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. NPA’s founder, Jose Maria Sison, reportedly directs CPP/NPA activity from the Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Luis Jalandoni, a fellow Central Committee member and director of the CPP’s overt political wing, the National Democratic Front, also lives in the Netherlands. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, CPP/NPA has an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and, at times, uses city-based assassination squads.
Activities: CPP/NPA primarily targets Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refuse to pay extortion, or “revolutionary taxes.” CPP/NPA also has a history of attacking U.S. interests in the Philippines. In 1987, for example, CPP/NPA killed three U.S. soldiers in four separate attacks in Angeles City. In 1989, the group issued a press statement claiming responsibility for the ambush and murder of Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.
Over the past several years, CPP/NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against Philippine security forces.
Throughout 2016, several attempts were made to establish a cease-fire and peace deal between the CPP/NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Reported violations from both sides, however – including reports of CPP/NPA’s continued recruitment in the Philippines and attacks against government forces and civilians – have stalled any peace efforts.
In February 2017, after several attempts from both parties to establish a bilateral cease-fire in late 2016, the CPP/NPA terminated its unilateral cease-fire after several earlier clashes between the group and the Philippine Armed Forces. President Duterte responded with ending its cease-fire and peace talks with the CPP/NPA. Attempts to reach a cease-fire continued in 2017 without success, as a conflicts and skirmishes erupted between the CPP/NPA and the Philippine Armed Forces. President Duterte signed a proclamation declaring the CPP/NPA as a terrorist organization in December 2017, although the decision was still pending court approval at the end of 2018.
In August 2018, seven suspected members of CPP/NPA were killed in a shootout with Philippine police in the town of Antique; authorities found a cache of cellphones, laptops, firearms, and explosives at the site. In December 2018, CPP/NPA members attacked a military patrol in the city of Catarman using an anti-personnel mine. The attack killed four soldiers and two civilians.
Strength: The Philippine government estimates the group has about 4,000 members. CPP/NPA also retains a significant amount of support from communities in rural areas of the Philippines.
Location/Area of Operation: CPP/NPA operates in the Philippines, including Rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. There are also CPP/NPA cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.
Funding and External Aid: The CPP/NPA raises funds through extortion and theft.
Aka Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein.
Description: Designated as a FTO on July 13, 2004, the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) is a terrorist splinter group that became operational in 1986 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein, following its split from Sinn Fein. “Continuity” refers to the group’s belief that it is carrying on the original goal of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), to force the British out of Northern Ireland. CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA).
Activities: CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion operations, and robberies. On occasion, it has provided advance warning to police of its attacks. Targets have included the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups.
In February 2016, CIRA claimed responsibility for a shooting at a boxing event in Dublin that left one dead. In June 2017, CIRA released a statement claiming it would disband and decommission some of its arms over the following three months, describing the conflict as a “futile war.” CIRA did not publicly claim any attacks in 2017 and 2018.
Strength: Membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50 members. Police counterterrorism operations have reduced the group’s strength.
Location/Area of Operation: CIRA operates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Funding and External Aid: CIRA supports its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.
Aka al-Gama’at; Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya; GI; Islamic Gama’at; IG; Islamic Group.
Description: Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. Formed in the 1970s, IG was once Egypt’s largest terrorist group. In 2011, it formed the Building and Development political party that competed in the 2011 parliamentary elections and won 13 seats. The external wing, composed mainly of exiled members in several countries, maintained that its primary goal was to replace the Egyptian government with an Islamist state. IG’s “spiritual” leader Omar Abd al-Rahman, or the “blind Sheikh,” served a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and died in prison in February 2017.
Activities: During the 1990s, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security, other government officials, and Coptic Christians. IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group also launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack. In 1999, part of the group publicly renounced violence. IG is not known to have committed a terrorist attack in recent years; the group remained dormant in 2018.
Strength: At its peak, IG likely commanded several thousand core members and a similar number of supporters. Security clampdowns following the 1997 attack in Luxor and the 1999 cease-fire, along with post-September 11, 2001, security measures and defections to al-Qa’ida, have likely resulted in a substantial decrease in what is left of the group.
Location/Area of Operation: IG’s area of operation is unknown.
Funding and External Aid: The source of IG’s funding is unknown.
Aka the Islamic Resistance Movement; Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya; Izz al-Din al Qassam Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades; Izz al-Din al Qassam Forces; Students of Ayyash; Student of the Engineer; Yahya Ayyash Units; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Brigades; Izz al-Din alQassim Forces; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Battalions.
Description: Designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, Hamas was established in 1987 at the onset of the first Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The armed element, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has conducted anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilian targets inside Israel. Hamas also manages a broad, mostly Gaza-based, network of Dawa or ministry activities that include charities, schools, clinics, youth camps, fundraising, and political activities. After winning Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006, Hamas gained control of significant Palestinian Authority (PA) ministries in Gaza, including the Ministry of Interior. In 2007, Hamas expelled the PA and Fatah from Gaza in a violent takeover. In 2017, the group selected a new leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Gaza. Hamas remained the de facto ruler in Gaza in 2018.
Activities: Before 2005, Hamas conducted numerous anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings, rocket launches, IED attacks, and shootings. U.S. citizens have died and been injured in the group’s attacks. In June 2007, after Hamas took control of Gaza from the PA and Fatah, the Gaza borders were closed, and Hamas increased its use of tunnels to smuggle weapons into Gaza through the Sinai and maritime routes.
Hamas fought a 23-day war with Israel from late December 2008 to January 2009. From November 14 to 21, 2012, Hamas fought another war with Israel during which it claims to have launched more than 1,400 rockets into Israel. Despite the Egypt-mediated cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in 2012, operatives from Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) coordinated and carried out a November bus bombing in Tel Aviv that wounded 29 people. On July 8, 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza with the intent of preventing rocket fire into Israel; the rocket fire from Gaza had increased following earlier Israeli military operations that targeted Hamas for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014, including 16-year-old U.S.-Israeli citizen Naftali Fraenkel.
In April 2016, a Hamas member carried out a suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem, killing 20. The attack came just two months after Hamas released a music video on its al-Aqsa TV and several social media sites encouraging suicide bombings of Israeli buses. The group was also held responsible for several Gaza-based rocket attacks, including a July strike in Sderot that hit a kindergarten and damaged several buildings.
Since 2007, Hamas and Fatah have made several attempts to reconcile, though all attempts through the end of 2018 have failed. Hamas-organized protests at the border between Gaza and Israel continued throughout much of 2018, resulting in clashes that killed Hamas members, Palestinian protestors, and Israeli soldiers. Hamas claimed responsibility for numerous rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli territory throughout 2018.
Strength: Hamas comprises several thousand Gaza-based operatives.
Location/Area of Operation: Since 2007, Hamas has controlled Gaza and has a presence in the West Bank. Hamas also has a presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Funding and External Aid: Historically, Hamas has received funding, weapons, and training from Iran and raises funds in Gulf countries. The group receives donations from Palestinian expatriates as well as from its own charity organizations.
Description: Designated as a FTO on September 19, 2012, the Haqqani Network (HQN) was formed in the late 1980s, around the time of the then-Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. HQN’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani established a relationship with Usama bin Laden in the mid-1980s, and joined the Taliban in 1995. After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, Jalaluddin retreated to Pakistan where, under the leadership of Jalaluddin’s son Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group continued to direct and conduct terrorist activity in Afghanistan. In July 2015, Sirajuddin Haqqani was appointed Deputy Leader of the Taliban.
Activities: HQN has planned and carried out numerous significant kidnappings and attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government, and civilian targets. In September 2011, HQN wounded 77 U.S. soldiers in a truck bombing in Wardak province and conducted a 19-hour attack on the U.S. Embassy and International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, killing 16 Afghans. In June 2012, a suicide bomb attack against Forward Operating Base Salerno killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded more than 100 others.
In April 2016, HQN was blamed for an attack in Kabul against a government security agency tasked with providing protection to senior government officials, killing 64 people and injuring more than 300 others in what was the deadliest attack in Kabul in 15 years. Afghan officials blamed HQN for being involved in a June 2016 double suicide attack outside of Kabul against Afghan police cadets and first responders; 30 people were killed.
On May 31, 2017, a truck bomb exploded in Kabul, killing more than 150 people. Afghan officials blamed HQN for the attack. In October, an American woman and her family were recovered after five years of HQN captivity.
HQN carried out multiple terrorist attacks in 2018. HQN was believed to be responsible for a January 2018 ambulance bombing in Kabul that killed more than 100 people. Afghan officials blamed HQN for a January 2018 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul that killed 22 people, including Americans. HQN was also blamed for a May 2018 attack on the Afghan interior ministry that resulted in the death of a police officer.
Strength: HQN is led by a small cadre of family members, but is believed to have several hundred core members. However, it is estimated that the organization is able to influence a network of upwards of 10,000 fighters. HQN is integrated into the larger Afghan Taliban and cooperates with other terrorist organizations operating in the region, including al-Qa’ida and Lashkar e-Tayyiba.
Location/Area of Operation: HQN is active along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and across much of southeastern Afghanistan, particularly in Loya Paktia, and has repeatedly targeted Kabul in its attacks. The group’s leadership has historically maintained a power base around Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Funding and External Aid: In addition to the funding it receives as part of the broader Afghan Taliban, HQN receives some funds from donors in Pakistan and the Gulf, but mostly from taxing local commerce, extortion, smuggling, and other licit and illicit business ventures.
Aka HUJI; Movement of Islamic Holy War; Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami; Harkat-al-Jihad-ul Islami; Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami; Harakat ul Jihad-e-Islami; Harakat-ul Jihad Islami.
Description: Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) was designated as a FTO on August 6, 2010. The group was formed in 1980 in Afghanistan to fight against the former Soviet Union. Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the organization redirected its efforts to India. HUJI seeks the annexation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan and the expulsion of Coalition Forces from Afghanistan, and has supplied fighters to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
HUJI historically focused its activities on the Afghanistan-Pakistan front, and was composed of Pakistani terrorists and veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war. HUJI experienced internal splits, and a portion of the group has aligned with al-Qa’ida.
Activities: HUJI claimed responsibility for the September 7, 2011, bombing of the New Delhi High Court, which left at least 11 dead and an estimated 76 wounded. The group sent an email to the press stating that the bomb was intended to force India to repeal a death sentence of a HUJI member. HUJI did not publicly claim any attacks in 2018.
Strength: The size of HUJI is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: HUJI’s area of operation historically extended throughout South Asia, with its terrorist operations focused primarily in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: HUJI’s sources of support are unknown.
Aka HUJI-B; Harakat ul Jihad e Islami Bangladesh; Harkatul Jihad al Islam; Harkatul Jihad; Harakat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami; Harakat ul Jihad Islami Bangladesh; Islami Dawat-e-Kafela; IDEK.
Description: Designated as a FTO on March 5, 2008, Harakat ulJihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B) was formed in April 1992 by a group of former Bangladeshi Afghan veterans wanting to establish Islamist rule in Bangladesh. In October 2005, Bangladeshi authorities banned the group. The leaders of HUJI-B signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Usama bin Laden that declared U.S. civilians legitimate targets. HUJI-B has connections to al-Qa’ida and Pakistani terrorist groups advocating similar objectives, including HUJI and Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT).
Activities: In December 2008, three HUJI-B members, including HUJI-B leader Mufti Abdul Hannan, were convicted for the May 2004 grenade attack that wounded the British High Commissioner in Sylhet, Bangladesh. In 2011, Bangladeshi authorities formally charged multiple suspects, including Hannan, with the killing of former Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria in a grenade attack on January 27, 2005. In 2013, Bangladeshi police arrested a group of terrorists, including HUJI-B members, who were preparing attacks on public gatherings and prominent individuals. In 2014, HUJI-B continued its operations; reports at the time suggested that some HUJI-B members may have traveled to Pakistan to receive military training from LeT. There were no known terrorist acts carried out by HUJI-B in 2018.
On April 12, 2017, Bangladeshi authorities executed HUJI-B leader Hannan and two associates for the May 2004 grenade attack.
Strength: HUJI-B leaders claim that up to 400 of its members are Afghan war veterans; its total membership is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: HUJI-B operates primarily in Bangladesh and India; the group trains and has a network of madrassas in Bangladesh.
Funding and External Aid: HUJI-B funding comes from a variety of sources. Several international NGOs may have funneled money to HUJI-B.
Aka HUM; Harakat ul-Ansar; HUA; Jamiat ul-Ansar; JUA; al-Faran; al-Hadid; al-Hadith; Harakat ul-Mujahidin; Ansar ul Ummah.
Description: Designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, Harakat ulMujahideen (HUM) seeks the annexation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan and the expulsion of Coalition Forces from Afghanistan. In January 2005, HUM’s long-time leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down and was replaced by Dr. Badr Munir. HUM operated terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan until Coalition air strikes destroyed them in 2001. In 2003, HUM began using the name Jamiat ul-Ansar; Pakistan banned the group in November 2003.
Activities: HUM has conducted numerous operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as in India’s northeastern states. In December 1999, HUM hijacked an Indian airliner, which led to the release of Masood Azhar – an important leader who later founded Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). India also released Ahmed Omar Sheikh as a result of the hijacking. Sheikh was later convicted of the 2002 abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.
HUM has conducted attacks targeting Indian interests including the late December 2015 strikes in Handwor and Poonch, which resulted in the deaths of five Indian army personnel. HUM did not publicly claim any attacks in 2018.
Strength: After 2000, a significant portion of HUM’s membership defected to JeM, and only a small number of cadres are reported to be active.
Location/Area of Operation: HUM conducts operations primarily in Afghanistan and in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It operates from Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir, and in other cities in Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: HUM collects donations from wealthy donors in Pakistan.
Aka the Party of God; Islamic Jihad; Islamic Jihad Organization; Revolutionary Justice Organization; Organization of the Oppressed on Earth; Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine; Organization of Right Against Wrong; Ansar Allah; Followers of the Prophet Muhammed; Lebanese Hizballah; Lebanese Hezbollah; LH; Foreign Relations Department; External Security Organization; Foreign Action Unit; Hizballah International; Special Operations Branch; External Services Organization; External Security Organization of Hezbollah.
Description: Hizballah was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. Formed in 1982 following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Lebanon-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The group generally follows the religious guidance of the Iranian Supreme Leader, which in 2018 was Ali Khamenei. Hizballah is closely allied with Iran and the two often work together on shared initiatives, although Hizballah also acts independently in some cases. Hizballah shares a close relationship with the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, and like Iran, provides assistance – including fighters – to Syrian regime forces in the Syrian conflict.
Activities: Hizballah is responsible for multiple large scale terrorist attacks, including the 1983 suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut; the 1984 attack on the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut; and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered.
Hizballah was also implicated, along with Iran, in the 1992 attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina and in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires.
In 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Shebaa Farms area and, separately, kidnapped an Israeli reserve officer in Dubai. In an exchange between Israel and Hizballah in 2004, the Israeli reserve officer abducted in Dubai as well as the bodies of the three Israeli soldiers were returned to Israel.
Hizballah assisted Iraq Shia militant and terrorist groups in Iraq, and in January 2007, attacked the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center, killing five American soldiers.
Hizballah is believed to have carried out two attacks against UN Interim Force in Lebanon peacekeepers: an attack in late May 2011 that wounded five Italian peacekeepers and a second attack in July 2011 that wounded six French soldiers.
In July 2012, a suspected Hizballah operative was detained by Cypriot authorities for allegedly helping plan an attack against Israeli tourists on the island. On March 21, 2013, a Cyprus court found the operative guilty of charges based on his surveillance activities of Israeli tourists. The group was also responsible for the July 2012 attack on a passenger bus carrying 42 Israeli tourists at the Sarafovo Airport in Bulgaria, near the city of Burgas. The explosion killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian, and injured 32 others.
In May 2013, Hizballah publicly admitted to playing a significant role in the ongoing conflict in Syria, rallying support for the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad. Hizballah’s support for Syria’s Assad regime continued into 2018. As of 2018, there were reportedly about 7,000 Hizballah fighters in Syria; several senior Hizballah military commanders and hundreds of fighters have died in the Syrian conflict.
In May 2013, Nigerian authorities arrested three Hizballah operatives who had stored weapons and a large quantity of ammunition and explosives. In October 2014, Peruvian authorities arrested a Hizballah operative who had been planning to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets. In May 2015, Cypriot authorities arrested and convicted a Hizballah member after finding 8.2 tons of liquid ammonium nitrate in the basement of a residence in Larnaca. In August 2015, Kuwaiti authorities arrested three Hizballah operatives who had stored weapons and explosives under a residential house. In 2017, Bolivian authorities identified a Hizballah-affiliated warehouse, seizing explosive precursor materials and a VBIED.
In June 2017, two Hizballah operatives were arrested in the United States. One operative arrested in Michigan had identified the availability of explosives precursors in Panama in 2011 and surveilled U.S. and Israeli targets in Panama as well as the Panama Canal from 2011-2012. Another operative arrested in New York had surveilled U.S. military and law enforcement facilities from 2003-2017.
In September 2018, Brazil arrested a Hizballah financier, and in December 2018, tunnels reportedly built by Hizballah were discovered on Israeli territory along the boundary with Lebanon.
Strength: The group has tens of thousands of supporters and members worldwide.
Location/Area of Operation: Hizballah is based in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon, but the group operates around the world. Since 2012, Hizballah fighters have assisted Assad regime forces in many areas across Syria.
Funding and External Aid: Iran continues to provide Hizballah with most of its funding, training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, monetary, and organizational aid. Iran’s annual financial backing to Hizballah – an estimated $700 million per year – accounts for the overwhelming majority of the group’s annual budget. The Assad regime has furnished training, weapons, and diplomatic and political support. Hizballah also receives funding in the form of private donations from Lebanese Shia diaspora communities worldwide, including profits from legal and illegal businesses. These include smuggling contraband goods, passport falsification, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and credit card, immigration, and bank fraud.
Aka HM, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
Description: Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) was designated as a FTO on August 17, 2017. The group was formed in 1989 and is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. HM is led by Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, and officially supports the liberation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian control and its accession to Pakistan, although some cadres are pro-independence. The group focuses its attacks on Indian security forces and politicians in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and has conducted operations jointly with other Kashmiri militants. HM reportedly operated in Afghanistan through the mid-1990s and trained alongside the Afghan Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) in Afghanistan until the Taliban takeover. The group is made up primarily of ethnic Kashmiris.
Activities: HM has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. On April 17, 2014, HM launched two grenades into an area where preparations were taking place for an election rally in Beerwah of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The attacks injured 17 people. Later that year, HM killed two and injured 24 others after launching a grenade in a crowded market in south Kashmir. In May 2015, HM claimed an attack on Indian security forces in Kupwara that killed three Indian troops, according to the targeted forces. HM launched additional attacks against Indian security forces in 2015 and 2016. On May 1, 2017, HM killed seven people – including five policemen – when it attacked a bank van carrying cash in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
HM continued conducting attacks in 2018. On August 29, 2018, HM reportedly killed four policemen in the Shopian district of south Kashmir. In addition, on September 21, 2018, HM claimed responsibility for abducting and killing three police officials in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Strength: Exact numbers are unknown, but there may be several hundred members in Pakistan and in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Location/Area of Operation: HM conducts operations primarily in India, including the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Funding and External Aid: HM’s sources of support are unknown, but it is suspected to receive funding from sources in Pakistan.
Aka Indian Mujahidin; Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahideen (ISF-IM).
Description: The Indian Mujahedeen (IM) was designated as a FTO on September 19, 2011. The India-based terrorist group is responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005 and has caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians. IM maintains ties to other terrorist entities including Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Harakat ul-Jihad Islami. IM’s stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against Indians for their oppression of Muslims. IM has also expanded its area of operations into Nepal, which is now the biggest hub for IM operatives.
Activities: IM is known for carrying out multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximize terror and casualties. In 2008, for example, IM was responsible for 16 synchronized bomb blasts in crowded urban centers, including an attack in Delhi that killed 30 people and an attack at a local hospital in Ahmedabad that killed 38. In 2010, IM bombed a popular German bakery frequented by tourists in Pune, India; 17 people were killed, and more than 60 people were injured in the attack.
In January 2015, the arrest of three IM militants linked the group to the December 2014 lowintensity blast near a restaurant in Bangalore that killed one woman and injured three others. The arrest also uncovered that the group planned to carry out attacks on India’s Republic Day and had provided explosives to carry out attacks in other parts of the country.
In 2016, IM was increasingly linked to ISIS. In May, for example, six IM operatives were identified in an ISIS propaganda video threatening attacks on India. A month later, it was reported that an IM cell linked to ISIS was plotting attacks on multiple targets in Hyderabad and had purchased chemicals to make high-grade explosives for the planned operations. In September 2017, Indian law enforcement uncovered the plans of an IM militant in custody to conduct attacks in India, including targeted killings and bombing a temple in Gaya. IM did not publicly claim any attacks in 2018.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: IM operates in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: The group is suspected to obtain funding and support from other terrorist organizations, as well as from sources in Pakistan and the Middle East.
Aka Islamic Jihad Group; Islomiy Jihod Ittihodi; al-Djihad al-Islami; Dzhamaat Modzhakhedov; Islamic Jihad Group of Uzbekistan; Jamiat al-Jihad al-Islami; Jamiyat; The Jamaat Mojahedin; The Kazakh Jama’at; The Libyan Society.
Description: The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) was designated as a FTO on June 17, 2005. The group splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the early 2000s. Najmiddin Jalolov founded the organization as the Islamic Jihad Group in March 2002, but the group was renamed Islamic Jihad Union in May 2005. Although IJU remains committed to overthrowing the Government of Uzbekistan, it also has a global agenda, demonstrated by its attacks on international forces in Afghanistan.
Activities: The IJU primarily operates against international forces in Afghanistan and remains a threat to Central Asia. IJU claimed responsibility for attacks in 2004 in Uzbekistan, which targeted police at several roadway checkpoints and at a popular bazaar, killing approximately 47 people, including 33 IJU members, some of whom were suicide bombers. In July 2004, the group carried out near-simultaneous suicide bombings of the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s office and the U.S. and Israeli Embassies in Tashkent. In 2013, two IJU videos showed attacks against an American military base in Afghanistan and an IJU sniper shooting an Afghan soldier.
According to statements and photos released by the group, IJU participated in the five-month long 2015 Taliban siege of Kunduz city. At least 13 police officers were killed in the attacks, and hundreds of civilians were killed. In August 2015, IJU pledged allegiance to the then newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour.
In 2017, IJU released a video showing its militants using assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades engaging in combat with Afghan troops in late 2016. A second video was released by IJU in April 2018 showing a joint raid with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. The video, which is dated October 2017, shows a night clash with Afghan forces.
Strength: The group consists of 100 to 200 members.
Location/Area of Operation: IJU historically operates in Uzbekistan, with members scattered throughout Central Asia and Europe. In 2018, reports confirmed that IJU was active in northern Afghanistan.
Funding and External Aid: IJU’s sources of support are unknown.
Description: Designated as a FTO on September 25, 2000, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) seeks to overthrow the Uzbek government and establish an Islamic state. For most of the past decade, however, the group has recruited members from other Central Asian states and Europe. Despite its objective to set up an Islamic state in Uzbekistan, the group operates primarily along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in northern Afghanistan, where it fights against international forces. Several IMU members are also suspected of having traveled to Syria to fight with terrorist groups.
The IMU has had a decade-long relationship with al-Qa’ida (AQ), the Taliban, and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan. Top IMU leaders have integrated themselves into the Taliban’s shadow government in Afghanistan’s northern provinces.
In August 2015, IMU leader Usman Ghazi publicly announced the group’s shift of allegiance to ISIS. Numerous IMU members, including possibly Ghazi himself, were subsequently reported to have been killed as a result of hostilities between ISIS and its former Taliban allies.
Activities: Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, the IMU has been focused predominantly on attacks against international forces in Afghanistan. In late 2009, NATO forces reported an increase in IMU-affiliated FTFs in Afghanistan. In 2010, the IMU claimed responsibility for the September 19 ambush that killed 25 Tajik troops in Tajikistan. On June 8, 2014, IMU claimed responsibility for an attack on Karachi’s international airport that resulted in the deaths of at least 39 people.
Throughout 2015, the IMU actively threatened the Afghan government, specifically in the northern part of the country. In April, the group released a video showing IMU members beheading an individual they claimed to be an Afghan soldier and threatened to behead Hazara (a historically persecuted ethnic group in Afghanistan) hostages, in supposed retaliation for the Afghan security forces capture of several female members of IMU. Also in 2015, Uzbek refugee Fazliddin Kurbanov was convicted and sentenced in 2016 by a U.S. federal court to 25 years in prison for planning a bomb attack in Idaho. Kurbanov had been in contact with members of IMU online, seeking advice on how to make explosives and discussing attacking U.S. military bases.
In June 2016, a faction of the IMU announced its continued commitment to the Taliban and AQ, marking a split with its leader Ghazi and the rest of the group, which announced its loyalty to ISIS in 2015 and has since cooperated with Islamic State’s Khorasan Province. IMU did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018.
Strength: The group consists of 200 to 300 members.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: The IMU receives support from a large Uzbek diaspora, terrorist organizations, and donors from Europe, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East.
Aka al-Qa’ida in Iraq; al-Qa’ida Group of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa’ida Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida in Mesopotamia; al-Qa’ida in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Tawhid; Jam’at al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad; Tanzeem Qa’idat al Jihad/Bilad al Raafidaini; Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn; the Monotheism and Jihad Group; the Organization Base of Jihad/Country of the Two Rivers; the Organization Base of Jihad/Mesopotamia; the Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in Iraq; the Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in the Land of the Two Rivers; the Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in Iraq; the Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in the Land of the Two Rivers; the Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers; al-Zarqawi Network; Islamic State in Iraq; Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham; Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi al-’Iraq wa-sh-Sham; Daesh; Dawla al Islamiya; Al-Furqan Establishment for Media Production; Islamic State; ISIL; ISIS.
Description: Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) was designated as a FTO on December 17, 2004. In the 1990s, Jordanian militant Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi organized a terrorist group called al-Tawhid wal-Jihad to oppose the presence of U.S. and western military forces in the Middle East and the West’s support for, and the existence of, Israel. In late 2004, he joined al-Qa’ida (AQ) and pledged allegiance to Usama bin Laden. At that time, his group became known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI). Zarqawi led the group in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom to fight against U.S. and Coalition Forces until his death in June 2006.
In October 2006, AQI publicly renamed itself the Islamic State in Iraq. In 2013, it adopted the moniker ISIS to express its regional ambitions as it expanded operations to include the Syrian conflict. ISIS is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared an Islamic caliphate in June 2014. In October 2017, the U.S. military fighting with local Syrian allies announced the liberation of Raqqa, the self-declared capital of ISIS’s so-called “caliphate.” In December 2017, then Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq. In September 2018, the Syrian Democratic Forces, with support from the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS began a final push to oust ISIS fighters from the town of Hajin and its surrounding areas that constitute the last area under the group’s control in Syria.
Activities: As AQI, ISIS conducted numerous high-profile attacks, including IED attacks against U.S. military personnel and Iraqi infrastructure, videotaped beheadings of U.S. citizens, suicide bombings against both military and civilian targets, and rocket attacks. ISIS perpetrated these attacks using foreign and Iraqi operatives. In 2014, ISIS was responsible for most of the 12,000 Iraqi civilian deaths that year. ISIS is heavily involved in the fighting in Syria, and has participated in numerous kidnappings of civilians, including aid workers and journalists. In 2015 and 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for several large-scale attacks in Iraq and Syria. For example, in mid-May 2016, ISIS conducted a series of attacks in and around Baghdad, including suicide bombings and a car bombing at a crowded market in Sadr City that killed at least 88 people – most of them women and children. In July 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a car bombing at a popular shopping center in Baghdad that killed nearly 300 people, making it the single deadliest bombing in Iraq’s capital city since 2003. In October, it was revealed that ISIS was using hundreds to thousands of Iraqi civilians as human shields when fighting Iraqi forces.
ISIS continued its attacks throughout 2017. In February, ISIS killed 48 people in a car bombing in Baghdad, and another four attacks around Baghdad killed an additional eight people on the same day. In early April, the group killed 33 Syrians in eastern Syria, and on the same day, killed another 22 people in Tikrit, Iraq, when ISIS gunmen opened fire on police and civilians before detonating explosives they were wearing. In June, ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers killed more than a dozen people in two separate attacks in Tehran, including an attack inside the Parliament building. In September, ISIS killed over 80 people at a checkpoint and restaurant in Nasiriyah, Iraq, an area frequented by Shia Muslims on pilgrimage. In November, a car bombing in a predominantly Shia area of Salah ad Din province killed at least 36 people, including 11 Iraqi Security Forces personnel.
Since at least 2015, the group has integrated local children and children of FTFs into its forces and used them as executioners and suicide attackers. ISIS has systematically prepared child soldiers in Iraq and Syria using its education and religious infrastructure as part of its training and recruitment of members. Further, since 2015, ISIS abducted, raped, and abused thousands of women and children, some as young as eight years old. Women and children were sold and enslaved, distributed to ISIS fighters as spoils of war, forced into marriage and domestic servitude, or subjected to physical and sexual abuse. For further information, refer to the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report.
ISIS also directs, enables, and inspires individuals to conduct attacks on behalf of the group around the world, including in the United States and Europe. In November 2015, ISIS carried out a series of coordinated attacks in Paris, France, including at a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall, killing about 130 people and injuring more than 350 others; 23year-old U.S. citizen Nohemi Gonzalez was among the dead. In March 2016, ISIS directed two simultaneous attacks in Brussels, Belgium – one at the Zaventem Airport and the other at a metro station. The attacks killed 32 people, including four U.S. citizens, and injured more than 250 people. In June 2016, a gunman who pledged allegiance to ISIS killed 49 individuals and injured 53 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In July 2016, ISIS claimed an attack in which a terrorist driving a cargo truck attacked a crowd in Nice, France, during Bastille Day celebrations, resulting in 86 deaths, including three U.S. citizens. In December 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a truck attack on a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, that killed 12 people and injured 48 others.
In March 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack on London’s Westminster Bridge when a man drove his car into pedestrians and stabbed others, killing five people. In early April 2017, a man who claimed to be a member of ISIS drove a truck into a crowded shopping center in Stockholm, Sweden, killing five and injuring many more. In May 2017, ISIS claimed a suicide bombing in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people outside of a live concert.
In April 2018, ISIS claimed responsibility for targeting an Iraqi Turkman politician in the northern province of Kirkuk. In July 2018, ISIS attacked the city of Suweida and nearby towns and villages in southwestern Syria, conducting multiple suicide bombings and simultaneous raids in a brutal offensive, killing more than 200 people.
Strength: Estimates suggest ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria number between 14,000 and 18,000, including up to 3,000 FTFs. This number was likely reduced during 2018 military operations.
Location/Area of Operation: ISIS’s operations are predominately in Iraq and Syria, but the group has created external ISIS branches and networks around the world. In addition, supporters and associates worldwide inspired by the group’s ideology may be operating without direction from ISIS central leadership.
Funding and External Aid: ISIS received most of its funding from a variety of businesses and criminal activities within areas it controls in Iraq and Syria. Criminal activities included smuggling oil, looting and selling antiquities and other goods, as well as extortion, human trafficking, and kidnapping-for-ransom. ISIS continues to use “hawalas” – a system of couriers who maintain an informal international banking system that functions by word of mouth and is difficult to uncover and interdict – to transport money in support of ISIS operations. Before ISIS’s territorial defeat, targeted counterterrorism operations and airstrikes served to sever critical financial networks and reduce ISIS’s ability to exploit local resources such as oil. In 2018, the further reduction in ISIS’s control of territory significantly reduced ISIS’s ability to generate, hold, and transfer revenue. Despite this, ISIS continues to generate revenue from criminal activities and provides financial support to its network of global branches and affiliates.
Aka Caliphate in Bangladesh, Caliphate’s Soldiers in Bangladesh, Soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh, Khalifa’s Soldiers in Bengal, Islamic State Bangladesh, Islamic State in Bangladesh, ISB, ISIB, Abu Jandal al-Bangali, Neo-JMB, New JMB, Neo-Jammat-ul Mujahadeen-Bangladesh.
Description: ISIS-Bangladesh was designated as a FTO on February 28, 2018. ISIS-Bangladesh has described itself as ISIS’s official branch in Bangladesh and was born out of ISIS’s desire to expand its campaign to the Indian Subcontinent. Coinciding with the announcement of the caliphate in Iraq and Syria, a group of Bangladeshi nationals pledged allegiance to ISIS and vowed to organize Bengal Muslims under the leadership of ISIS chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Activities: Since its inception in 2014, ISIS-Bangladesh has claimed numerous attacks carried out across the country. In September 2015, gunmen belonging to ISIS-Bangladesh shot and killed an Italian aid worker in Dhaka. In December 2015, ISIS-Bangladesh claimed responsibility for injuring 10 people during a Christmas Day suicide attack at mosque packed with Ahmadi Muslims. In July 2016, the group claimed responsibility for an assault on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka that killed 22 people, including one American. In March 2017, ISIS-Bangladesh claimed responsibility for twin explosions that targeted a crowd in Sylhet, Bangladesh, killing six people. ISIS-Bangladesh did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018.
Strength: ISIS-Bangladesh has at least several hundred armed supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is located in Bangladesh
Funding and External Aid: Although the source of ISIS-Bangladesh’s funding is largely unknown, it does receive some support from ISIS.
Aka ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS); Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS); Islamic State of the Greater Sahel; ISIS in the Greater Sahel; ISIS in the Islamic Sahel.
Description: ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) was designated as a FTO on May 23, 2018. ISIS-GS emerged when leader Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi and his followers split from al-Murabitoun. Al-Sahrawi first pledged allegiance to ISIS in May 2015, which was acknowledged by ISIS in October 2016.
Activities: In September 2016, ISIS-GS claimed responsibility for an attack on a gendarmerie post in Markoye, Burkina Faso, that killed two people. In October 2016, ISIS-GS claimed responsibility for an attack on a military post in Intangom, Burkina Faso, that killed three Burkinabe soldiers. In October 2017, ISIS-GS claimed responsibility for an attack on a joint U.S.-Nigerien patrol in the region of Tongo, Niger, which killed four U.S. soldiers and five Nigerien soldiers. In 2018, ISIS-GS was reportedly involved in numerous skirmishes and attacks in Mali and Niger, including those in May that targeted French troops and civilians.
Strength: Precise numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: ISIS-GS is primarily based in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
Funding and External Aid: ISIS-GS’s sources of support are unknown.
Aka ISIL Khorasan; Islamic State’s Khorasan Province; ISIS Wilayat Khorasan; ISIL’s South Asia Branch; South Asian chapter of ISIL.
Description: Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) was designated as a FTO on January 14, 2016. The group is based in Afghanistan, conducts operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. ISIS-K’s senior leadership has pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which was accepted in late January 2015. ISIS-K has carried out suicide bombings, small arms attacks, and kidnappings in Afghanistan against civilians and Afghan National Security and Defense Forces. The group has also claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians and government officials in Pakistan.
It was reported that ISIS-K leader Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed in July 2016. Khan’s former deputy and the former Taliban Commander from Logar province, Abdul Hasib, took over leadership for ISIS-K. Abdul Hasib was killed in a joint Afghan and U.S. operation in April 2017. His successor, Abu Sayeed Orakzai, was killed in August 2018.
Activities: In January 2016, the group claimed it carried out a strike on a Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of seven Afghan security personnel. In July 2016, the group conducted a bomb attack at a peaceful protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed an estimated 80 people and wounded another 230. In August 2016, ISIS-K claimed it carried out a shooting and suicide bombing at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, targeting lawyers, which killed 94. It also claimed responsibility for a November 2016 suicide bombing at the Shah Noorani Shrine in Balochistan province, Pakistan, killing more than 50 people.
In July 2017, ISIS-K attacked the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul, killing two people and bombed a mosque in western Afghanistan, killing 29 people and injuring 60 others. Between October and December of 2017, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in Kabul, including ones targeting a television station, a Shia cultural center, and an Afghan intelligence office near the U.S. Embassy.
ISIS-K also claimed multiple attacks in Pakistan in 2017, including an attack on a Sufi shrine in Sindh province in February that killed at least 88 people, and an attack on a church in Quetta that killed at least nine people. In July 2018, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for an attack on an election rally in Balochistan province in Pakistan that killed 149 people. In September 2018, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing in a Shiite majority neighborhood in Kabul, leaving more than 20 dead and 70 injured.
Strength: Estimates of ISIS-K strength ranged from 2,000 to 5,000 fighters in 2018
Location/Area of Operation: The group mainly operates in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan. ISIS-K operated in northern Afghanistan until its surrender to Afghan Security Forces in that region in August 2018.
Funding and External Aid: ISIS-K receives some funding from ISIS. Additional funds come from illicit criminal commerce, taxes, and extortion on the local population and businesses.
Aka Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Libya; Wilayat Barqa; Wilayat Fezzan; Wilayat Tripolitania; Wilayat Tarablus; Wilayat al-Tarabulus.
Description: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Libya (ISIL-Libya) was designated as a FTO on May 20, 2016. In 2014, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dispatched a group of ISIS operatives from Syria to Libya to establish a branch of the terrorist group. In October 2014, several hundred operatives set up a base in Darnah, and the next month, Baghdadi formally established the branch after announcing he had accepted oaths of allegiance from fighters in Libya.
Activities: Since becoming established, the group has carried out multiple attacks in the country and has threatened to expand ISIS’s presence into other countries in Africa. In January 2015, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a luxury hotel in Tripoli, Libya, that killed eight people, including a U.S. contractor.
In February 2015, ISIL-Libya released a propaganda video showing the murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped in Sirte, Libya, in two separate incidents in December 2014 and January 2015. Also in February, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for bomb attacks against a petrol station, a police station, and the home of parliamentary speaker Agila Salah in the town of al-Qubbah. The attacks killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens of others.
From 2015 to 2016, ISIL-Libya doubled its presence in the country; in early 2016, reports suggested the group counted as many as 6,000 fighters in its ranks. In 2016, ISIL-Libya expanded operations into Libya’s oil crescent, launching attacks on some of the country’s largest oil installations: burning oil tanks, killing dozens, and forcing facilities to shut down operations.
In December 2016, Libyan forces drove ISIL-Libya from its stronghold and main base in Sirte into the desert areas and neighboring cities. In January and September 2017, U.S. air strikes killed an estimated 100 ISIL-Libya fighters in Libya.
In May 2018, ISIL-Libya claimed an attack on Libya’s electoral commission headquarters in Tripoli that killed 14 people. In September, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Libya’s National Oil Company headquarters that left two dead and 10 others wounded. In October, ISIL-Libya was implicated in an attack on a town in central Libya that resulted in five people killed and 10 others kidnapped. In December, ISIL-Libya attacked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, killing three people, and later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Strength: Earlier estimates of ISIL-Libya suggest the group has fewer than 500 fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: ISIL-Libya is no longer in control of any major cities in Libya but continues to operate in rural regions in central and southern Libya and in the western town of Sabratha.
Funding and External Aid: ISIL-Libya’s funding comes from a variety of sources, including criminal activity, such as smuggling and extortion, and external funding. The group also receives support from ISIS.
Aka ISIS in the Philippines; ISIL Philippines; ISIL in the Philippines; IS Philippines; ISP; Islamic State in the Philippines; Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in South-east Asia; Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik (DIWM); Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Mashriq; IS East Asia Division; ISIS Branch in the Philippines; ISIS’ “Philippines province.”
Description: ISIS-Philippines (ISIS-P) was designated as a FTO on February 28, 2018. In July 2014, militants in the Philippines pledged allegiance to ISIS in support of ISIS’s efforts in the region under the command of now-deceased leader Isnilon Hapilon.
Activities: ISIS-P has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in the Philippines. In May 2016, ISIS-P claimed responsibility for an attack on Basilan Island, which killed one solider and injured another. In 2017, ISIS-P participated in five months of fighting in Marawi that claimed more than 1,000 lives and forced at least 300,000 residents to flee the area. ISIS-P leader Hapilon was killed by Philippine forces during this fighting in October 2017. In July 2018, ISIS-P claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack at a military checkpoint in Basilan, killing 10 people.
Strength: ISIS-P is estimated to have a small cadre of fighters in the southern Philippines, but exact numbers are unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: ISIS-P operations are based out of the southern Philippines, especially in and around Basilan and Lanao del Sur province.
Funding and External Aid: ISIS-P receives financial assistance from ISIS in Syria.
Aka Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis; Ansar Jerusalem; Supporters of Jerusalem; Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes; Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; ISIL Sinai Province; Islamic State in the Sinai; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis fi Sinaa; Sinai Province; Supporters of the Holy Place; The State of Sinai; Wilayat Sinai.
Description: Originally designated as a FTO on April 9, 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM, as it was known then) rose to prominence in 2011 following the uprisings in Egypt. It is responsible for attacks against Israeli and Egyptian government and security elements, and against tourists in Egypt. In November 2014, ABM officially declared allegiance to ISIS. In September 2015, the Department of State amended ABM’s designation to add the aliases ISIL Sinai Province and Islamic State-Sinai Province (ISIS-SP), among others.
Activities: ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israeli and Egyptian interests from 2012 through 2014, including attacks on Israeli economic and military assets, as well as attacks on the Egyptian military and tourist sectors. On November 4, 2015, ISIS-SP released an audio recording in which it claimed responsibility for the October 31 bombing of a Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, Russia. All 224 passengers and seven crew members were killed.
On August 5, 2015, ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for the July 22 abduction of Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek, who worked as a topographer for a French energy company. Salopek was kidnapped on July 22 in the western desert, approximately 20 kilometers west of the suburbs of Cairo. ISIS-SP demanded the release of all female Muslims in Egyptian prisons within 48 hours in exchange for Salopek. Salopek was ultimately beheaded, and ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for the killing.
Throughout the course of 2016, ISIS-SP carried out numerous attacks in the Sinai, including a January double bombing that killed two Egyptian policemen and two military officers. The group was also responsible for a July wide-scale coordinated attack on several military checkpoints that reportedly killed more than 50 people. On December 11, 2016, an attack on St. Mark’s Cathedral, a Coptic Christian church in Cairo, killed 29 people.
In 2017, ISIS-SP attacked two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday (April 9), killing 30 people at St. George’s Church in Tanta and killing 17 people at St. Mark’s Church in Alexandria. In May 2017, the group’s attack on a bus of pilgrims en route to St. Samuel the Confessor, a Coptic monastery near Minya, killed 29 people. In September 2017, ISIS-SP attacked an Egyptian police convoy in an ambush that killed 18 soldiers and injured others. In November 2017, an attack on the al-Rawda mosque in North Sinai—Egypt’s deadliest in modern history—killed more than 300 individuals at prayer. While the attack was unclaimed, press reported the Egyptian Prosecutor General’s office as attributing the attack to ISIS-SP and alleging that attackers carried an ISIS flag. The group’s December 2017 attack on St. Mina, a Coptic Christian near Cairo, killed 11 people.
In 2018, the group continued operations against the Egyptian military. ISIS-SP attacked an Egyptian army base in April and attacked an Egyptian police checkpoint in December, killing 15 soldiers in each attack. On November 2, 2018, the group’s attack on a bus of pilgrims traveling from St. Samuel the Confessor killed seven and wounded 14 others.
Strength: ISIS-SP is estimated to have between 800 and 1,200 fighters in the Sinai Peninsula and affiliated cells in the Nile Valley.
Location/Area of Operation: ISIS-SP operations are based out of the Sinai Peninsula, but the group’s reach extends to Cairo, the Egyptian Nile Valley, and Gaza.
Funding and External Aid: Although the source of ISIS-SP’s funding is largely unknown, there are indications that it may receive funding from ISIS in Syria.
Aka Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP); Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-West Africa (ISIS-WA); Islamic State of Iraq and Syria West Africa Province; ISIS West Africa Province; ISIS West Africa; ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA).
Description: ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA) was designated as a FTO on February 28, 2018. In March 2015, a faction of Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audiotape message. ISIS accepted the group’s pledge and the group began calling itself ISIS-West Africa. In August 2016, ISIS announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was to become the new leader of ISIS-WA.
Activities: ISIS-WA has been responsible for numerous attacks in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region since 2016. In January 2017, ISIS-WA conducted a midnight attack against Nigerian troops in the village of Kamuya resulting in the death of three Nigerian soldiers. In February 2018, ISIS-WA abducted a Christian student in Nigeria and in March kidnapped three aid workers during an attack that killed dozens of other people. ISIS-WA killed one of the three aid workers in September and another in October. In November, ISIS-WA claimed responsibility for five attacks in Chad and Nigeria that resulted in 118 deaths. Throughout 2018, ISIS-WA was involved in numerous attacks on Nigerian army bases.
Strength: ISIS-WA has an estimated 3,500 members.
Location/Area of Operation: ISIS-WA operates in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.
Funding and External Aid: ISIS-WA receives funding from local sources, the capture of military supplies, taxes, and kidnapping-for-ransom payments.
Aka Jamaat Nosrat al-Islam wal-Mouslimin; Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims; Group to Support Islam and Muslims; GSIM; GNIM; Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen.
Description: Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) was designated as a FTO on September 6, 2018. JNIM has described itself as al-Qa’ida’s official branch in Mali and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks and kidnappings since it was formed in March 2017. In 2017, the Sahara Branch of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front came together to form JNIM. JNIM is led by Iyad ag Ghali.
Activities: JNIM has continued to commit numerous attacks against civilian and military targets as well as kidnappings. In June 2017, JNIM carried out an attack at a resort frequented by Westerners outside of Bamako, Mali, and was responsible for the large-scale coordinated attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on March 2, 2018.
In 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for several attacks including a June suicide attack against an African Coalition base in Mali that killed at least six people. In July, JNIM claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Gao, Mali, which targeted a French military patrol that killed civilians. In November 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for the detonation of a truck bomb in a residential complex in Gao, killing three and injuring 30.
Strength: JNIM is estimated to have between 1,000 and 2,000 fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is located in Mali.
Funding and External Aid: JNIM receives funding through kidnapping-for-ransom and extortion, and from smugglers and traffickers who pay a tax in exchange for permission and safe transit through JNIM-controlled trafficking routes in Mali.
Aka Ansaru; Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan; Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa; JAMBS; Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan.
Description: Designated as a FTO on November 14, 2013, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru) publicly splintered from Boko Haram in January 2012. Ansaru’s leadership structure is unclear, although Khalid al-Barnawi held a top leadership position until his alleged capture by the Nigerian army in 2016. Since its inception, Ansaru has targeted civilians, including Westerners, and Nigerian government and security officials. Ansaru purportedly aims to defend Muslims throughout Africa by fighting against the Nigerian government and international interests. Ansaru claims to identify with Boko Haram’s objectives and struggle, but it has criticized the group for killing fellow Muslims.
Activities: In November 2012, Ansaru raided a police station in Abuja, killing Nigerian police officers and freeing detained terrorists from prison. Ansaru has carried out multiple kidnapping operations targeting civilians. In late 2012, Ansaru kidnapped a French engineer allegedly owing to French involvement in Mali. In early 2013, Ansaru kidnapped and subsequently killed seven international construction workers.
On April 4, 2016, the Nigerian army announced the capture of Ansaru leader Khalid al-Barnawi. Ansaru did not publicly claim any attacks in 2018.
Strength: Ansaru’s total size is unknown. Given its narrower scope of operations, its membership is estimated to be much smaller than that of Boko Haram.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in northern Nigeria.
Funding and External Aid: Ansaru’s sources of support are unknown.
Aka the Army of Mohammed; Mohammed’s Army; Tehrik ul-Furqaan; Khuddam-ul-Islam; Khudamul Islam; Kuddam e Islami; Jaish-i-Mohammed.
Description: Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) was designated as a FTO on December 26, 2001. JeM was founded in early 2000 by former senior Harakat ul-Mujahideen leader Masood Azhar upon his release from prison in India in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages. The group aims to annex the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan and expel international forces from Afghanistan. JeM has openly declared war against the United States.
Activities: JeM continues to operate openly in parts of Pakistan, conducting fatal attacks in the region, despite the country’s 2002 ban on its activities. JeM has claimed responsibility for several suicide car bombings in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including an October 2001 suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar that killed more than 30 people. The Indian government has publicly implicated JeM, along with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed nine people and injured 18 others.
In 2002, Pakistani authorities arrested and convicted a JeM member for the abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. In December 2003, Pakistan implicated JeM members in two assassination attempts against then-President Pervez Musharraf.
In 2016, Indian officials blamed JeM for a January attack on an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot where one civilian and seven Indian security force personnel were killed. In June 2017, Indian police stated JeM conducted multiple attacks against security forces in five locations across the state of Jammu and Kashmir, injuring more than a dozen people. Another attack in October left one member of the Indian Border Security Force and three JeM militants dead.
In February 2018, JeM claimed responsibility for killing nine Indian officers at the Sunjuwan military station. In December 2018, several JeM militants stormed a police outpost in the state of Jammu and Kashmir killing four police officers and injuring one.
Strength: JeM has at least several hundred armed supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: JeM operates in India, including the state of Jammu and Kashmir; Afghanistan; and Pakistan, particularly southern Punjab.
Funding and External Aid: To avoid asset seizures by the Pakistani government, since 2007 JeM has withdrawn funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and the production of consumer goods. JeM also collects funds through donation requests, sometimes using charitable causes to solicit donations.
Aka Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi; Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order; Armed Men of the Naqshabandi Order; Naqshbandi Army; Naqshabandi Army; Men of the Army of al-Naqshbandia Way; Jaysh Rajal al-Tariqah al-Naqshbandia; JRTN; JRN; AMNO.
Description: Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi (JRTN) was designated as a FTO in September 30, 2015. The group first announced insurgency operations against international forces in Iraq in December 2006 in response to the execution of Saddam Hussein. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former vice president of Saddam Hussein’s Revolutionary Council, leads the group, which consists of former Baath Party officials, military personnel, and Sunni nationalists. JRTN aims to overthrow the Government of Iraq, install a new Ba’athist regime, and end external influence in Baghdad.
Activities: Between its founding in 2006 and the 2011 withdrawal of Coalition Forces from Iraq, JRTN claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on U.S. bases and forces. JRTN also is known to have used VBIEDs against Iraqi government security forces.
In 2014, elements of JRTN joined military forces with ISIS in opposition to the Iraqi government. JRTN played a major role in the capture of Mosul from Iraqi security forces in 2014. However, fissures between ISIS and JRTN quickly emerged after ISIS’s advance in Baiji and Tikrit. Although some elements of JRTN splintered off, the majority of the organization was subsumed by ISIS. JRTN did not publicly claim any specific attacks from 2016 through 2018.
Strength: In 2013, the group was estimated to have about 5,000 fighters; membership is almost certainly much lower today.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based primarily in Iraq.
Funding and External Aid: JRTN historically received funding from former regime members, major tribal figures in Iraq, and from Gulf-based financiers of terrorism.
Aka JAT; Jemmah Ansharut Tauhid; Jem’mah Ansharut Tauhid; Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid; Jama’ah Ansharut Tauhid; Laskar 99.
Description: Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) was designated as a FTO on March 13, 2012. Formed in 2008, the Indonesia-based group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia and has carried out numerous attacks on Indonesian government personnel, police, military, and civilians. In 2011, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the founder and leader of JAT, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in organizing a militant training camp in Aceh. Ba’asyir is also the co-founder and former leader of Jemaah Islamiya (JI). JAT maintains ties to JI and other terrorist groups in Southeast Asia.
Activities: JAT has conducted multiple attacks targeting civilians and Indonesian officials, resulting in the deaths of numerous Indonesian police and innocent civilians. In December 2012, four police officers were killed and two wounded in an attack by suspected local JAT members in central Sulawesi. Since Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS in 2014, many JAT members have joined Indonesia’s ISIS-affiliated groups, while others have joined al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups. Although JAT did not publicly claim any attacks in 2016, 2017, or 2018, JAT members are believed to have been involved in ISIS operations in Southeast Asia.
Strength: JAT is estimated to have several thousand supporters and members. Internal disagreements over aligning with ISIS have likely reduced its membership.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based in Indonesia.
Funding and External Aid: JAT raises funds through membership donations and legitimate business activities. JAT also has conducted cyber hacking, robbed banks, and carried out other illicit activities to fund the purchase of assault weapons, ammunition, explosives, and bomb-making materials.
Aka Jemaa Islamiyah; Jema’a Islamiyah; Jemaa Islamiyya; Jema’a Islamiyya; Jemaa Islamiyyah; Jema’a Islamiyyah; Jemaah Islamiah; Jemaah Islamiyah; Jema’ah Islamiyah; Jemaah Islamiyyah; Jema’ah Islamiyyah; JI.
Description: Designated as a FTO on October 23, 2002, Jemaah Islamiya (JI) is a Southeast Asia-based terrorist group co-founded by Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir. The group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region. More than 400 JI operatives have been captured or killed since 2002, including operations chief and al-Qa’ida associate Hambali and, in January 2015, bomb-maker Zulfiki bin Hir (aka Marwan).
Activities: Significant JI attacks include the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 people, among them seven U.S. citizens; the August 2003 bombing of the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta; the September 2004 bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta; and the October 2005 suicide bombing in Bali, which left 26 dead.
In July 2009, a JI faction led by Noordin Mohamed Top claimed responsibility for suicide attacks at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta that killed seven people and injured more than 50, including seven U.S. citizens.
In January 2015, 44 policemen and three civilians were killed when a police counterterrorism squad was ambushed while conducting a raid in Mamasapano on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, in an attempt to arrest two JI members. In October 2015, two senior JI leaders – Zarkashi and JI military leader Abu Dujana – were released from prison after serving seven years each in Indonesian jails. There were no reported attacks by JI in 2016, 2017, or 2018.
Strength: Estimates of JI membership vary from 500 to several thousand members.
Location/Area of Operation: In its earlier years, JI focused its operations and presence in Indonesia, and it is beginning to regain its strength there. The group also has carried out attacks in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Funding and External Aid: JI fundraises through membership donations and criminal and business activities. It has received financial, ideological, and logistical support from Middle Eastern contacts and illegitimate charities and organizations.
Aka People’s Resistance Movement of Iran (PMRI); Jonbesh-i Moqavemat-i-Mardom-i Iran; Popular Resistance Movement of Iran; Soldiers of God; Fedayeen-e-Islam; Former Jundallah of Iran; Jundullah; Jondullah; Jundollah; Jondollah; Jondallah; Army of God (God’s Army); Baloch Peoples Resistance Movement (BPRM).
Description: Jundallah was designated as a FTO on November 4, 2010. Since its inception in 2003, Jundallah, which operates primarily in Sistan VA Balochistan province of Iran, and the Baloch areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, has engaged in numerous attacks, killing and maiming scores of Iranian civilians and government officials. Jundallah’s stated goals are to secure recognition of Balochi cultural, economic, and political rights from the Government of Iran, and to spread awareness of the plight of the Baloch people. Jundallah adopted the name Jaysh al-Adl in 2012 and has since claimed responsibility for attacks under that name.
Activities: Jundallah claimed responsibility for an October 2009 suicide bomb attack in the Sistan va Balochistan province that killed more than 40 people and was reportedly the deadliest terrorist attack in Iran since the 1980s. In a statement on its website, Jundallah also claimed responsibility for the December 15, 2010, suicide bomb attack inside the Iman Hussein Mosque in Chabahar, which killed an estimated 35 to 40 civilians and wounded 60 to 100. In July 2010, Jundallah attacked the Grand Mosque in Zahedan, killing about 30 people and injuring an estimated 300. In June 2018, Jundallah, operating under the name Jaysh al-Adl, reportedly killed three Iranian security personnel while trying to enter Iran from Pakistan. In October 2018, Jaysh al-Adl claimed responsibility for abducting 12 Iranian security personnel on the border with Pakistan.
Strength: Jundallah’s size is unknown. Iran’s 2010 execution of Jundallah’s leader in 2010, and the killing and arrest of many Jundallah fighters seriously diminished the group’s capacity to operate.
Location/Area of Operation: Jundallah has traditionally operated throughout the Sistan va Balochistan province in southeastern Iran and in the Balochistan area of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: Jundallah’s sources of support are unknown.
Aka American Friends of the United Yeshiva; American Friends of Yeshivat Rav Meir; Committee for the Safety of the Roads; Dikuy Bogdim; DOV; Forefront of the Idea; Friends of the Jewish Idea Yeshiva; Jewish Legion; Judea Police; Judean Congress; Kach; Kahane; Kahane Lives; Kahane Tzadak; Kahane.org; Kahanetzadak.com; Kfar Tapuah Fund; Koach; Meir’s Youth; New Kach Movement; Newkach.org; No’ar Meir; Repression of Traitors; State of Judea; Sword of David; The Committee Against Racism and Discrimination (CARD); The Hatikva Jewish Identity Center; The International Kahane Movement; The Jewish Idea Yeshiva; The Judean Legion; The Judean Voice; The Qomemiyut Movement; The Rabbi Meir David Kahane Memorial Fund; The Voice of Judea; The Way of the Torah; The Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea; Yeshivat Harav Meir.
Description: Radical Israeli-American Rabbi Meir Kahane founded Kach – the precursor to Kahane Chai (KC) – with the aim of restoring Greater Israel (Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza). Its offshoot, Kahane Chai (translation: “Kahane Lives”), was founded by Meir Kahane’s son Binyamin, following his father’s 1990 assassination. Both organizations were designated as FTOs on October 8, 1997. In 1994, the group was banned from running in Israeli elections.
Activities: KC has harassed and threatened Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli government officials, and vowed revenge for the December 2000 death of Binyamin Kahane and his wife. The group is suspected of involvement in a number of low-level attacks since the start of the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. KC was last linked to an attack in 2005, when a member of the terrorist group shot dead four people on a bus in Shfaram, Israel. The group was dormant in 2018.
Strength: Since 2005, KC’s core membership has been estimated to be fewer than 100. The group’s membership and support networks were overwhelmingly composed of Israeli citizens that lived mostly in West Bank settlements.
Location/Area of Operation: KC is based in Israel and West Bank settlements, particularly Qiryat Arba in Hebron.
Funding and External Aid: KC has received support from sympathizers in the United States and Europe.
Aka Hizballah Brigades; Hizballah Brigades in Iraq; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq; Kata’ib Hezbollah; Khata’ib Hezbollah; Khata’ib Hizballah; Khattab Hezballah; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq; Islamic Resistance in Iraq; Kata’ib Hizballah Fi al-Iraq; Katibat Abu Fathel al-A’abas; Katibat Zayd Ebin Ali; Katibut Karbalah.
Description: Formed in 2006 and designated as a FTO on July 2, 2009, Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) is an anti-Western Shia group with a terrorist ideology. Prior to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, the group conducted attacks against Iraqi, U.S., and Coalition targets in Iraq, and it threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians supporting the legitimate political process in Iraq. KH is notable for its extensive use of media operations and propaganda. For example, it has filmed and released videos of attacks. KH has ideological ties to and receives support from Iran.
Activities: KH has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks since 2007, including IED attacks, rocket-propelled grenade attacks, and sniper operations. In 2007, KH gained notoriety for its attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq. In June 2011, five U.S. soldiers were killed in Baghdad when KH assailants fired multiple rockets at U.S. military base, Camp Victory. The group remained active in 2015, fighting in Syria in support of the Assad regime, and in Iraq against ISIS. In June and July 2015, the group broadcast its recruitment contact information and an appeal for donations on a pro-Iran channel and on YouTube in an effort to recruit fighters to Syria and Iraq.
In 2016, KH continued to fight ISIS alongside the Iraqi army, but it operated outside the Iraqi government’s command-and-control structure. In 2017, the group threatened to fight “American occupiers” in Iraq, in an article published on the group’s official website. In 2018, the group issued a warning statement threatening the U.S. presence in Iraq in retaliation for a non-Coalition airstrike that hit KH members in Syria.
Strength: KH’s exact size is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based predominately in Iraq, but it also fights alongside pro-Assad regime forces in Syria.
Funding and External Aid: KH depends heavily on support from Iran.
Aka the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress; the Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan; KADEK; Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan; the People’s Defense Force; Halu Mesru Savunma Kuvveti; Kurdistan People’s Congress; People’s Congress of Kurdistan; KONGRAGEL.
Description: Founded by Abdullah Ocalan in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist separatist organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. The group, composed primarily of Turkish Kurds, launched a campaign of violence in 1984. The PKK’s original goal was to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey.
Activities: In the early 1990s, the PKK moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to engage in urban terrorism. Anatolia became the scene of significant violence, with some estimates suggesting at least 40,000 casualties. Following his capture in 1999, Ocalan announced a “peace initiative,” ordering members to refrain from violence and requesting dialogue with Ankara on Kurdish issues. The PKK foreswore violence until June 2004, when its hardline militant wing took control and renounced the self-imposed cease-fire. Striking over the border from bases within Iraq, the PKK engaged in terrorist attacks in eastern and western Turkey. In 2009, the Turkish government and the PKK resumed peace negotiations, but talks broke down after the PKK carried out an attack in July 2011 that left 13 Turkish soldiers dead. In 2012, the PKK claimed responsibility for multiple car bombings resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people. Between December 2012 and July 2015, the Turkish government and the PKK resumed peace negotiations, dubbed the “solution process.” They made significant progress, but the negotiations ultimately broke down – owing partly to domestic political pressures and the war in Syria.
Between January and mid-July 2015, the PKK carried out small-scale armed attacks against Turkey’s security forces and military bases. In August 2016, the group claimed a VBIED strike against Sirnak police headquarters, which killed 11 people and wounded more than 70 others. In January 2017, Turkish officials blamed the PKK for a car bomb and shooting outside of a courthouse that killed two people. In June 2017, the PKK attacked a military convoy in southeastern Turkey, using mortar and machine gun fire to kill more than 20 soldiers.
In 2018, numerous attacks by the PKK were reported against Turkey’s security forces including an attack claimed by the PKK in November 2018 against a Turkish army base, which resulted in dozens of causalities. Turkey’s Ministry of the Interior claimed that the PKK killed 27 civilians in Turkey in 2018.
Since 2015, the group has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security officials and civilians.
Strength: The PKK is estimated to consist of 4,000 to 5,000 members, 3,000 to 3,500 of whom are located in northern Iraq.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is located primarily in Turkey and Iraq. Affiliated groups operate in Syria and Iran.
Funding and External Aid: The PKK receives financial support from the large Kurdish diaspora in Europe.
Aka al Mansooreen; Al Mansoorian; Army of the Pure; Army of the Pure and Righteous; Army of the Righteous; Lashkar e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba; Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis; Paasban-e-Kashmir; Paasban-i-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Kashmir; Jamaat-ud-Dawa; JUD; Jama’at al-Dawa; Jamaat ud-Daawa; Jamaat ul-Dawah; Jamaat-ul-Dawa; Jama’at-i-Dawat; Jamaiat-ud-Dawa; Jama’at-ud-Da’awah; Jama’at-ud-Da’awa; Jamaati-ud-Dawa; Idara Khidmate-Khalq; Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; FiF; Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation; FalaheInsaniyat; Falah-i-Insaniyat; Falah Insania; Welfare of Humanity; Humanitarian Welfare Foundation; Human Welfare Foundation; Al-Anfal Trust; Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool; TehrikeTahafuz Qibla Awwal; Al-Muhammadia Students; Al-Muhammadia Students Pakistan; AMS; Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir; Kashmir Freedom Movement; Tehreek Azadi Jammu and Kashmir; Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir; TAJK; Movement for Freedom of Kashmir; Tehrik-i-Azadi-i Kashmir; Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Jammu and Kashmir; Milli Muslim League; Milli Muslim League Pakistan; MML.
Description: Designated as a FTO on December 26, 2001, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) is an anti-India-focused terrorist group. LeT formed in the late 1980s as the terrorist wing of Markaz ud Dawa ul-Irshad, a Pakistan-based extremist organization and charity originally formed to oppose the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. LeT is led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Shortly after LeT was designated as an FTO, Saeed changed the group’s name to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and launched humanitarian projects to circumvent sanctions. LeT disseminates its message through JUD’s media outlets. Since the creation of JUD, LeT has repeatedly changed its name in an effort to avoid sanctions.
Elements of LeT and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) combine with other groups like Hizbul Mujahideen to mount anti-India attacks. The Pakistani government banned LeT in January 2002 and temporarily arrested Hafiz Saeed following the 2008 Mumbai attack. On January 30, 2017, Pakistan placed Saeed under house arrest; however, he was released in November 2017 after a Lahore High Court judicial body rejected a government request to renew his detention.
Activities: LeT has conducted operations, including several high profile attacks, against Indian troops and civilian targets in the state of Jammu and Kashmir since 1993. The group also has attacked Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. LeT uses assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.
LeT was responsible for the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai against luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a train station, and a popular café that killed 166 people – including six U.S. citizens – and injured more than 300. India has charged 38 people in the case; most are at large, however, and thought to be in Pakistan.
In March 2010, Pakistani-American businessman David Headley pled guilty in a U.S. court to charges related to his role in the November 2008 LeT attacks in Mumbai, and to charges related to a separate plot to bomb the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Headley testified in the trials of other LeT supporters in 2011 and 2015.
LeT was behind a July 2015 attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab, which killed seven people. In August 2015, operatives affiliated with LeT attacked Indian security forces in Udhampur, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In December 2015, LeT carried out an attack on a paramilitary convoy after it left Srinagar, Kashmir; three militants opened fire on the convoy, injuring one civilian and seven Indian military personnel.
From February through May 2016, LeT was suspected of engaging in at least three firefights with Indian security forces in Kupwara district, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, injuring two Indian personnel. In June 2016, LeT was suspected of conducting an ambush on an Indian security force convoy in Pulwama district, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, killing eight and injuring 20. Some media reports also alleged the group’s involvement in the September 2016 attack on an Indian army camp in Uri, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir; 20 soldiers were killed in the attack.
In June 2017, LeT conducted an attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that left six police officers dead. The next month, LeT militants attacked a bus of pilgrims returning from the Amarnath Yatra shrine, killing seven people. In June 2018, LeT claimed responsibility for a suicide attack against an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district that killed three soldiers.
Strength: The precise size of LeT is unknown, but it has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces in Pakistan; and in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Location/Area of Operation: LeT has global connections and a strong operational network throughout South Asia. LeT maintains numerous facilities, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics in Pakistan. LeT is also active in Afghanistan.
Funding and External Aid: LeT collects donations in Pakistan and the Gulf as well as from other donors in the Middle East and Europe – particularly the United Kingdom, where it is a designated terrorist organization. In 2018, LeT and its front organizations continued to operate and fundraise in Pakistan.
Aka Army of Jhangvi; Lashkar e Jhangvi; Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.
Description: Designated as a FTO on January 30, 2003, Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ) is the terrorist offshoot of the Sunni Deobandi sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. LJ carries out anti-Shia and other sectarian attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan banned the group in August 2001 as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence, causing many LJ members to seek refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban, with whom the group had existing ties. After the collapse of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists and have provided them with safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities. LJ works closely with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan. LJ chief Asif Chotu was killed along with three other LJ militants in January 2017 in a police operation in Pakistan.
On May 16, 2018, LJ’s Balochistan chief, Salman Badini, and two other LJ militants were killed during a police raid in Quetta, Pakistan.
Activities: LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings and has admitted to numerous killings of Shia religious and community leaders in Pakistan. In January 1999, the group attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab province. Media reports linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a March 2002 grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad that killed two U.S. citizens.
In January 2014, at least 24 people were killed and 40 others wounded in a bus bombing by an LJ attack targeting Shia pilgrims. LJ also claimed responsibility for the December 2015 suicide bombing that targeted a market in the predominantly Shia town of Parachinar, Pakistan, that killed at least 23 people and wounded 50. In November 2016, two individuals suspected of belonging to LJ were arrested by police in Pakistan for their alleged involvement in 25 cases of targeted killings that included the murder of Pakistani singer Amjad Sabri, as well as army and police personnel. LJ did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2017 or 2018.
Strength: LJ’s membership is assessed to be in the low hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based primarily in Pakistan’s Punjab province, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas), Karachi, and Balochistan.
Funding and External Aid: Funding comes from wealthy donors in Pakistan, and the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. The group engages in criminal activity, including extortion, to fund its activities.
Aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers.
Description: Founded in 1976 and designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka. Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE’s international network of sympathizers and financial support has persisted.
Activities: Although largely inactive since 2009, the LTTE was responsible for an integrated insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan leaders. In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE’s key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi. In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighting forces, killed members of its leadership including leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, and declared military victory.
There have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka attributed to the LTTE since 2009, but 13 LTTE supporters, several of whom had allegedly planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014. Additional members were arrested in Malaysia and India in 2015, one of whom was accused of exhorting other Sri Lankans to fund and revive the LTTE.
Strength: The group’s exact strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The LTTE is based in Sri Lanka and India.
Funding and External Aid: The LTTE’s financial network of support continued after the group’s military defeat in 2009. The LTTE has employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for its activities.
Aka MSC; Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem; Mujahideen Shura Council; Shura al-Mujahedin Fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis; Majlis Shura al-Mujahidin; Majlis Shura alMujahideen; Magles Shoura al-Mujahddin.
Description: The Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) was designated as a FTO on August 19, 2014. The MSC is a consolidation of several Salafi terrorist groups based in Gaza that have claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israel since the group’s founding in 2012.
Activities: On August 13, 2013, MSC claimed responsibility for a rocket attack targeting the Israeli city of Eilat. Previously, MSC claimed responsibility for the March 21, 2013, attack in which Gaza-based militants fired at least five rockets at Sderot, Israel; and the April 17, 2013, attack in which two rockets were fired at Eilat. There were no known MSC attacks in 2018.
Strength: MSC is estimated to have several hundred fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Gaza.
Funding and External Aid: MSC’s sources of support are unknown.
Aka al-Mulathamun Brigade; al-Muwaqqi’un bil-Dima; Those Signed in Blood Battalion; Signatories in Blood; Those who Sign in Blood; Witnesses in Blood; Signed-in-Blood Battalion; Masked Men Brigade; Khaled Abu al-Abbas Brigade; al-Mulathamun Masked Ones Brigade; alMurabitoun; The Sentinels.
Description: The al-Mulathamun Battalion (AMB) was designated as a FTO on December 19, 2013. AMB was originally part of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), but became a separate organization in late 2012 after its leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, split from AQIM. After the split, Belmokhtar threatened to fight against Western interests and announced the creation of the sub-battalion, “Those Who Sign in Blood.” In August 2013, AMB and the Mali-based Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) announced that the two organizations would merge under the name “alMurabitoun.” In late 2015, AMB announced a re-merger with AQIM. In 2017, the Sahara Branch of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front came together to form Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin.
Activities: AMB’s “Those Who Sign in Blood” sub-battalion claimed responsibility for the January 2013 attack against the Tiguentourine gas facility near In Amenas, in southeastern Algeria. More than 800 people were taken hostage during the four-day siege, resulting in the deaths of 39 civilians, including three U.S. citizens. Seven other U.S. citizens escaped.
In May 2013, AMB cooperated with MUJAO in twin suicide bombings on a northern Nigerien military base and a French uranium mine in Arlit. The coordinated attacks killed at least 20 people, including all of the attackers.
In March 2015, AMB claimed responsibility for an attack at La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako, Mali. A French national, a Belgian national, and three Malians were killed when a masked gunman fired indiscriminately on the restaurant. AMB also claimed responsibility for the August hotel siege in central Mali; 17 people were killed, including four Malian soldiers and nine civilians. In November, AMB operatives participated in the strike against the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, taking more than 170 people hostage – including U.S. citizens. Nearly 27 people were killed in the attack, among them a U.S. international development worker.
AMB reportedly was involved in the AQIM January 2016 attack on a popular tourist hotel in Burkina Faso that killed nearly 30, including a U.S. citizen. In addition, AMB claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing at a military camp in Mali that killed more than 47 people and injured at least 115 in January 2017. In July 2018, AMB was involved in fighting against French forces in Mali.
Strength: AMB’s size is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, and Niger.
Funding and External Aid: In addition to the support it may receive through its connections to other terrorist organizations in the region, AMB is likely funded through kidnapping-for-ransom and other criminal activities.
Aka ELN; Ejército de Liberación Nacional.
Description: The National Liberation Army (ELN) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. The ELN is a Colombian Marxist-Leninist group formed in 1964. The ELN remains focused on attacking the security services and economic infrastructure – in particular oil and gas pipelines and electricity pylons – and on extorting foreign and local companies.
Activities: In 2016, the ELN continued to target Colombia’s infrastructure, particularly oil pipelines. The ELN also launched mortars at police stations and the military, placed explosive devices near roads, and engaged in sniper attacks, roadblocks, and ambushes.
In addition, the ELN continued to kidnap civilians and members of the security services.
Throughout 2017, the Government of Colombia and the ELN conducted peace talks but did not ultimately reach an agreement. Peace talks were intermittent throughout 2018 after being suspended in January following a series of bombings that killed several police officers and injured dozens more. The government indefinitely suspended talks in August 2018.
Strength: The group consists of about 1,500 combatants and an unknown number of supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based in the rural and mountainous areas of northern, northeastern, and southwestern Colombia, and the border regions with Venezuela.
Funding and External Aid: The ELN draws its funding from the illicit narcotics trade, extortion of oil and gas companies, and illegal mining. Additional funds are derived from kidnapping-for–ransom payments.
Aka Jabhat al-Nusrah; Jabhet al-Nusrah; The Victory Front; al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant; al-Nusrah Front in Lebanon; Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham min Mujahedi al-Sham fi Sahat al-Jihad; Support Front for the People of the Levant; Jabhat Fath al-Sham; Jabhat Fath al Sham; Jabhat Fatah al-Sham; Jabhat Fateh al-Sham; Front for the Conquest of Syria; the Front for liberation of al Sham; Front for the Conquest of Syria/the Levant; Front for the Liberation of the Levant; Conquest of the Levant Front; Fatah al-Sham Front; Fateh al-Sham Front; Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham; Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham; Hayat Tahrir al-Sham; HTS; Assembly for the Liberation of Syria; Assembly for Liberation of the Levant; Liberation of al-Sham Commission; Liberation of the Levant Organization; Tahrir al-Sham; Tahrir al-Sham Hay’at.
Description: Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) is al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria and was designated as a FTO on May 15, 2014. It is led by Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, also known as alJulani. The group was formed in late 2011 when then-al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) – now ISIS – leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent al-Jawlani to Syria to organize terrorist cells. In 2013, the group split from AQI and became an independent entity. ANF’s stated goal is to oust Syria’s Assad regime and replace it with a Sunni Islamic state. The group is present throughout Syria, but is concentrated in and controls a portion of territory in northwest Syria, where it is active as an opposition force, and exerts varying degrees of influence over local governance and external plotting.
In early 2017, ANF joined with four smaller Syrian factions and created Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) as a vehicle to advance its position in the Syrian insurgency and further its own goals as al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria. ANF used its Salvation Government in parts of Syria’s Idlib province to exert control and offer governance services.
Activities: ANF has been active in operations against other factions in the Syrian conflict. In 2016, the group carried out attacks in Aleppo and in other parts of Syria controlled by the Syrian army, killing both military officials and civilians. In July 2016, ANF leader Jawlani announced the group had adopted a new name, Jabhat Fath al-Sham, and would no longer be known as ANF. The Department of State amended the designation in November 2016 to add additional aliases, including Jabhat Fath al-Sham.
ANF continued to operate through HTS in pursuit of its objectives. In October, ANF launched an attack near the Turkish border against the Syrian army, killing several soldiers. In March, the group carried out multiple suicide bombings in Damascus, including suicide attacks using VBIEDs. ANF took control of significant portions of Idlib during 2017 and 2018, exerting severe military pressure over other local groups such as Ahrar ash-Sham and Nur ad-Din al-Zinki as it continued plotting against U.S. and allied interests.
ANF also operated in and around East Ghouta and Homs, Syria. In 2018, the group engaged in numerous skirmishes with the Assad regime and other rebel forces.
Strength: ANF influence and capability is believed to have shrunk in 2018, but the group still has an estimated 12,000 members.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based in Syria and Lebanon.
Funding and External Aid: ANF receives funding from a variety of sources, including kidnapping-for-ransom payments, taxes and fees on border crossings it controls, and donations from external Gulf-based donors. It also generates revenue by collecting fees from commercial traffic entering and exiting Idlib.
Aka PIJ; PIJ-Shaqaqi Faction; PIJ-Shallah Faction; Islamic Jihad of Palestine; Islamic Jihad in Palestine; Abu Ghunaym Squad of the Hizballah Bayt al-Maqdis; Al-Quds Squads; Al-Quds Brigades; Saraya al-Quds; Al-Awdah Brigades.
Description: Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. Formed by militant Palestinians in Gaza during the 1970s, PIJ is committed to the destruction of Israel through attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets and to the creation of an Islamic state in historic Palestine, including present day Israel.
Activities: PIJ terrorists have conducted numerous attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets. Although U.S. citizens have died in PIJ attacks, the group has not directly targeted U.S. interests. Between 2008 and 2011, PIJ primarily conducted rocket attacks and used other explosive devices to target southern Israel. Through 2014, PIJ operatives carried out attacks on Israeli buses in Tel Aviv. In March 2014, PIJ carried out a wave of rocket attacks into Israeli territory; up to 60 rockets may have reached Israel.
In early 2015, PIJ began re-arming and replenishing its ranks. In March of that year, reports suggested that roughly 200 new recruits between ages19 and 22 were undergoing training programs lasting anywhere from 36 days to six months. That same month, PIJ revealed its militants were smuggling weapons, including rockets and mortars made inside Gaza, through tunnels in Gaza, in preparation for future attacks against Israel. In May, Israeli forces blamed PIJ for firing a rocket that landed in Gan Yazne, a region close to the Gaza border. In August, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed PIJ operatives in Syria fired four rockets at the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee.
Over the course of 2016, PIJ continued to strike Israel, primarily through light arms fire at IDF patrols. In September, Israeli authorities arrested PIJ operative Mahmoud Yusuf Hasin Abu Taha upon his entry into Israel from Gaza, interrupting a PIJ plot to abduct and kill an IDF soldier, and carry out a mass-casualty attack on a reception hall in Beersheba. In 2017, PIJ praised numerous shootings, bombings, and other attacks in Israel that resulted in multiple deaths. In May and October of 2018, PIJ claimed responsibility for launching rockets into Israel from Gaza.
Strength: PIJ has close to 1,000 members.
Location/Area of Operation: PIJ operates primarily in Gaza, with a minimal presence in the West Bank and Israel. Other leaders reside in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.
Funding and External Aid: PIJ receives financial assistance and training primarily from Iran. PIJ has partnered with Iran- and Syria-sponsored Hizballah to carry out joint operations.
Aka PLF; PLF-Abu Abbas; Palestine Liberation Front.
Description: The Palestinian Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction (PLF) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. In the late 1970s, the PLF splintered from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. It later split into pro-Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Zaydan (aka Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad before Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Activities: The PLF was responsible for the 1985 attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer. The PLF was suspected of supporting terrorism against Israel by other Palestinian groups into the 1990s. In April 2004, Abu Abbas died of natural causes while in U.S. custody in Iraq. After not claiming an attack for 16 years, the PLF claimed responsibility for the March 14, 2008, assault against an Israeli military bus in Huwarah, Israel, and the shooting of an Israeli settler. On February 18, 2010, the PLF claimed responsibility for an IED attack against an Israel Defense Forces patrol, which caused minor injuries to a soldier; another IED was discovered during a search of the area. The group has not publicly claimed any attacks since 2016, but it continues to maintain a strong presence in many refugee camps in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria.
Strength: Estimates have placed membership between 50 and 500.
Location/Area of Operation: PLF leadership and members are based in Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank.
Funding and External Aid: PLF’s sources of support are unknown.
Aka PFLP; Halhul Gang; Halhul Squad; Palestinian Popular Resistance Forces; PPRF; Red Eagle Gang; Red Eagle Group; Red Eagles; Martyr Abu-Ali Mustafa Battalion.
Description: Designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a Marxist-Leninist group that was formed in 1967 by George Habash after splitting from the Arab Nationalist Movement. The group earned a reputation for large-scale international attacks in the 1960s and 1970s, including airline hijackings that killed at least 20 U.S. citizens.
Activities: The PFLP increased its operational activity during the Second Intifada. During that time, the group assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, carried out at least two suicide operations, and launched multiple joint operations with other Palestinian terrorist groups. Between 2008 and 2011, the PLFP claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza as well as mortar and rocket attacks fired from Gaza into Israel. In 2012, the Israeli Security Agency arrested several members of the PFLP for plotting to carry out attacks on IDF checkpoints and planning to conduct kidnappings.
On November 18, 2014, two Palestinians reportedly affiliated with the PFLP entered a Jerusalem synagogue and attacked Israelis with guns, knives, and axes, killing five people – including three U.S. citizens, and injuring 12. The next month, the PFLP claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks along the Lebanese-Israel frontier.
In August 2016, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the PFLP’s military wing, fired a rocket at the Israeli town of Sderot. No casualties or damages were reported.
In June 2017, three Palestinian militants launched an attack near Jerusalem’s Old City, stabbing and killing an Israeli border security agent. Two of the militants were PFLP members, although ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The PFLP did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018.
Strength: The group’s membership size is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: The PFLP operates in Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank.
Funding and External Aid: The PFLP’s sources of support are unknown.
Description: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. The PFLP-GC split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1968, claiming it wanted to concentrate more on resistance and less on politics. Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian army, has led the PFLP-GC since its founding. The PFLP-GC has close ties to both Syria and Iran.
Activities: The PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. The organization was known for cross-border terrorist attacks into Israel using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders. Since the early 1990s, the group has primarily focused on supporting Hizballah’s attacks against Israel, training members of other Palestinian terrorist groups, and smuggling weapons. More recently, the PFLP-GC has been implicated by Lebanese security officials in several rocket attacks against Israel. In 2009, the group was responsible for wounding two civilians in an armed attack in Nahariyya, Israel.
In November 2012, the PFLP-GC claimed responsibility for a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that injured 29 people, although four Palestine Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives later were arrested for the attack. In 2015, the PFLP-GC reportedly began fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria, while also receiving logistical and military aid from Hizballah and Iran.
Separately, in December 2015, the PFLP-GC took responsibility for rocket fire aimed at Israeli territory. The attack, in which at least three rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel, landed near Shlomi, a small town near the Lebanese frontier with Israel. Although the PFLP-GC did not carry out any attacks in 2018, the group remained an active participant in the Syrian conflict.
Strength: The group has several hundred members
Location/Area of Operation: The PFLP-GC’s political leadership is headquartered in Damascus, with bases in southern Lebanon and a presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. The group also maintains a small presence in Gaza.
Funding and External Aid: The PFLP-GC receives safe haven and logistical and military support from Syria and financial support from Iran.
Aka al-Qa’eda; Qa’idat al-Jihad (The Base for Jihad); formerly Qa’idat Ansar Allah (The Base of the Supporters of God); the Islamic Army; Islamic Salvation Foundation; The Base; The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites; The Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places; the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders; the Usama Bin Laden Network; the Usama Bin Laden Organization; al-Jihad; the Jihad Group; Egyptian al-Jihad; Egyptian Islamic Jihad; New Jihad.
Description: Designated as a FTO on October 8, 1999, al-Qa’ida (AQ) was established in 1988. The group helped finance, recruit, transport, and train fighters for the Afghan resistance against the former Soviet Union. AQ strives to eliminate Western influence from the Muslim world, topple “apostate” governments of Muslim countries, and establish a pan-Islamic caliphate governed by its own interpretation of Sharia law that would ultimately be at the center of a new international order. These goals remain essentially unchanged since the group’s 1996 public declaration of war against the United States. AQ leaders issued a statement in 1998 under the banner of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders,” saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens – civilian and military – and their allies everywhere. AQ merged with al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) in June 2001. Many AQ leaders have been killed in recent years, including Usama bin Laden in May 2011. As of 2018, AQ’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, remained at-large. In a 2018 video message, al-Zawahiri, called for jihad against the United States after the U.S. Embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Activities: AQ and its supporters conducted three bombings targeting U.S. troops in Aden, Yemen, in December 1992, and claimed responsibility for shooting down U.S. helicopters and killing U.S. soldiers in Somalia in 1993. AQ also carried out the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing up to 300 individuals and injuring more than 5,000. In October 2000, AQ conducted a suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden with an explosive-laden boat, killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors and injuring 39 others.
On September 11, 2001, 19 AQ members hijacked and crashed four U.S. commercial jets – two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon, and the last into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 civilians, police, and first responders were killed. The dead included U.S. and foreign citizens from at least 77 countries.
In a December 2011 video, al-Zawahiri claimed AQ was behind the kidnapping of U.S. aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan. Weinstein was held captive until his death in January 2015.
In September 2015, five senior AQ leaders were released from Iranian custody in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen. Of the five, Saif al Adel and Abu Mohammed al Masri are wanted for the August 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
In January 2016, al-Zawahiri publicly released two audio messages and one seven-page statement, condemning the Government of Saudi Arabia and its role in the Syrian conflict, encouraging AQ activity in Southeast Asia – especially Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and acknowledging support for its affiliate in Syria, al-Nusrah Front. On October 3, Abu al-Faraj al-Masri, a senior AQ leader involved in planning attacks, was killed in Syria.
In February 2017, AQ senior leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri was killed in Syria. In September 2017, a U.S. citizen was convicted in New York of charges related to supporting AQ to attack a U.S. military base in Afghanistan in 2009 using two truck bombs. In October 2017, al-Zawahiri released a video calling for jihadists around the world to conduct attacks against the United States. Al-Zawahiri released multiple recordings and videos in 2018 in which he continued to call for attacks against the United States.
Strength: In South Asia, AQ’s core has been seriously degraded. The death or arrest of dozens of mid- and senior-level AQ operatives, including Usama bin Laden, has disrupted communication, financial support, facilitation nodes, and several terrorist plots. AQ, however, remains a focal point of “inspiration” for a worldwide network of affiliated groups. Among them, alQa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Nusrah Front, al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and other terrorist groups, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Jihad Union, Lashkar i Jhangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahideen, and Jemaah Islamiya. In September 2014, al-Zawahiri announced the establishment of AQIS. Ongoing counterterrorism efforts by South Asian governments have seriously degraded AQIS. The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Haqqani Network also have ties to AQ. In addition, supporters and associates worldwide who are “inspired” by the group’s ideology may operate without direction from AQ central leadership.
Location/Area of Operation: AQ was based in Afghanistan until Coalition Forces removed the Taliban from power in late 2001. Subsequently, the group’s core leadership was based largely in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas), until Pakistani military operations in 2014 significantly degraded the group there. AQ affiliates – al-Nusrah Front, AQAP, AQIM, al-Shabaab, and AQIS – operate in Syria and Lebanon, Yemen, the TransSahara, Somalia, and Afghanistan and Pakistan, respectively.
Funding and External Aid: AQ primarily depends on donations from like-minded supporters, and from individuals who believe that their money is supporting a humanitarian cause. Some funds are diverted from Islamic charitable organizations.
Aka al-Qa’ida in the South Arabian Peninsula; al-Qa’ida in Yemen; al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Qa’ida Organization in the Arabian Peninsula; Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Jazirat al-Arab; AQAP; AQY; Ansar al-Shari’a; Sons of Abyan; Sons of Hadramawt; Sons of Hadramawt Committee; Civil Council of Hadramawt; and National Hadramawt Council.
Description: Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was designated as a FTO on January 19, 2010. In January 2009, the now-deceased leader of al-Qa’ida in Yemen, Nasir al-Wahishi, publicly announced that Yemeni and Saudi al-Qa’ida (AQ) operatives were working together under the banner of AQAP. The announcement signaled the rebirth of an AQ franchise that previously carried out attacks in Saudi Arabia. AQAP’s selfstated goals are to establish a caliphate and Sharia law in the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Middle East.
Activities: AQAP has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against both internal and foreign targets since its inception in January 2009, including a March 2009 suicide bombing against South Korean tourists in Yemen and the December 25, 2009, attempted attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan. In October 2010, AQAP claimed responsibility for a foiled plot to send explosive-laden packages to the United States by cargo planes. The parcels were intercepted in the United Kingdom and in the United Arab Emirates.
AQAP, operating under the alias Ansar al-Shari’a, carried out a May 2012 suicide bombing in Sana’a that killed 96 people. Also in May 2012, the media reported that AQAP allegedly planned to detonate a bomb aboard a U.S.-bound airliner using an IED.
In January 2015, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France, killing 12 people. One of the brothers, who had traveled to Yemen in 2011 and met with now-deceased Anwar al-Aulaqi, claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of AQAP.
Also in 2015, AQAP took advantage of Yemen’s deteriorating political and economic environment after the Houthis took over – and pushed the Government of Yemen out of – the capitol, Sana’a. The United States and several other countries closed their embassies amid the violence. In April, AQAP stormed the city of Mukalla, seizing control of government buildings, releasing terrorists from prison, and stealing millions from the central bank. From 2015 into 2016, AQAP consolidated its control over Mukalla and expanded its reach through large portions of Yemen’s south.
In early 2016, AQAP swept through southern Yemen, gaining control of al-Hawta, Azzan, and Habban in Lahij Governorate, and Mahfad and Ahwar in Abyan Governorate. By February 2016, AQAP controlled most of Yemen’s southeastern coast. The group lost control of Mukalla in April, when forces backed by the Saudi-led Coalition retook the port city, but these territorial losses did not significantly degrade AQAP’s capabilities, although they deprived the group of an important source of income.
AQAP also attempted to carry out multiple attacks targeting Yemeni government and security forces. In July 2016, two car bombs targeting security checkpoints outside Mukalla killed at least nine Yemeni soldiers and wounded many others.
In early 2017, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in a raid against AQAP leaders in Yemen. In June 2017, AQAP conducted an attack using a car bomb and guns at a Yemeni army camp, killing at least two soldiers. In 2018, AQAP senior leader, Khaled Batarfi, called on its supporters to “rise and attack” Americans “everywhere.”
Strength: AQAP fighters are estimated to be in the low thousands.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based in Yemen.
Funding and External Aid: AQAP’s funding historically has come from theft, robberies, oil and gas revenue, kidnap-for-ransom operations, and donations from like-minded supporters. After seizing Mukallah in April 2015, the group had access to additional sources of revenue, including the millions it stole from the central bank. This access continued until Mukallah was retaken by Yemeni government forces in April 2016.
Aka al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent; Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent.
Description: In September 2014, al-Qa’ida announced the establishment of a new AQ affiliate, al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). The Department of State designated AQIS on July 1, 2016 as a FTO. AQIS focuses on terrorist activity in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Its leader is Asim Umar, a former member of the FTO Harakat ul-Mujahideen.
Activities: AQIS claimed responsibility for the September 6, 2014, attack on a naval dockyard in Karachi, Pakistan, in which militants attempted to hijack a Pakistani Navy frigate to attack nearby U.S. warships. AQIS has also claimed attacks against human rights activists and secular writers in Bangladesh, including U.S. citizen Avijit Roy, U.S. Embassy local employee Xulhaz Mannan, and Bangladeshi nationals Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Ahmed Rajib Haideer, and A.K.M. Shafiul Islam. In September 2017, AQAP called on AQIS to launch more attacks on Burmese authorities, because of Burma’s policies towards Rohingya Muslims. AQIS did not claim responsibility for attacks in 2017 or 2018.
Strength: AQIS is estimated to have several hundred members.
Location/Area of Operations: AQIS members are thought to be located primarily in Afghanistan, with elements operating in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
Funding and External Aid: AQIS likely receives funding from al-Qa’ida senior leadership and engages in general criminal activity, kidnapping, and extortion.
Aka AQIM; GSPC; Le Groupe Salafiste Pour la Predication et le Combat; Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat; Salafist Group for Call and Combat; Tanzim al-Qa’ida fi Bilad alMaghrib al-Islamiya.
Description: The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) was designated as a FTO on March 27, 2002. The Department of State amended the GSPC designation on February 20, 2008, after the GSPC officially joined with al-Qa’ida (AQ) in September 2006 and became al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Although AQIM remains largely a regionally focused terrorist group, it has adopted a more anti-Western rhetoric and ideology. The group aspires to overthrow “apostate” African regimes and create an Islamic state. Abdelmalek Droukdel, also known as Abu Mus’ab Abd al-Wadoud, is the group’s leader.
Activities: Following AQIM’s 2007 bombing of the UN headquarters building and an Algerian government building in Algiers, which killed 60 people, AQIM’s northern leadership was contained to northeastern Algeria, while the group’s southern battalions focused mostly on kidnapping-for-ransom efforts. In 2011 and 2012, however, AQIM took advantage of the deteriorating security situation across Libya, Mali, and Tunisia to plan and conduct expanded operations. Terrorists with ties to AQIM were involved in the September 11, 2012, attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Embassy staff members. In April 2014, AQIM killed 14 Algerian soldiers in an ambush east of Algiers.
In January 2015, AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack on a UN vehicle in Kidal, Mali, which wounded seven peacekeepers. Also in 2015, AQIM twice attacked UN convoys near Timbuktu, Mali, with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades; three peacekeepers were killed in a May attack and six peacekeepers were killed in a July attack. In November 2015, AQIM, in cooperation with other terrorist groups, attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, taking more than 170 hostages, including U.S. citizens. As many as 27 people were killed in the attack, among them a U.S. international development worker.
In January 2016, AQIM carried out an attack on a hotel in Burkina Faso that resulted in 28 deaths; 56 people were injured. In March 2016, AQIM claimed responsibility for a strike on a popular tourist beach resort in Cote d’Ivoire that killed at least 16 people and wounded another 33.
AQIM also has continued to conduct kidnapping-for-ransom operations. Its targets are typically Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of paying ransom for the release of individuals. In November 2014, AQIM released a video of two Western hostages (a Dutch national and a French national), who were later released in December 2014.
In January 2017, AQIM conducted a suicide attack that left more than 50 people dead in Gao, Mali. In July 2018, AQIM claimed responsibility for a vehicle suicide attack on an army patrol in Gao that killed four civilians and wounded 31 others, including four French soldiers.
Strength: AQIM has an estimated 1,000 fighters operating in the Sahel, including Algeria, northern Mali, southwest Libya, and Niger. However, AQIM has been reorganizing and expanding in recent years.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is based in southern and eastern Algeria (including isolated parts of the Kabylie region), Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, northern Mali, Niger, and Tunisia. Since the French intervention in northern Mali, AQIM’s safe haven in northern Mali is less tenable for the organization and elements have moved to remote regions of northern Mali or to southwestern Libya.
Funding and External Aid: AQIM members engage in kidnapping-for-ransom and other criminal activities to finance their operations. AQIM also successfully fundraises globally, and the group received limited financial and logistical assistance from supporters residing in Western Europe.
Aka RIRA; Real Irish Republican Army; 32 County Sovereignty Committee; 32 County Sovereignty Movement; Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association; Real Oglaigh Na hEireann.
Description: The Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) was designated as a FTO on May 16, 2001. The group was formed in 1997 as the clandestine armed wing of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, a “political pressure group” dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. The RIRA has historically sought to disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process and did not participate in the September 2005 weapons decommissioning. Despite internal rifts and calls by some jailed members (including the group’s founder Michael “Mickey” McKevitt) for a cease-fire and disbandment, the RIRA has pledged additional violence and has continued to conduct attacks.
Activities: Many RIRA members are former Provisional Irish Republican Army members who left the organization after the group renewed its cease-fire in 1997. These members brought extensive experience in terrorist tactics and bomb-making to the group. Targets have included civilians (the most notorious example is the Omagh bombing in August 1998), British security forces, and police officers in Northern Ireland. The Independent Monitoring Commission, which oversees the peace process, assessed that RIRA likely was responsible for the majority of the attacks that occurred after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was decommissioned in Northern Ireland.
In May 2015, Irish police carried out 20 searches aimed at known dissident republicans across Ireland. Six individuals with links to the RIRA and the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) were arrested after police discovered explosive devices. In spring 2016, the RIRA bombed the van of an Irish prison officer in east Belfast; the officer died from complications following the attack. Dublin police also linked the RIRA to a cache of explosives they found in Dublin in April 2016.
In January 2017, RIRA gunmen fired at police officers in north Belfast, injuring one officer. RIRA did not publicly claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018.
Strength: The Irish government reports that the RIRA has roughly 100 active members. The organization may receive limited support from IRA hardliners and sympathizers who are dissatisfied with the IRA’s cease-fire and with Sinn Fein’s involvement in the peace process.
Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Funding and External Aid: The RIRA is suspected of receiving funds from sympathizers in the United States and of attempting to buy weapons from U.S. gun dealers. The RIRA reportedly purchased sophisticated weapons from the Balkans and occasionally collaborated with the CIRA.
Aka FARC; Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.
Description: Founded in 1964 and designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was Latin America’s oldest, largest, and bestequipped terrorist organization. The FARC was responsible for large numbers of kidnappings-for-ransom in Colombia and held as many as 700 hostages in the past. In November 2016, after four years of negotiation in Havana, Cuba, the Colombian government and FARC reached a peace agreement, which later was approved by Colombia’s Congress, putting in motion a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process. In accordance with the peace agreement, the great majority of FARC combatants disarmed and demobilized between December 2016 and August 2017 under UN supervision, with roughly 7,000 FARC members turning in more than 9,000 weapons. Roughly 3,500 additional ex-combatants are participating in peace accord reincorporation programs. Nevertheless, a troubling number of FARC members chose not to participate in the peace process and others have since abandoned the process. These individuals are often referred to as FARC dissidents.
Activities: Over the years, the FARC has perpetrated many high-profile terrorist acts, including the 1999 murder of three U.S. missionaries working in Colombia, and multiple kidnappings and assassinations of Colombian government officials and civilians. In July 2008, the Colombian military conducted a dramatic rescue of 15 high-value FARC hostages including U.S. Department of Defense contractors Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howe, who were held captive for more than five years, along with former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.
The FARC did not claim any attacks in 2018, but there have been reports of continued extortion and violent criminal activities by FARC dissidents not participating in the 2016 peace agreement.
Strength: Before the peace accord, the FARC was estimated to have 7,000 armed members, with several thousand additional supporters.
Location/Area of Operation: FARC leaders and combatants were located in Colombia.
Funding and External Aid: Before the peace accord, the FARC has been funded primarily by extortion and the international drug trade. FARC dissidents continue such activities.
Aka DHKP/C; Dev Sol; Dev Sol Armed Revolutionary Units; Dev Sol Silahli Devrimci Birlikleri; Dev Sol SDB; Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi; Devrimci Sol; Revolutionary Left.
Description: Designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was formed originally in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of Dev Genc (Revolutionary Youth). It was renamed in 1994 after factional infighting. “Party” refers to the group’s political activities and “Front” alludes to the group’s militant operations. The group advocates a Marxist-Leninist ideology and opposes the United States, NATO, and the Turkish establishment. It strives to establish a socialist state and to abolish Turkish prisons.
Activities: Since the late 1980s, the group has primarily targeted current and retired Turkish security and military officials. In 1990, the group began to conduct attacks against foreign interests, including U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities. The DHKP/C assassinated two U.S. military contractors and wounded a U.S. Air Force officer in the 1990s, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities. DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its repertoire in 2001, with attacks against Turkish police in January and September of that year. Since the end of 2001, DHKP/C has typically used IEDs against official Turkish and U.S. targets.
After the death of its leader, Dursun Karatas, the DHKP/C reorganized in 2009 and was reportedly in competition with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party for influence in Turkey. The group was responsible for many high-profile attacks in 2012 that included a suicide bombing of a police station in Istanbul. This tactic continued in 2013 when, on February 1, a DHKP/C operative exploded a suicide vest inside the employee entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. The explosion killed a Turkish guard and seriously wounded a Turkish journalist. In March 2013, three members of the group attacked the Ministry of Justice and the Ankara headquarters of the Turkish Justice and Development political party using grenades and rocket launchers.
In 2015, the DHKP/C claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed a police officer and wounded another. In March, Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was taken hostage and died from multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by the DHKP/C after police attempted to rescue him. In August, two women opened fire on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul; one woman was identified as a member of the DHKP/C.
On January 20, 2017, a DHKP/C militant launched an anti-tank missile into Istanbul police headquarters, which did not result in any deaths or injuries. Turkish police initiated a series of raids after the attack and apprehended the militant two days later.
In November 2018, a court in Istanbul issued an arrest warrant for members of the DHKP/C who were believed to be in Europe and connected with the 2015 death of Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz.
Strength: Membership includes an estimated several dozen members inside Turkey, with a support network throughout Europe.
Location/Area of Operation: DHKP/C is located in Turkey, primarily in Adana, Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir. Other members reside and plan operations in European countries.
Funding and External Aid: The DHKP/C finances its activities chiefly through donations and extortion. The group raises funds primarily in Europe.
Aka RS; Epanastatikos Aghonas; EA.
Description: Designated as a FTO on May 18, 2009, Revolutionary Struggle (RS) is a radical Marxist extremist group that has conducted attacks against both Greek and U.S. targets in Greece. RS emerged in 2003 following the arrests of members of two other Greek Marxist groups, 17 November and Revolutionary People’s Struggle.
Activities: RS first gained notoriety when it claimed responsibility for the September 5, 2003, bombings at the Athens Courthouse during the trials of 17 November members. From 2004 to 2006, RS carried out IED attacks that included a March 2004 attack outside a Citibank office in Athens. RS claimed responsibility for the January 2007 rocket-propelled grenade attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens, which damaged the building, and the March 2009 bombing of a Citibank branch in Athens.
The Greek government has made significant strides in curtailing the group’s terrorist activity. On April 10, 2010, Greek police arrested six suspected RS members, including purported leader Nikos Maziotis, who later escaped. On April 3, 2013, five RS members were convicted by an Athens appeals court, three of them receiving maximum prison sentences. Maziotis and another accused RS conspirator, Paula Roupa, were convicted in absentia. Before Maziotis’s recapture, RS conducted a bomb attack outside a Bank of Greece office in Athens in April 2014; the blast caused extensive damage to surrounding structures but no casualties.
In March 2016, a Greek court sentenced Maziotis to life in prison plus 129 years. In July 13, 2018, his partner, Roupa, was sentenced to life and 25 years imprisonment for the 2014 bomb attack.
Strength: The group’s size is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: RS is based in Athens, Greece.
Funding and External Aid: The group’s funding sources are unknown, but it most likely supports itself by means of criminal activities, including bank robbery.
Aka The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin; al-Shabab; Shabaab; the Youth; Mujahidin al-Shabaab Movement; Mujahideen Youth Movement; Mujahidin Youth Movement; al-Hijra, Al Hijra, Muslim Youth Center, MYC, Pumwani Muslim Youth, Pumwani Islamist Muslim Youth Center.
Description: Al-Shabaab was designated as a FTO on March 18, 2008. Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the former Somali Islamic Courts Council that took over parts of southern Somalia during the second half of 2006. Since the end of 2006, al-Shabaab and associated militias have engaged in violent insurgency using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the transitional governments of Somalia.
Al-Shabaab is an official al-Qa’ida (AQ) affiliate and has ties to other AQ affiliates, including alQa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb. The group’s leader is Ahmed Diriye aka Ahmed Umar aka Abu Ubaidah.
Al-Shabaab is composed of Somali recruits and foreign terrorist fighters. Since 2011, al-Shabaab has seen its military capacity reduced owing to the efforts of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces, and clashes within the group itself. Despite al-Shabaab’s loss of urban centers since 2012, the group has maintained its hold on large sections of rural areas throughout Somalia and has conducted attacks in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti.
Activities: Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to exploit divisions in Somalia and undermine the Somali government, recruit new fighters, extort funding from local populations, and kill activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue. The group has claimed responsibility for several high profile bombings and shootings throughout Somalia targeting AMISOM troops and Somali officials. Al-Shabaab has assassinated numerous civil society figures, government officials, journalists, international aid workers, and members of non-governmental organizations.
Al-Shabaab was responsible for the July 11, 2010, suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda – its first attack outside of Somalia. The attack, which took place during the World Cup, killed 76 people, including a U.S. citizen. In September 2013, al-Shabaab again expanded its area of operations when it staged a significant attack against the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The multi-day siege resulted in the deaths of at least 65 civilians, including foreign nationals from 13 countries and six soldiers and police officers; hundreds of others were injured. In April 2015, al-Shabaab carried out a raid with small arms and grenades on Kenya’s Garissa University College that left 148 people dead.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for one of the deadliest attacks against AMISOM troops in Somalia in January 2016. Using a VBIED and small arms fire, al-Shabaab massed against a Kenyan AMISOM base and killed more than 100 soldiers. In February 2016, al-Shabaab attempted to down Daallo Airlines Flight 321 with 74 passengers on board, but only the suicide bomber was killed in the explosion. Al-Shabaab carried out a series of raids in northeast Kenya in October 2016, including one attack that killed at least 12 people at a guesthouse in Mandera, and in November, the group claimed responsibility for a car bombing targeting an army convoy near Parliament in Mogadishu that killed at least two soldiers and injured another five.
Al-Shabaab continued a steady pace of attacks in 2017. In January, a car bomb killed 39 people in a busy section of the capital, Mogadishu. A similar attack in the capital killed more than a dozen people in March. In June, an estimated 20 people were killed by means of a car bomb and shooting at a hotel and adjacent restaurant. In October, although the group did not claim responsibility, it is believed that al-Shabaab conducted a double truck bombing in a Mogadishu intersection with heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic that killed more than 500 people and injured 300 others.
In July 2018, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack on Somalia’s interior ministry compound, killing at least nine people. In September 2018, al-Shabaab was implicated in an attack on Somalia’s capital that left at least six people dead. In November 2018, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack in which suicide attackers set off two car bombs at a hotel near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department in Mogadishu, killing at least 17 people.
Strength: Al-Shabaab is estimated to have between 7,000 and 9,000 members.
Location/Area of Operation: Al-Shabaab has lost full control of major urban centers in Somalia. In September 2012, the group lost control of Kismayo, a vital port it used to obtain supplies and funding through taxes. In October 2014, al-Shabaab lost another strategic port in Baraawe to AMISOM and Somali troops. Despite these losses, throughout 2018, al-Shabaab continued to control large swaths of rural areas in the middle and lower Juba regions, as well as the Gedo, Bakol, Bay, and Shabelle regions. Al-Shabaab also maintained its presence in northern Somalia along the Golis Mountains and within Puntland’s larger urban areas, and launched several attacks against targets in the border regions of Kenya in 2018.
Funding and External Aid: While al-Shabaab has seen its income diminish owing to the loss of the strategic port cities of Baraawe, Kismayo, and Merka, it still receives enough income to launch attacks throughout Somalia, including against AMISOM bases and other civilian targets. Al-Shabaab obtains funds through illegal charcoal production and exports, taxation of local populations and businesses, and by means of remittances and other money transfers from the Somali diaspora (although these funds are not always intended to support al-Shabaab members).
Aka SL; Sendero Luminoso; Ejército Guerrillero Popular (People’s Guerrilla Army); EGP; Ejército Popular de Liberación (People’s Liberation Army); EPL; Partido Comunista del Peru (Communist Party of Peru); PCP; Partido Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui); Socorro Popular del Peru (People’s Aid of Peru); SPP.
Description: The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso or SL) was designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997. The Peru-based terrorist organization was formed in the late 1960s by former university professor Abimael Guzman, whose teachings created the foundation of SL’s militant Maoist doctrine. In the 1980s, SL was one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere. In 1992, the Peruvian government captured Guzman who, along with key accomplices, is serving a life sentence in prison. SL is now led by brothers Victor and Jorge Quispe Palomino as well as Tarcela Loya Vilchez. Under their direction, the group aims to overthrow the Peruvian government and names the United States as a principal enemy.
Activities: SL committed 13 terrorist attacks in 2015, in comparison with 20 terrorist acts in 2014 and 49 in 2013. In 2016, SL terrorist attacks declined further. On April 9, 2016, the group attacked a six-vehicle military caravan transporting election materials ahead of the country’s election; eight soldiers and two civilian contractors were killed by SL members armed with long-range rifles and grenades. In separate incidents in 2017, SL killed several policemen in an area where the group controls territory and facilitates drug trafficking.
In June 2018, six soldiers were wounded by SL sharpshooters at the Nueva Libertad military base. Also in June, a group of SL members killed five soldiers and wounded one in an attack at the Nueva Libertad military base in the region of Junín. In the same month, SL members attacked a police vehicle using a roadside bomb, killing four policemen.
Strength: Estimates of SL’s strength vary, but experts assess SL to number between 250 and 300 combatants.
Location/Area of Operation: The group is located in Peru. Almost all its activity takes place in rural areas, specifically the Apurimac, Ene, and Montaro River Valleys of eastern Peru, often referred as the VRAEM.
Funding and External Aid: SL is primarily funded by the illicit narcotics trade.
Aka Pakistani Taliban; Tehreek-e-Taliban; Tehrik-e-Taliban; Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan; TTP.
Description: Designated as a FTO on September 1, 2010, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a Pakistan- and Afghanistan-based terrorist organization formed in 2007 to oppose Pakistani military efforts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas). Previously disparate tribal militants agreed to cooperate and eventually coalesced into TTP under the leadership of now-deceased leader Baitullah Mehsud. Mullah Fazlullah headed the group until his death in June 2018. TTP then named Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud as the group’s new leader. TTP entered into peace talks with the Pakistani government in early 2014, but the talks collapsed in June of that year. In October 2014, the chief spokesperson and five regional commanders defected from TTP and publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS.
TTP aims to push the Government of Pakistan out of Khyber Pakhtunkwa province and establish Sharia law by waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistani military and state. TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to train and deploy its operatives, and the group has ties to al-Qa’ida (AQ). TTP draws ideological guidance from AQ, while elements of AQ rely in part on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistani border. This arrangement has given TTP access to both AQ’s global terrorist network and its members’ operational expertise.
Activities: TTP has carried out and claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani and U.S. interests, including a December 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Khost, Afghanistan, which killed seven U.S. citizens; and an April 2010 suicide bombing against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed six Pakistani citizens. TTP is suspected of involvement in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. TTP directed and facilitated Faisal Shahzad’s failed attempt to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010.
Between 2011 and 2018, TTP continued to carry out attacks against the Government of Pakistan and Pakistani civilian targets, and against U.S. targets in Pakistan. In 2012, TTP carried out attacks against a mosque, a police checkpoint, a Pakistani Air Force base, and a bus carrying Shia Muslims. In 2013, TTP attacked churches, the home of a government minister in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, and a Shia neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan. TTP’s attacks in 2013 killed and wounded hundreds of civilians and Pakistani government and law enforcement officials. In 2014, TTP targeted military and police convoys, bazaars, buses, and schools. The group carried out two consecutive attacks against Karachi’s international airport and a siege on a primary school in Peshawar, Pakistan that killed 145 people, 132 of whom were children. Throughout 2015, TTP focused many of its small-scale attacks on Pakistani government and law enforcement officials by targeting convoys, government buildings, motorcades, and police checkpoints. The group also bombed a Shia mosque near Peshawar and conducted suicide bombings at two churches in Lahore. In 2016, the group continued carrying out attacks, claiming responsibility for a December attack that left the Deputy Superintendent of the police counterterrorism department dead and his son injured in an attack on their vehicle in Peshawar.
TTP attacks in 2017 included several suicide bombings, among them a February attack that targeted a protest in Lahore, a March attack on a mosque in northwestern Pakistan, and a July attack in Lahore that killed 26 people. In December 2017, TTP militants disguised as women stormed an agricultural training school in Peshawar, leaving nine dead including the attackers.
TTP’s attacks continued in 2018. In February 2018, TTP claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that resulted in the deaths of at least 11 Pakistani security personnel in Swat, Pakistan. TTP also claimed responsibility for a March 2018 suicide bombing that targeted a checkpoint on the outskirts of Lahore, resulting in the deaths of four police officers and two civilians.
Strength: The group consists of several thousand fighters.
Location/Area of Operation: TTP operates in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Funding and External Aid: TTP likely raises most of its funds through kidnapping-for–ransom payments, extortion, and other criminal activity.
Delisted Foreign Terrorist Organizations
Date Originally Designated
|Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine -Hawatmeh Faction||
|Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front Dissidents||
|Japanese Red Army||
|Tupac Amaru Revolution Movement||
|Armed Islamic Group (GIA)||
|Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)||
|Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)||
|United Self Defense Forces of Colombia||
|Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N)||
|Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)||
|Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)||
Source: United States Department of State.