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UNDERSTANDING TERRORISM

Terrorist Groups Worldwide


ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL SCHMID / THE SEATTLE TIMES
U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have identified numerous terrorist groups worldwide. Not all are known to have a direct link to Osama bin Laden. Some export terrorism, specifically targeting Western allies and interests.

• Al Qaeda, many countries
The name of bin Ladenís group means ďthe base.Ē Founded in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, it is one of the two main members of the International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusades, an alliance bin Laden unveiled in 1998 that he said was formed to kill Americans and destroy U.S. interests around the world.

• The Egyptian Jihad, or Holy War, Egypt
Led by Ayman al-Zawahri, bin Ladenís top lieutenant. Blamed for assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Group split when al-Zawahri announced decision to join bin Ladenís International Front, with some members fearing it would draw too much attention from the United States. After the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, several jihad leaders were arrested abroad and sent to Egypt.

• Gamaa Al-Islamiya (The Islamic Group), Egypt
Egyptís biggest radical Muslim group, led a 1992-97 violent campaign to set up a purist Islamist state. Killed dozens of tourists near Luxor in 1997. After a government crackdown, the group called a truce in March 1998. But several members of the group are believed to have been recruited by bin Laden.

• Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Algeria
The group was formed after Algerian authorities canceled elections that Islamic activists were poised to win, touching off conflict that has left more than 100,000 dead. GIA was set up by Algerians who fought alongside bin Laden against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Bin Laden is suspected of using his network in Europe and it has been linked to a Canadian cell involving Ahmed Ressam, the would-be millennium bomber caught crossing the border at Port Angeles in 1999.

• Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), Israel and occupied West Bank/Gaza
Set up in the early days of the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, between 1987-93, it has launched several suicide attacks in Israel and Israeli targets in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. It is also the largest Palestinian political group after Palestinian President Yasser Arafatís Fatah movement.

• Hezbollah (Party of God), Lebanon
Hezbollah was founded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards after Israelís 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The group developed the use of suicide-bomb attacks in the 1980s against Israeli targets and was suspected of bombings against U.S. military and diplomatic targets in Lebanon. Hezbollah guerrillas, also backed by Syria, were the main force behind Israel ending its 22-year occupation of south Lebanon in May last year.

PROJECT EDITORS: MARK HIGGINS, ROB DAVILA / THE SEATTLE TIMES
RESEARCH: KATHERINE LONG / THE SEATTLE TIMES
SOURCES: WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS




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