Patterns of Global Terrorism. Editor: Anna Sabasteanski. Volume 1, Berkshire Publishing, 2005.
The Year in Review
In most countries, the level of international terrorism in 1995 continued the downward trend of recent years, and there were fewer terrorist acts that caused deaths last year than in the previous year. However, the total number of international terrorist acts rose in 1995 from 322 to 440, largely because of a major increase in nonlethal terrorist attacks against property in Germany and in Turkey by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). (The PKK also committed lethal acts of terrorism.) The decline in lethal acts of international terrorism was not matched by a reduction in domestic terrorism or other forms of political violence that continued at a high level.
International terrorist attacks against US interests rose to 99 in 1995 from 66 in 1994, and the number of US citizens killed rose from four to 12. The total number of fatalities from international terrorism worldwide declined from 314 in 1994 to 165 in 1995, but the number of persons wounded increased by a factor of ten—to 6,291 persons; 5,500 were injured in a gas attack in the Tokyo subway system in March.
Significant acts of international terrorism during the year were:
- Two US employees of the US Consulate in Karachi, Jacqueline Keys Van Landingham and Gary C. Durell, were killed on 8 March when their shuttle bus came under armed attack. A third employee, Mark McCloy, was injured.
- On 20 March members of the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo placed containers of the deadly chemical nerve agent sarin on five trains of the Tokyo subway system during the morning rush hour. The cultists then punctured the containers, releasing poisonous gas into the trains and subway stations. The attack killed 12 persons, but despite the extreme toxicity of sarin, 5,500 escaped with injuries, including two US citizens. The attack was the first major use of chemical weapons by terrorists.
- Two US missionaries, Steve Welsh and Timothy Van Dyke, were killed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) during a confrontation with a Colombian Army patrol on 19 June, The guerrillas kidnapped the two New Tribes Mission members in January 1994 initially to force the withdrawal of US military personnel engaged in military assistance projects in Colombia. FARC later changed this demand to a monetary ransom. Four other US citizens still were held hostage by guerrillas in Colombia as of the end of 1995.
- On 26 June gunmen attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during his visit to Ethiopia. The attempt was foiled by Ethiopian counterterrorist forces and Egyptian security forces. Al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group or IG) claimed responsibility, and the suspects are believed to have fled to Sudan.
- Terrorists bombed the Riyadh headquarters of the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabian National Guard on 13 November, killing seven people, including five US citizens, and seriously injuring 42 others.
Western Europe experienced more international terrorist attacks during 1995 than any other region. However, most of the 272 incidents that occurred there were the low-level PKK arson attacks mentioned above. There were only 11 attacks in Western Europe that were lethal, that is, that resulted in the death of one or more victims.
In Israel, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish Israeli extremist in November, and Palestinian terrorists continued a series of massive suicide bombings and shootings in Israel, killing 47.
A high level of terrorism continued in Algeria by the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), and terrorists probably associated with the GIA launched a series of bombings or attempted bombings in France.
There was no known international involvement in the 19 April bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people and wounded more than 500.
Twelve US citizens were killed in international terrorist attacks last year. In addition to the two US Consulate employees killed in Karachi, the two missionaries killed in Colombia, and the five citizens killed in Riyadh, a US tourist was murdered in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, a US citizen was killed in a suicide attack on an Israeli bus in Gaza, and another died in a similar attack on a bus in Jerusalem. Forty-eight US citizens were wounded during all of 1995.
Various foreign governments cooperated with the United States in 1995 in arresting and transferring to US custody major international terrorist suspects wanted for alleged violation of US counterterrorism laws. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who is under indictment as a key figure in the bombing in 1993 of the World Trade Center in New York City, was arrested and extradited to the United States by Pakistan in February. In August, Eyad Mahmoud Ismail Najim, a suspected accomplice of Yousef’s in the New York bombing, was rendered to the United States by Jordan. In April, Abdul Hakim Murad was arrested and handed over to US custody by the Philippines for suspected involvement with Yousef in a plot to blow up US aircraft over Asia, and Wali Khan Amin Shah—another suspected coconspirator in this plot—was rendered to the United States by another foreign government in December.
On 1 October, Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman and nine codefendants were convicted in Manhattan federal court of conspiring to bomb the United Nations, the FBI building in New York, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and other New York landmarks, and for the terrorist bombing in 1993 of the World Trade Center. Abd al-Rahman, known as the “Blind Shaykh,” also was found guilty of plotting to murder Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and defendant El Sayyid Nosair also was convicted of “murder in aid of racketeering” in relation to the death of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990. Trial evidence showed that Abd al-Rahman was the leader of an organization whose aim was to wage a self-styled “holy war” of terror against the United States because he considered it an enemy of Islam. Abd al-Rahman and Nosair were sentenced to life in prison; the others received prison terms ranging from 25 to 57 years.
Senior HAMAS official Musa Abu Marzuq, who is suspected of involvement in terrorist activities in Israel, was detained in New York on 25 July as he tried to enter the United States—where he had lived previously as a legal permanent resident—after immigration officials found his name on a watchlist of suspected terrorists. Israel has requested his extradition. At year’s end, that request was pending before US courts.
Ten international terrorist attacks occurred in Africa last year, down from 24 during 1994. Ethiopia was the scene of an attempted assassination of visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by members of an Egyptian terrorist group. Other attacks—primarily kidnappings—occurred in Angola, Chad, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.
The United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM) was attacked by unknown perpetrators on 11 November. Two handgrenades were thrown into the UNAVEM III campsite in Cabinda city, seriously injuring one Bangladeshi police observer and damaging the facility.
On 18 March, an American UN worker, a Malian, and two Chadians were kidnapped in the city of Mao by the Movement for Democracy and Development, an armed Chadian opposition group. The US citizen was released on 27 March.
Ethiopian counterterrorist forces foiled an assassination attempt against visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on 26 June. Mubarak had just arrived in Addis Ababa to attend the Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit when several members of the Egyptian extremist al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya (also known as the Islamic Group, or IG) attacked his motorcade. Ethiopian forces killed five of the attackers and captured three others. Ethiopia and Egypt have charged the Government of Sudan with complicity in the attack and harboring suspects and pursued the matter in both the OAU and the United Nations.
On 26 February, unknown assailants threw two grenades into the USAID compound in Addis Ababa, damaging the facility’s windows and three vehicles. No one was injured.
The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) took several foreigners hostage in the first half of 1995 in an apparent attempt to force foreigners out of the country. On 5 January, a Swiss national working for a French-owned lumber firm was taken hostage. On 18 January, two Britons, a German, a Swede, and a dual Swiss/Australian,—all employed by the Swiss-owned Sierra Leone Ore and Metal Company (Sieromco)—were kidnapped. On 25 January, six Italian nuns and one Brazilian nun were taken hostage. The seven nuns were released on 21 March, and the others were released on 20 April. On 23 May, three Lebanese businessmen were abducted.
On 30 April, a foreign businessman was kidnapped and killed near the southern port city of Chisimayu, probably by radical Islamic extremists as a political statement against the presence of foreigners.
The most serious terrorist attack in Asia in 1995 was the nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March carried out by the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo. The attack—the first large-scale use of chemical agents by terrorists—apparently was meant to destabilize Japan and pave the way for the cult to seize control of the nation. The attack killed 12, injured thousands, and damaged Japan’s sense of security. Japanese authorities have since arrested the leaders of Aum Shinrikyo and suppressed the organization. The Khmer Rouge murdered a US tourist in Cambodia in January, the only terrorist-related death of a US citizen in East Asia last year.
The East Asia/Pacific region was also the locale of a plot, discovered by the Philippine Government, by Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and his accomplices to assassinate the Pope and plant bombs on US airliners flying over the Pacific.
In the South Asia region, the continued presence of Islamic militant training camps in Afghanistan contributed to terrorist incidents in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia. Camps are supported by nearly all Afghan factions, and the nominal Rabbani government does not exercise control or authority over much of Afghanistan. The Rabbani regime has been accused by the Government of Pakistan of sponsoring a spate of bombings and assassinations in the Peshawar area in late October and early November.
A group of Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri terrorists kidnapped six Westerners in Indian-held Kashmir in July, demanding the release of militants belonging to the Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), a militant group based in Pakistan. One hostage was killed and another escaped. Other Kashmiri groups claimed responsibility for bombings at Republic Day celebrations in Kashmir in January and at the office of the BBC correspondent in Kashmir in September. Credible reports continue to indicate official Pakistani support for militant groups fighting in Kashmir, including some groups that engage in terrorism, such as the HUA. The Sikh terrorist group, Babbar Khalsa, assassinated the Punjab Chief Minister in August.
Two US Consulate employees were assassinated in Karachi in March. The Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad was destroyed by a bomb in November, and three Egyptian groups claimed responsibility. In February, Pakistan extradited Ramzi Yousef, alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, to the United States.
Afghanistan, which lacks an effective or recognized central government, remained a training ground for Islamic militants and terrorists in 1995. Nearly all of the factions competing for political power, including the nominal government in Kabul led by Burhanuddin Rabbani, are involved to some extent in harboring or facilitating camps that have trained terrorists from many nations who have been active in worldwide terrorist activity. Terrorists who trained in camps in Afghanistan perpetrated attacks in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia, including the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia in June, bombings in France by Algerian militants, and the Manila-based plot to attack Western interests. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, suspected of involvement in this plot as well as the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, is linked to Afghan training. The group that claimed responsibility for the bombing in November of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, also has extensive ties to the Afghan network.
Individuals who trained in Afghanistan in 1995 were involved in wars or insurgencies in Kashmir, Tajikistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, and the Philippines. In Tajikistan, the government claimed in May to have arrested a group of Afghan-trained Tajiks who were responsible for attacking a bus carrying Russian border guards in Dushanbe in February. Manila claims that veterans of Afghan camps are working with Philippine opposition groups that attacked and destroyed a village in April.
The Rabbani regime in Kabul has done little to curb the training of foreign militants. Indeed, one regime backer, Abd al-Rasul Sayyaf, continues to harbor and train potential terrorists in his camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan; the Government of Pakistan raided his facilities near Peshawar in November after the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad. The Rabbani regime did arrest foreign militants from camps run by other factions. Many remain in jail in Kabul, but some have been released.
Kabul has been accused by Islamabad of sponsoring a spate of bombings in the Peshawar area in late October and early November. Pakistani authorities claim to have arrested one Afghan in connection with the first bombing incident. The Taliban, an Afghan opposition movement that Kabul has accused Islamabad of supporting, forced a privately chartered Russian-flagged transport aircraft from Tatarstan to land on 3 August, and the seven-man crew was still held hostage in Qandahar at year’s end. The Taliban has claimed that the crew members are prisoners of war, since the aircraft was carrying munitions for the Kabul regime. The group has demanded that, in exchange for the crew, Russia cease its aid to Kabul and provide information on thousands of Afghans who the Taliban claim have been missing since the Afghan-Soviet war.
The Khmer Rouge (KR) continued to decline in strength, relying on rural banditry and terror to support its policy of undermining the duly elected government. The KR threat was strongest in the north and west, particularly along the Thai border. However, in this region there is no official US presence and only a small number of US citizens or other Westerners, who work mostly with the UN and NGOs. Nevertheless, on 15 January a group of bandits, believed to have included Khmer Rouge, killed a US citizen, Susan Ginsburg Hadden, wounded her husband, and killed her Cambodian guide while the victims were touring temple areas near Angkor Wat. Several people were tried and sentenced to 15-to-20-year prison terms in connection with the killings. The government also followed up on past KR atrocities; six Khmer Rouge were sentenced to 15-year terms (five in absentia) for the murders of two Britons and an Australian in April 1994.
India continues to face significant security problems as a result of insurgencies in Kashmir and the northeast. A group of Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri terrorists kidnapped six Westerners—two US citizens, two Britons, a German, and a Norwegian—hiking near Srinagar, Kashmir, in July. The Norwegian hostage was beheaded, one US citizen escaped, and the others—still held captive at year’s end—have been threatened with execution if India does not release several prisoners belonging to the Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), a militant group headquartered in Pakistan.
Bombings claimed by Kashmiri groups occurred throughout the year, including explosions in a stadium in Kashmir during Republic Day festivities on 26 January. The targets were primarily Indian Government officials. military offices, and infrastructure facilities, but most of those killed and wounded were civilians. Kashmiri terrorists also targeted journalists in Srinagar. An AFP correspondent in Srinagar was killed on 7 September by a package bomb intended for the BBC correspondent. There are credible reports of official Pakistani support for militants fighting in Kashmir, including for the groups that claimed responsibility for the bombings.
In October, India signed an intelligence-sharing agreement with Egypt to combat international terrorism and organized crime.
The Government of India has been largely successful in controlling the Sikh separatist movement in Punjab State, but Sikh groups committed several acts of terrorism in India in 1995. The Babbar Khalsa group assassinated the Punjab Chief Minister outside his offices in Chandigarh on 31 August. Another Sikh group, the Khalistan Liberation Force, claimed responsibility for the bombing of three civilian targets in New Delhi and Panjpit on 26 September. Indian authorities suspect that the same Sikh group is responsible for a bombing in New Delhi on 21 November, which was claimed by both Sikh and Kashmiri groups. India claims that Pakistan harbors and supports Sikh militant groups. Pakistan claims that India supports a Pakistani separatist group in Sindh Province, which Islamabad claims has carried out terrorist attacks in Karachi.
In 1995, Japan suffered the world’s first large-scale terrorist chemical gas attack when a Japanese religious cult, Aum Shinrikyo or Aum Supreme Truth, attacked the Tokyo subway system on 20 March. Five subway trains were simultaneously attacked, killing 12 persons and sending about 5,500 to area hospitals for treatment of symptoms of chemical poisoning from sarin gas. Foreigners, including two US citizens, one Swiss, one Irishman, and two Australians, were among those who sought treatment for chemical exposure. After an investigation, the Japanese police also charged the Aum for the sarin gas attack on June 1994 in Matsumoto that killed seven and injured about 500. Most of the suspected perpetrators of the gas attack and most of the group’s leaders—including its founder Shoko Asahara—have been arrested and are awaiting trial.
On 15 November, an unknown perpetrator placed explosives on a powerline pylon, causing minor damage but no injury or power outage to a US military housing complex near Tokyo, five days before President Clinton was scheduled to visit the city.
Two US employees of the US Consulate in Karachi were killed by unknown gunmen on 8 March. On 19 November, the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad was destroyed by a car bomb, for which three Egyptian militant opposition groups claimed responsibility. Pakistan continues to experience terrorist-related violence as a result of domestic conflicts and instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan claimed that the current Afghan regime was behind a spate of bombings and assassinations in the Peshawar area in October and November. Pakistan claims that India provides support for separatists in Sindh Province, especially in Karachi, where terrorism and other violence resulted in over 100 deaths each month during 1995.
Pakistan took steps in 1995 to curb the activities of Afghan mujahedin and sympathetic Arabs and Pakistanis in the Pakistani regions that border Afghanistan. In February, Pakistan arrested and extradited to the United States Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, suspected of masterminding the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and a plot against US airlines in East Asia in 1995. Pakistan’s discovery through subsequent investigations that Yousef had plotted to assassinate Prime Minister Bhutto led to arrests of his associates throughout Pakistan. Islamabad also undertook a partial crackdown in several Pakistani cities on nongovernmental organizations suspected of aiding militant organizations and terrorists. Under an extradition treaty with Egypt signed in late 1994, Pakistan returned to Egypt several suspected terrorists before the Egyptian Embassy bombing. As a result of this bombing, Pakistan rounded up suspects and their associates in several Pakistani cities, including a refugee camp in Pakistan run by Afghan leader Abd al-Rasul Sayyaf.
The Government of Pakistan acknowledges that it continues to give moral, political, and diplomatic support to Kashmiri militants but denies allegations of other assistance. There continued to be credible reports in 1995, however, of official Pakistani support to militants fighting in Kashmir, including Pakistani, Afghan, and Arab nationals, some of whom engage in terrorism. One Pakistan-backed group, Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), is believed to be linked to Al-Faran, the group that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in July in Kashmir of two US citizens, two Britons, a German, and a Norwegian. One US citizen escaped. The Norwegian was later beheaded, and at year’s end the other hostages were still being held. In October there were reports that HUA was involved in an arms-smuggling ring with Pakistani military officers accused of plotting to overthrow the Bhutto government. Other Pakistan-backed groups claimed responsibility for numerous bombings in Kashmir, including one against foreign journalists.
The Philippine Government continued its efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); its cease-fire with the group mostly was observed while the talks continued. Other Islamists and leftist groups, however, continued to use terrorism to achieve their aims.
On 6 January, Philippine police in Manila discovered a plot by foreign Islamic extremists to place bombs on US airliners flying over the Pacific. They [the same group of extremists] also made plans to assassinate the Pope, who was about to visit the Philippines, and to attack foreign embassies. The plots were directed by Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing in New York City in February 1993. Yousef escaped but was later arrested in Pakistan and extradited to the United States. Abdul Hakim Murad, another suspected conspirator, was arrested by Philippine officials and handed over to the United States.
On 26 March the leftist Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) hurled a grenade at the Singapore Airlines offices in Manila, damaging an armored car in the parking lot of an adjacent bank. The group claimed the attack was to show its displeasure with Singapore’s decision to execute a Philippine maid who had pleaded guilty to murder
In December threats from the Abu Sayyaf Group led Philippine authorities to arrest 30 Filipinos and foreigners allegedly engaged in plans to carry out terrorist attacks in Manila. In response to Abu Sayyaf and ABB activities, the Philippine Government urged passage of legislation designed to facilitate police counterterrorist operations. Public opposition to the legislation, however, makes quick passage unlikely.
Also in December, the ABB carried out three ambushes, resulting in the death of a prominent Philippine-Chinese industrialist, his driver, and a small boy. ABB claimed the attacks were in response to labor violations at factories owned by the murdered industrialist and others. President Ramos called the attacks “a declaration of war” and ordered police to high alert, resulting in the arrest of a number of ABB operatives.
The separatist group Liberation Egers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to plague the government in 1995, with insurgency and terrorism directed against senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders, economic infrastructure-related facilities, and civilians. The LTTE withdrew from government-initiated peace talks in April and renewed its attacks. The government then launched the largest offensive of the 12-year war. Although the LTTE suffered heavy casualties, and at least temporarily lost its main base on the Jaffna Peninsula, it continued to pose a serious terrorist threat. In October, in their first attack on Sri Lanka’s economic infrastructure in several years, the Tigers attacked oil and natural gas storage facilities in the Colombo suburbs and significantly reduced Sri Lanka’s oil storage capability. The Tigers also conducted or planned suicide bombings against Indian Prime Minister Rao, Sri Lankan Army headquarters, other senior military and government officials, and government offices in Colombo.
The LTTE has refrained from targeting Western tourists possibly out of fear that foreign governments would crack down on Tamil expatriates involved in fundraising activities abroad. In July, however, the Ellalan Force, an LTTE front group, exploded bombs in Colombo’s zoological gardens, in a park, and on a beach frequented by tourists; there were no casualties. They intended to damage the tourist trade rather than to harm foreigners. These attacks followed a threat by the Ellalan Force to carry out bomb strikes in Colombo unless the government agreed to investigate the military’s alleged use of civilians as human shields.
Europe and Eurasia Overview
The number of lethal terrorist incidents in Europe declined from 46 in 1994 to 11 in 1995, although the total number of incidents rose from 88 to 272. In Eurasia, however, the total number dropped from 11 in 1994 to five in 1995. Most of the terrorist incidents that occurred in Europe and Eurasia were acts of arson or vandalism against Turkish-owned businesses largely in Germany. These acts are widely believed to be the work of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); several European nations permit the PKK to operate known front companies within their borders.
Islamic extremists upset with French Government policy toward the conflict in Algeria are suspected of being responsible for terrorist bombings in France during 1995 that left eight dead and 160 wounded. The bombers targeted subways, markets, and other public places to achieve a maximum effect. Islamic extremists also probably conducted a car bombing in front of police headquarters in Rijeka, Croatia, which killed the driver of the car. The Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group or IG) claimed responsibility.
Radical nationalism and xenophobia provoked a campaign of letter bombs directed at foreigners in Austria and in Germany, where neo-Nazi violence against foreigners continued. The terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) continued its campaign of murder and intimidation in Spain, including an attack on Partido Popular leader Jose Maria Aznar, and Spanish police in August foiled a plot to assassinate King Juan Carlos. In Greece the indigenous leftist Revolutionary Organization 17 November and other domestic terrorist groups continued to threaten US and Turkish diplomats and to target Greek business interests.
In Turkey, the PKK continued to engage in terrorism with the goal of creating a separate state. In addition, Marxist terrorist groups and Islamist radicals conducted terrorist attacks aimed at official Turkish interests and progovernment figures. The Marxist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, known by the Turkish initials DHKP/C—the successor to the group formerly known as Dev Sol—apparently continued to target US interests. The PKK also continued to attack sites frequented by US and other tourists but at a level sharply reduced from its height in 1993.
Attacks on foreigners that began in 1993 continued in 1995, killing four and injuring another 11 persons, including two in neighboring Germany. In June a third series of letter bombs linked to neo-Nazi elements included two that were mailed from Austria to an Austrian-born black TV commentator in Munich and to the mayor of Luebeck, injuring colleagues of the intended victims. The letters carried the logo of the Bajuwarian Liberation Front (also known as the Bavarian Liberation Army), an obscure rightwing group that had claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Austria. In December another round of bombings was timed to try to embarrass Austrian authorities. Two of four letter bombs in a public mailbox exploded as the trial of two rightwing suspects in the bombings of December 1993 was wrapping up. (They were acquitted.)
On 20 September a leftwing group called the Red Daughters of Rage firebombed a German pharmaceutical firm in Vienna that was hosting US visitors and flying a US flag. The group claimed the firm was affiliated with a US genetic company that they alleged was involved in forced sterilization in developing countries. A leftwing group calling itself the Cell for Internationalism claimed responsibility for a similar firebombing the next day against the American International School. The same group claimed it was also involved in a firebombing on 20 December against an American Express office in Salzburg.
In February, Austrian officials released suspected Abu Nidal terrorist Bahij Younis from a Vienna prison, where he had served 13 years for complicity in the murder in 1981 of the president of the Austro-Israeli Society Nittel in Vienna. Younis is also believed to have masterminded the attack against a synagogue in Vienna in 1981. In March, Austria extradited to Belgium Rajeh Heshan Mohamed Baghdad, a PLO terrorist sentenced to life in 1982 for his role in a murder and terrorist attack in 1981.
A car bomb detonated outside police headquarters in Rijeka on 20 October, injuring 29 bystanders and killing the driver of the car. The Egyptian organization Al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya (also known as the Islamic Group or IG) claimed responsibility for the bombing. The car bomb was detonated to press Croatian authorities into releasing IG spokesman Tala’at Fuad Kassem, who had been detained by Croatian police in Zagreb on 12 September. After the bombing, Croatian authorities said Kassem was no longer in the country.
A series of terrorist incidents in France in 1995 appeared to be the work of Algerian extremists. In July a cofounder of the Algerian opposition group Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), Abdelbaki Sahraoui, was murdered in Paris. Suspicion focused on another Algerian opposition group, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which had earlier put Sahraoui on a “death list” for his supposed conciliatory posture toward the Algerian Government.
A blast on 25 July in a Paris metro station kicked off a campaign of eight bombings or attempted bombings in France. Eight people were killed and 160 wounded in the attacks, which were staged in train stations, markets, and other public places to maximize civilian casualties. Although there were various claims of responsibility for the blasts, suspicions centered on the violent Islamic opposition to the Algerian Government. Some commentators argued that the GIA wanted to punish the Government of France for its supposed support for the Algerian Government, others claimed that the bombings were in retribution for the killing of four Algerian hijackers of an Air France Airbus in December 1994.
French police achieved a breakthrough in September when they traced fingerprints found on an unexploded bomb—discovered on high-speed train tracks near Lyon—to a French citizen of Algerian descent, Khaled Kelkal. The police killed Kelkal in a shootout later that month. In November fingerprints found on another unexploded device and other information led police to arrest several more people of North African descent, two of whom were formally charged with involvement in the bombings. There were no additional terrorist blasts in 1995 following these arrests. The French judiciary may reveal more about its understanding of the structure behind the crimes when the judicial cases against the accused come to trial.
In August assailants threw a molotov cocktail at a Turkish sporting and cultural association in Paris, injuring six and causing minor damage. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) probably is responsible.
On 29 August unidentified assailants attempted to assassinate President Eduard Schevardnadze by detonating a car bomb near his motorcade as it left the presidential compound in T’bilisi. Schevardnadze suffered minor injuries, but four of his bodyguards were injured, one seriously.
Six armed men detonated a small bomb in front of the residence of the Russian Ambassador to Georgia on 9 April, shattering windows and causing minor damage to nearby houses. The Algeti Wolves claimed responsibility for that attack and for an armed assault two hours later on Russian troops in the city, citing Russian involvement in Chechnya as the reason for both attacks. There were no injuries.
Authorities continued to pursue and prosecute Red Army Faction (RAF) members. In September, a German court sentenced RAF member Sieglinde Hofmann to life imprisonment for assisting in five murders and three attempted murders, including the bomb attack in 1979 in Belgium on then-NATO Commander Alexander Haig. In October, Johannes Weinrich, a former RAF member and alleged deputy to international terrorist Illych Ramirez Sanchez (Carlos), was indicted in Berlin for transporting explosives into Germany that were later used to bomb the French cultural center; Weinrich had been extradited to Germany from Yemen. Germany released several former RAF terrorists who had served from 11 to 20 years of their sentences.
Although German officials say the RAF has largely disintegrated, they worry about successor organizations that have assumed the RAF’s ideological mantle. The emerging Anti-Imperialist Cells (AIZ), for example, mounted several bombing attacks against German interests in 1995. Among far-right groups, German authorities noted an increasing tendency to link up with neo-Nazi groups abroad, especially through the use of electronic communication networks.
The number of arson attacks with proven or probable connections to foreign extremist groups were more than five times those carried out in 1994, largely because of two waves of attacks in March-April and July-August by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In more than 200 attacks on Turkish establishments—some of which may have been “copycat” attacks perpetrated by antiforeigner Germans rather than the PKK—two foreigners died and several others were injured. Although Germany banned the PKK and several associated Kurdish organizations in 1993, new PKK front organizations appear frequently in Germany, thus presenting a continuing problem for the government.
Attacks against US interests were rare, although US-owned Chrysler dealerships were targeted to protest the scheduled execution in the United States of convicted murderer Mumia Abu Jamal. In Kassel, vandals smashed car and showroom windows, and, elsewhere, the Anti-Imperialistic Group Liberty for Mumia Abu Jamal claimed responsibility for firebombing a vehicle parked outside a dealership.
In November a group calling itself Anti-Imperialist Freedom Connection for Benjamin claimed responsibility for setting fire to and destroying a vehicle belonging to a German-Spanish automobile joint venture; the claim letter protested the deportation trial of Benjamin Ramos-Vega, a member of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist group.
Greek leftist and anarchist groups in 1995 again conducted numerous terrorist attacks against public and private Greek and foreign targets. The Revolutionary Organization 17 November, for example, fired two rockets at a MEGA TV station facility in March, causing extensive damage but no casualties. Greek terrorist groups also conducted several operations against foreign interests, including the August bombings of the American Express and Citibank offices in Athens.
Greece had some counterterrorist successes in 1995, including the successful conviction of Georgios Balafas, a suspected 17 November terrorist sentenced to 10 years in prison for stockpiling weapons. Greek counterterrorist efforts, however, could benefit from the passage of tougher, more comprehensive counterterrorist regulations. Since 1975 no one has been convicted of any of 17 November’s terrorist attacks, including the murder of four US officials and a Greek employee of the US Embassy. While official statements indicate the government’s resolve to confront Greece’s domestic terrorist problem, frequent turnover of key personnel involved in the fight against terrorism—three public order ministers in the past year—hampers these efforts.
Greek authorities continued in 1995 to deny public Turkish charges that the anti-Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) conducts operational terrorist training and receives assistance in Greece. As is the case in certain other European countries, however, Greece permits the PKK to operate a known front organization in Athens. In May it also allowed the successor group to Dev Sol, another anti-Turkish and anti-US terrorist group, to open an office in Athens under its new name, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).
In the culmination of what journalists said was a two-year investigation, Milan police arrested 11 persons on 26 June at Milan’s Islamic Center and made additional arrests a few days later. Police officials told the press that the group provided support for an international network of Islamic terrorist organizations, including the Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group or IG). A police spokesman also said the arrestees maintained contact with the “Blind Shaykh,” Umar Abd al-Rahman, who was convicted in October for conspiring to commit terrorism in the United States. Charges against the accused include conspiracy, extortion, armed robbery, falsifying documents, and arms smuggling.
On the basis of a French warrant, Italian police arrested former Red Army Faction member Margo Froehlich in October. A German national, she was wanted for complicity in a Paris attack in 1982 carried out by international terrorist Illych Ramirez Sanchez (Carlos) that killed one person and injured 63.
On the afternoon of 13 September, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the sixth floor of the US Embassy in Moscow. The grenade penetrated the wall and exploded inside, causing some damage to office equipment but no casualties. No group claimed responsibility.
In December 1995, Russia participated in a first-of-its-kind counterterrorism ministerial conference that was called by the heads of the G-7 nations plus Russia at their June summit in Halifax.
In 1995, Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorists conducted attacks on Spanish rail lines and stations, banks, police officers, and political figures—including the assassination of the Partido Popular mayoral candidate in San Sebastian and the attempted assassination of the leading contender for the prime ministership. In addition, ETA targeted French interests in Spain in 1995. In February a suspected ETA bomb exploded at a French-owned bank. Following a joint Spanish-French operation that thwarted a plot to assassinate King Juan Carlos while he vacationed in Majorca last August, suspected ETA members or supporters tossed molotov cocktails at a Citroen car dealership in Navarre, destroying five vehicles. In mid-December suspected ETA members detonated a car bomb in Madrid, one of the worst attacks in years that claimed at least six lives and wounded 15 others.
Turkey continued its vigorous pursuit of several violent leftist and Islamic extremist groups, especially the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), responsible for terrorism in Turkey.
The PKK launched hundreds of attacks in 1995 in Turkey, including indiscriminate bombings in areas frequented by Turkish and foreign civilians, as part of its campaign to establish a breakaway state in southeastern Turkey. For example, the group set off a bomb outside a cafe/grocery store in Izmir on 17 September, killing five and wounding 29. The PKK also continued—albeit with less success—its three-year-old attempt to drive foreign tourists away from Turkey by attacking tourist sites. In August two US citizens were injured by shrapnel in a bombing of Istanbul’s popular Taksim Square. Moreover, the PKK continued to expand its activities in Western Europe, especially in Germany, where its members frequently attacked ethnic Turks and Turkish commercial establishments.
A successor to the Marxist/Leninist Devrimci Sol (Dev Sol)—known as the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)—and several Islamic extremist groups were active in 1995. Dev Sol has been responsible for several anti-US attacks since 1990, and the DHKP/C continues to target US citizens. In July the group took over a restaurant in Istanbul, holding several civilians—including three US tourists—hostage. All of the hostages eventually were released unharmed. Loosely organized Islamic extremist groups, such as the Islamic Movement Organization and IBDA-C, continued to launch attacks against targets associated with Turkish official facilities and functions. They may have been responsible for the attempted assassination in June of a prominent Jewish community leader in Ankara.
On 24 May, an explosive device detonated near the Austrian Airlines office in the Odessa airport in southern Ukraine. Austrian Airlines is the only Western airline that flies out of Odessa. Press reports said the device consisted of about six pounds of plastic explosive. There were no injuries. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which may not have been politically motivated.
The cease-fires begun in the autumn of 1994, led by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and followed by other Republican splinter groups and the three major Loyalist paramilitaries, still held at year’s end. Nevertheless, sporadic incidents of politically motivated killings, arson, attempted bombings, punishment beatings, and abductions were reported. No progress was made on the decommissioning of weapons, and paramilitaries were combat ready. In November, Irish and British police forces intercepted a van loaded with hundreds of pounds of explosives in Ireland near the border with Northern Ireland. Authorities believe a Republican fringe group known as the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) was intending to attack British security forces in Northern Ireland. A subsequent police sweep of the area discovered another cache of explosives and bombmaking equipment at a farm a few miles from the first operation.
In January an unidentified assailant shot and killed a Sikh newspaper editor. The victim may have been killed because of his support for an independent Sikh state in India. No one claimed responsibility.
A British court ruled on 25 July to extradite Kani Yilmaz, European chief of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), to Germany, where he faces charges of conspiracy to commit arson. The ruling sparked a large crowd of PKK supporters to battle London police, pelting them with bottles, bricks, and road signs, injuring more than a dozen police officers and an unknown number of others. The United Kingdom permits the PKK to operate a known front organization within its borders.
Latin America Overview
International terrorist activity rose in Latin America mostly due to the high number of attacks against international entities in Colombia. In 1995 the number of attacks in that country increased by 85 percent to 76 attacks. In all of Latin America, however, a total of eight international terrorist attacks last year were lethal.
Guerrillas continued to target the democratic process in Colombia through intimidation and violence. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) held at least four US citizens hostage at the end of the year. The group killed two US missionaries in June after kidnapping them in 1994. Ransoms continued to provide guerrillas with significant income, making up for a decrease in protection payments from coca growers, who had lower production as a result of the government’s eradication program. Government efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement were met with increased guerrilla violence.
There were no international terrorist incidents reported in Argentina during 1995. The investigation into the bombing in 1994 of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association remains unsolved. The Government of Argentina organized and hosted a regional counterterrorist conference in August in an effort to encourage cooperation in countering the international terrorist threat.
Peru successfully continued to counter its terrorist organizations, significantly lowering the level of violence in the country. While Peru’s terrorist organizations, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path or SL) and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) have significantly declined in strength, they still have the capacity to inflict damage against international targets. At year’s end, the Government of Peru was planning to host an Organization of American States (OAS) conference on terrorism in 1996, which will focus on promoting cooperation among Western Hemisphere nations in combating terrorism while protecting human rights.
Throughout 1995 the Argentine Government continued its investigation of the bombing in July 1994 of the Jewish community center building (AMIA) that killed nearly 100 persons. In September, Investigating Judge Juan Jose Galeano filed additional charges against detained suspect Carlos Telleldin, accusing him of criminal conspiracy relating to the stolen-car ring that allegedly provided the van used in the attack on the AMIA. The police detained other suspects in December to review their possible roles in the bombing attack.
The investigation into the bombing in March 1992 of the Israeli Embassy failed to develop any new leads. Paraguay extradited seven suspected terrorists to Argentina, where they were released after questioning. The Argentine Supreme Court now has responsibility for the case. The Iranian-backed Lebanese Hizballah remains the key suspect in both the 1992 and 1994 attacks.
One of Argentina’s most wanted fugitives, Enrique Gorriaran Merlo, was detained on 28 October in Mexico and expelled shortly thereafter to Buenos Aires to stand trial. Gorriaran was involved in the kidnapping of the general manager of an Exxon refinery and managed the negotiations for the captive’s release after a ransom was paid. Gorriaran was also an organizer of an attack on a military base in 1989 that left nearly 40 dead. He had been a leader of Argentina’s People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP), a largely leftist urban terrorist group that operated in the 1970s, and he personally took responsibility for the assassination of former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza in Paraguay in 1980. If convicted of the several charges, Gorriaran faces life imprisonment.
Argentina took a leading role in regional cooperation against international counterterrorism in 1995. Buenos Aires hosted a regional counterterrorist conference in August to improve cooperation among its neighbors—Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, as well as the United States and Canada. The Government of Argentina also is pressing for greater cooperation with Brazil and Paraguay to improve border controls in the “triborder” area, where their three frontiers meet. Argentina will introduce a new machine-readable passport in early 1996.
Colombia continued to be wracked by violence in 1995, suffering numerous terrorist bombings, murders, and kidnappings for ransom. Drug traffickers, leftist insurgents, paramilitary squads, and common criminals committed scores of crimes with impunity, killing their targets as well as many innocent bystanders. Although most of the politically motivated violence was directed at local targets, Colombia recorded 76 international terrorist incidents during 1995, the highest number in Latin America and nearly twice the 41 such incidents in 1994.
The nation’s two main guerrilla groups—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN)—intensified political violence during the year, ignoring offers for peace talks with the government. Rebel attacks against oil pipelines owned jointly by the Government of Colombia and Western companies escalated, accounting for most of the international incidents in Colombia in 1995.
Kidnapping for ransom continued to be a profitable business in Colombia; leftist guerrillas conducted approximately half of all abductions in the country, increasing their war chests by several million dollars. Colombians were the primary victims, but many foreign nationals also were abducted. At year’s end, FARC rebels held at least four US citizens, three of whom were detained in 1993 and one in 1994. In August presumed FARC guerrillas released one US citizen kidnapped near Cali in 1994. Another US citizen, kidnapped in January, was released in April.
Kidnappings of foreigners sometimes have ended with the murder of the hostage. A British citizen kidnapped by guerrillas in June was found dead in August near Bogota. The guerrillas also kidnapped and subsequently released a UK Embassy employee. In June, FARC guerrillas murdered two US missionaries, held since January 1994, during a chance encounter with a Colombian army patrol. Police have issued arrest warrants for eight guerrillas suspected of kidnapping the two missionaries.
Despite President Samper’s willingness to negotiate with the nation’s guerrilla organizations, FARC and ELN insurgents did not demonstrate a sincere desire to pursue a negotiated settlement in 1995. Instead, they continued to attack government forces and other targets. On the anniversary of President Samper’s inauguration in August, FARC rebels attacked a police counternarcotics base in Miraflores (in Guaviare Department), killing six and wounding 29 police officers. Unknown assailants, possibly guerrillas, bombed a sculpture in a crowded Medellin square, which left 28 persons dead and injured more than 175. FARC guerrillas operating in areas of heavy coca cultivation often fired on—and in one case shot down—government aircraft engaged in US-supported drug eradication efforts.
Twice during 1995, President Samper declared a “state of internal commotion,” invoking exceptional measures because of increased violence nationwide and the assassination on 2 November of Conservative Party patriarch Alvaro Gomez Hurtado. On that date, President Samper announced that he was empowering the military, governors of the 32 departments (states), and all mayors to authorize the evacuation of civilians from municipalities to combat illegal armed groups, including the guerrilla organizations operating in Colombia.
Guatemala’s 35-year-old insurgency continues at a low level, as talks toward a negotiated settlement progress. The three major armed guerrilla groups—the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), the Revolutionary Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA), and the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP)—are allied in the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union (URNG). along with the Communist Guatemalan Workers’ Party (PGT).
In April a bomb was detonated outside the Presidential Palace during a visit by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Evidence points to guerrilla involvement, but no group claimed responsibility. In May presumed guerrillas fired on a US Embassy antinarcotics helicopter on a training flight over Palin. The aircraft sustained minor damage.
The bombing in July 1994 of a commuter airliner that killed all 21 persons aboard, including three US citizens, remained under investigation in 1995. Panama has made no arrests but continues to cooperate closely with US authorities.
Progress was made in two other terrorist cases. Pedro Miguel Gonzalez, one of the suspects in the murder in 1992 of US Army Corporal Zak Hernandez, turned himself over to Panamanian authorities in January 1995; his case had not yet gone to trial by the end of the year. Two others sought in connection with the murder of the US serviceman remained at large. Juan Barria, who confessed to having murdered a US citizen and a US Embassy employee during Operation Just Cause in 1989, was convicted after a jury trial on 19 November.
Peruvian Government security forces in 1995 continued to reduce the activities of Peru’s terrorist organizations—Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path or SL) and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). Numerous detentions, casualties, and defections further weakened the two groups, and continued arrests of several terrorist leaders kept the level of violence by these groups low compared to previous years. Most of the violence in 1995 took place in rural areas, particularly the coca-rich Upper Huallaga Valley. Violence in Lima and other cities declined. In Lima there were two car bombings, the lowest number in years.
Police arrests helped disrupt Sendero’s terrorist plans for the national elections in April 1995. In a major coordinated operation, counterterrorist police arrested approximately 20 members of Sendero Luminoso in the cities of Lima, Callao, Huancayo, and Arequipa. Among those captured was Sendero Central Committee member, and number-two leader of Sendero militants still at large, Margi Clavo Peralta. Clavo later publicly announced her support for peace talks with the government, which jailed Sendero leader and founder Abimael Guzman first advocated in 1993.
Three years after the capture of SL chieftain Guzman, the Maoist terrorist group is struggling, attempting to rebuild and resolve its leadership problems. Sendero Luminoso has become less active, its operations smaller and less sophisticated. While SL’s capability to target international targets has diminished, it retains the capability to cause considerable harm, and its “anti-imperialist” animus has not changed. In May the group detonated a car bomb in front of a luxury Lima hotel, killing four and injuring several dozen persons. In July, Sendero terrorists killed a Peruvian employee of a US mining company after seeking by name a US geologist who had left the site a few days earlier.
On 1 December the number-two leader of MRTA still at large, Miguel Rincon, surrendered to police after a fire-fight that followed a raid of an MRTA safehouse. The police arrested more than a dozen other MRTA members and uncovered weapons and explosives in the residence. The police effort inflicted a severe blow to the weakened terrorist organization, disrupting its plans to conduct attacks.
Middle East Overview
The deadliest terrorist attack against US interests in the Middle East since the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut took place on 13 November in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A vehicle bomb badly damaged the headquarters of the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM/SANG), a military training mission. Seven persons, including five US citizens, were killed and 42 were wounded. Several shadowy groups, including the “Islamic Movement for Change,” claimed responsibility for the incident. Saudi Arabian authorities are aggressively investigating the incident in close cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Fatalities from extremist violence in Egypt rose slightly above 1994 totals. Nevertheless, Egyptian authorities continued a successful crackdown against extremists, arresting some important leaders and confining violence to upper Egypt. In November, Al-Gama’at Islamiyya (the Islamic Group or IG) renewed efforts to target Egypt’s tourist industry. In two shooting attacks against trains traveling through Qina and Al Minya Governorates in upper Egypt, two Europeans and 10 Egyptians were wounded.
For the first time, Egyptian extremists extended their campaign of violence outside Egypt’s borders. The IG claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia in June, and in November the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was bombed, killing 16 and wounding 60. Both the IG and the Jihad Group claimed responsibility for this attack.
In Algeria widespread terrorism continued the trend of recent years. Armed insurgents turned increasingly to the use of indiscriminate bombings in their offensive against the government, deemphasizing their reliance on military-style attacks on Algerian security units. While attacks against foreigners in Algeria decreased overall, Islamic militants expanded their offensive to include targets overseas and US targets in Algeria. In November, Islamic militants set fire to a US Embassy warehouse; this was consistent with threats against foreign—including US—interests in Algeria issued by the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The same group is suspected of responsibility for the murder in Paris in July of a prominent activist from the Islamic Salvation Front—another Algerian Islamist opposition group—as well as a bombing campaign in Paris that killed eight persons and wounded scores.
Elsewhere in North Africa, incidents of terrorist violence were low. Tunisian authorities maintained effective control of the internal security situation and, in particular, closely followed the activities of the Tunisian Islamic Front, which claimed responsibility for the murders of four policemen and has warned all foreigners to leave Tunisia. In Morocco, an Egyptian detonated a bomb in the consular section of the Russian Embassy, evidently to protest Russian policy in Chechnya. Islamic extremists continued efforts to smuggle weapons through Morocco into Algeria to support extremists there.
In Israel and the occupied territories/Palestinian autonomous areas, incidents of political violence and terrorism continued to plague the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. On 4 November, a Jewish Israeli extremist assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a propeace rally in Tel Aviv. In subsequent statements the assassin said he acted to protest Rabin’s peace process policies.
The overall number of anti-Israeli attacks declined to 33 in 1995 from 79 in 1994 due to a change in the nature of attacks, that is, less frequent but more lethal suicide bombings. Casualty figures thus remained high, with 45 Israeli soldiers and civilians killed, two US civilians killed, and nearly 280 persons wounded in 1995, compared to 55 persons killed and more than 150 wounded in the previous year. The Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed responsibility for most of these attacks, including several devastating suicide bombings. Chairman Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (PA) launched a campaign to crack down on Islamic militants while at the same time initiating political dialogue with HAMAS to bring it into the political process. HAMAS announced a temporary suspension of military activities in August while engaging in talks with the PA; there were no major HAMAS attacks against Israelis through the end of 1995.
Lebanon witnessed small improvements in the internal security situation during the year, including in Beirut. Despite government efforts to extend its control, however, many parts of the country remained outside the central government’s authority. The terrorist organization Hizballah has yet to be disarmed and still operates freely in several areas of the country, particularly the south. Incidents of internal political violence continued to trouble many parts of the country.
The security situation in Algeria did not improve substantially in 1995. Accurate casualty figures are difficult to acquire, but as many as 50,000 Algerians—militants, security personnel, and civilians—have died as a result of the nearly four-year-old insurgency. Islamic extremists slowed their attacks against foreign nationals inside Algeria in 1995, but suspicions centered on the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) for a series of terrorist attacks in France in July, September, and October.
Last year extremists carried out their first attack against a US target in Algeria since Islamic militants began targeting foreigners in 1993. On 9 November, Islamic extremists set fire to a warehouse belonging to the US Embassy. The militants threatened the life of the Algerian security guard because he was working for the United States, and they specifically demanded to know whether there were any US citizens present. The GIA probably carried out the attacks. The group had threatened to strike US and other foreign targets in Algeria, and the modus operandi of the attack was consistent with past GIA operations against foreign facilities.
The GIA was responsible for the deaths of 31 foreigners in Algeria in 1995, compared to at least 64 in 1994. Most of the foreigners killed were “soft targets,” such as teachers and nuns. From July to October a terrorist bombing campaign in France began against civilian targets, killing eight persons and wounding 160. Suspicion centered on the GIA as a protest of French support for Algiers. Suspicion also focused on the GIA for the death of FIS leader Abdelbaki Sahraoui in Paris in July; the group earlier had published Sahraoui’s name in a list of FIS members marked for death due to their conciliatory posture toward negotiating with the Algerian regime.
Algerian militants changed their tactics slightly in 1995, relying more heavily on the use of homemade bombs—especially car bombs—and decreasing their reliance on more traditional military-style attacks on Algerian security units. The GIA claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing of a police headquarters in downtown Algiers in January that killed more than 40 persons. Insurgents stepped up attacks on infrastructure targets this year, disabling bridges and electric power facilities throughout the country. In May, GIA commandos attacked foreign workers along a newly constructed gas pipeline, killing five. The GIA continued its attacks against civilian targets, killing women for refusing to wear the hidjab, intellectuals, and others it perceived as “cooperating” with the regime and “spreading Western influence.” Over 25 journalists were killed in 1995, making Algeria the most dangerous place in the world for practitioners of this profession.
Violence in Algeria slowed significantly in the weeks before the presidential election on 16 November, primarily because of extraordinary measures employed by the security services. As these security measures were relaxed, however, Algeria’s fragmented Islamic movement continued to attack foreigners; two Latvian sailors were shot within two weeks after the elections.
Fatalities from Islamic extremist violence rose slightly in 1995, with the number of victims—including noncombatants and police—and extremists killed increasing from 286 in 1994 to 375 in 1995. Violence primarily was confined to provinces in upper Egypt; there were no attacks in Cairo or urban areas further north.
Al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group or IG) continued to be the most active Islamic extremist organization in Egypt in 1995. All attacks occurred in upper Egypt, with much of the violence shifting from Asyu’t—the previous center of conflict—to Al Minya Governorate, specifically around Mallawi. Some attacks also occurred in Qina Governorate. Police and security elements were the focus of many attacks. The IG also is believed to have been the culprit in the deaths of at least 28 Coptic Christians and at least 20 Muslims alleged to be police informants. In November, the IG also resumed its efforts to damage Egypt’s tourist industry, claiming responsibility for two shooting attacks that month against trains traveling through Qina and Al Minya Governorates to tourist sites in upper Egypt. Two Europeans and 10 Egyptians were wounded in the attacks. The IG claims of responsibility were accompanied by warnings for all foreign tourists to leave the country.
Egypt has stepped up its counterterrorist campaign, preventing Islamic extremists from carrying out attacks in Cairo and other urban areas to the north. A police sweep in Al Minya in September resulted in the arrest of a key leader of the IG’s military wing, who had been sought since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981.
During 1995, Egyptian Islamic extremist groups took their campaign of violence outside Egypt for the first time. The IG claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia on 26 June. The IG also took responsibility for a car bombing in Rijeka, Croatia, in October that injured 29 Croatian nationals and killed the car’s driver. The IG accused the Croatian Government of having arrested a visiting Gama’at member who had been living in Denmark. Both the IG and the Jihad Group claimed responsibility for the bombing on 19 November of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Sixteen persons were killed in the attack and another 60 were injured. The previously unknown International Justice Group also took responsibility for the bombing in Pakistan, as well as for the shooting death of an Egyptian diplomat in Geneva on 13 November.
Israel and the Occupied Territories/Palestinian Autonomous Areas
Yigal Amir, a Jewish extremist associated with the little-known “Fighting Jewish Organization” (EYAL), assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a propeace rally in Tel Aviv on 4 November. Amir claimed to have acted alone, but Israeli security forces charged several other alleged conspirators. Israel also stepped up its investigations of EYAL and other extremist groups that may have had a hand in the murder. Kach and Kahane Chai—which Israel outlawed as terrorist groups after the Hebron massacre in February 1994—remained active in 1995, though they maintained lower profiles.
The overall number of anti-Israeli attacks instigated by Palestinians declined to 33 in 1995 from 79 in 1994 due to a change in the nature of attacks, that is, to less frequent but more lethal suicide bombings. Casualty figures remained high, with 45 Israeli soldiers and civilians and two US citizens killed and nearly 280 persons wounded in 1995, compared to 55 persons killed and more than 150 wounded the previous year. The increased lethality of the attacks was due mainly to Palestinian extremist groups’ increased use of suicide bombings, which killed 39 and wounded 252.
The Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) conducted five major anti-Israeli attacks in 1995 as part of its campaign to derail the peace process. The group claimed responsibility for three devastating suicide bombings, including the bombing on 21 August of a bus in Jerusalem’s Ramat Eshkol neighborhood that resulted in the death of a US citizen, Joan Davenny, and three Israelis, and the wounding of more than 100 civilians. Following that operation, HAMAS temporarily suspended its military activities and entered into talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), in which HAMAS discussed the possibility of ending anti-Israeli attacks and participating in the Palestinian elections on 20 January 1996. There were no major HAMAS attacks against Israelis from the August suicide bus bombing through the end of 1995.
Other Palestinian groups that reject the peace process also attacked Israelis. The Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)-Shaqaqi Faction claimed responsibility for five suicide bombings that killed a total of 29 persons and wounded 107. One bus bombing on 9 April killed a US citizen, Alisa Flatow, and seven Israelis and wounded 41 other persons. Although the group suffered a strong blow when its leader, Fathi Shaqaqi, was assassinated in Malta on 26 October, it remained capable of striking at Israeli targets. On 2 November, the PIJ carried out two suicide bomb attacks against Israeli targets in Gaza to retaliate for Shaqaqi’s murder, which the group believes Israel sponsored. No Israelis were killed in the attacks. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also claimed responsibility for several attacks against Israelis that occurred outside Palestinian Authority (PA) held areas in the West Bank.
The PA increased its effort to rein in Palestinian violence against Israelis in 1995. The PA security apparatus stepped up its campaign to register and confiscate weapons, thwart terrorist plots, and convict Palestinians responsible for anti-Israeli acts. The PA thwarted a PIJ attack planned for 10 June. In August, the Palestinian Police Force arrested a HAMAS terrorist who was preparing a bomb to be set off in Israel. Arafat and other senior PA officials regularly condemned acts of terrorism as they occurred, especially the Rabin assassination.
Israel’s vigilant border security appeared to effectively prevent infiltrations from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Israeli troops on 12 August, for instance, captured a heavily armed guerrilla attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Jordan. Hizballah and Palestinian rejectionist groups continued to launch occasional—nine times in 1995—Katyusha rocket salvos into northern Israel from southern Lebanon. The most serious rocket attacks occurred in November, when militants in Lebanon fired 30 to 40 Katyushas into northern Israel over a two-day period, wounding six Israeli civilians.
Jordanian security and police closely monitor secular and Islamic extremists inside the country, detaining individuals suspected of involvement in violent acts aimed at destabilizing the government or its relations with other states. Jordanian authorities detained dozens of persons in terrorist-related cases in 1995, including six members of the Islamic Renewal Movement planning to attack foreign interests and two individuals suspected of shooting a French diplomat in February. In late July, Jordan arrested a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing, pursuant to a request from the United States, and rendered him to US law enforcement authorities in early August.
Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel—signed on 26 October 1994—commits the two parties to cooperate against terrorism. Amman maintains tight security along its border with Israel and has stopped individuals attempting to infiltrate into the West Bank.
Several Palestinian rejectionist groups maintain a closely watched presence in Jordan, including the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) The government in April warned HAMAS spokesman Ibrahim Ghawsha. a Jordanian citizen, not to issue statements supportive of anti-Israeli violence, as this was in violation of Jordanian law. Under that law, Jordan expelled two senior HAMAS leaders in May for making inflammatory statements against Israel. The two did not hold Jordanian citizenship.
There was incremental improvement in the Lebanese security environment in 1995 as the Lebanese Government struggled to expand its authority throughout the country. The situation in the Beirut metropolitan area is somewhat improved but remains dangerous. Large sections of Lebanon, however, remain effectively beyond the central government’s control. There is a risk to Westerners, in particular, in uncontrolled areas such as in the south and the Al Biqa’ (Bekaa Valley). An unknown number of Lebanese civilians were killed, injured, or displaced in the fighting in southern Lebanon this year.
While the government has limited the activities of many violent individuals and groups in Lebanon, the terrorist organization Hizballah has yet to be disarmed and continues to operate as a separate polity within the country For example, Hizballah has announced that it will operate a separate judicial system based on Islamic jurisprudence within areas under its direct control
Hizballah’s animosity toward the United States continues. In its public rhetoric, the group routinely denounces the United States. In March, Hizballah leader Fadlallah stated that Hizballah “continue(s) to oppose US policy everywhere.” Hizballah also continues to make public statements condemning the Middle East peace process.
Militia personnel in February kidnapped two individuals and held them for four days before releasing them. Thousands of people seized during the Lebanese Civil War remain unaccounted for.
Ahmad al-Assad’ad, the son of former Lebanese Parliament speaker Kamel al-Assad’ad, apparently escaped injury on 3 July when handgrenades were thrown at him during a rally in Nabatiyah in southern Lebanon.
In August gunmen shot and killed Shaykh Nizar al-Halbi, the chairman of the Sunni fundamentalist group “Islamic Charitable Projects Association,” as he left his home in a West Beirut neighborhood. A group calling itself the “Usama Kassass Organization” claimed responsibility. Two suspects subsequently were arrested.
A car bombing in Jibshit killed a local Hizballah security official in November. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
In December, Lebanese security forces reportedly broke up a terrorist ring operating in northern Lebanon. This ring was planning to begin a violent campaign of assassinations and bombings that month.
There were developments in several terrorism trials. In May, the Judicial Council trying Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Ja’ja on charges of domestic terrorism—for the bombing in February 1994 of a Maronite Church in Zuq Mikha’il that killed 11 and wounded 59—issued an indefinite continuance (Sine Die) that suspended the trial. A second defendant, Lebanese Forces Deputy Commander Fu’ad Malik, was granted bail on 17 May for medical reasons. Ja’ja remains imprisoned for the assassination of Dany Chamoun, a political rival, in 1990.
In June, Lebanon’s Permanent Military Court sentenced (in absentia) two defendants to death for the Beirut car bombing in December 1994 that killed Hizballah member Fu’ad Mughniyah and two others. Two other defendants received prison sentences.
By the end of the year, following a number of postponements, a Lebanese court was set to proceed with the trial of three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the murders in 1976 of US Ambassador to Lebanon Francis E. Meloy and US diplomat Robert O. Waring.
Several Palestinian groups that use terrorism to express their opposition to the Middle East peace process maintain an active presence in Lebanon. These include the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), the Abu Nidal organization (ANO), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). These organizations conduct terrorist training in southern Lebanon.
There were few terrorist-related incidents in Morocco in 1995. The first terrorist attack against a foreign diplomat in Morocco since 1985 occurred on 28 February, however, when an Egyptian citizen detonated a bomb strapped to his body at the consular department of the Russian Embassy. Although Moroccan officials initially suspected that the bomber had ties to Islamic militants, subsequent investigations led Moroccan officials to believe that the man was acting alone, and that the attack was carried out to demonstrate his solidarity with the Chechen people.
Islamic extremists in Morocco continued their efforts to smuggle weapons into Algeria to support Islamic opposition elements there. In mid-October, Moroccan authorities arrested 16 persons in the eastern province of Oujda whom the Moroccans alleged were transporting weapons to Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front. Four of those arrested were Algerians, strengthening the government claims that the arms were intended for Algerian insurgents.
On 13 November, a car bomb exploded outside the Riyadh headquarters of the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM/SANG). Seven persons died in the blast, five of whom were US citizens, and 42 were injured. At least three groups claimed responsibility for the attack, including the Islamic Movement for Change, the Tigers of the Gulf, and the Combatant Partisans of God. The Saudi Government is aggressively investigating this attack with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Tunis maintained effective control of the security situation in 1995, paying special attention to Islamic dissidents, but did not prosecute any individuals for specific acts of terrorism. In May the extremist Tunisian Islamic Front (FIT) issued a warning that all foreigners in Tunisia should leave, but it did not follow up with any concrete threats or attacks. The group also claimed responsibility for a number of operations in Tunisia, including the murders of four policemen. Tunisian authorities have not confirmed or denied the claims.
There are allegations that the FIT is working in conjunction with the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA), and that its members may be training in GIA camps. Several Tunisians were taken into custody in 1995 for alleged involvement with the GIA network in Europe. The FIT claimed responsibility for an attack in February against a Tunisian border post on the Tunisia-Algeria border in which seven border guards were killed, but some officials blame the GIA—possibly in conjunction with the FIT—for the attack. As of 31 December, there were no similar incidents.