Patterns of Global Terrorism. Editor: Anna Sabasteanski. Volume 1, Berkshire Publishing, 2005.
The Year in Review
There were 423 international terrorist attacks in 2000, an increase of 8 percent from the 392 attacks recorded during 1999. The main reason for the increase was an upsurge in the number of bombings of a multinational oil pipeline in Colombia by two terrorist groups there. The pipeline was bombed 152 times, producing in the Latin American region the largest increase in terrorist attacks from the previous year, from 121 to 193. Western Europe saw the largest decrease—from 85 to 30—owing to fewer attacks in Germany, Greece, and Italy as well as to the absence of any attacks in Turkey.
The number of casualties caused by terrorists also increased in 2000. During the year, 405 persons were killed and 791 were wounded, up from the 1999 totals of 233 dead and 706 wounded.
The number of anti-US attacks rose from 169 in 1999 to 200 in 2000, a result of the increase in bombing attacks against the oil pipeline in Colombia, which is viewed by the terrorists as a US target.
Nineteen US citizens were killed in acts of international terrorism in 2000. Seventeen were sailors who died in the attack against the USS Cole on 12 October in the Yemeni port of Aden. They were:
Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter
Lakeina Monique Francis
Timothy Lee Gauna
Cherone Louis Gunn
James Rodrick McDaniels
Mark Ian Nieto
Ronald Scott Owens
Lakiba Nicole Palmer
Joshua Langdon Parlett
Patrick Howard Roy
Kevin Shawn Rux
Ronchester Mananga Santiago
Timothy Lamont Saunders
Gary Graham Swenchonis
Craig Bryan Wibberley
Two other US citizens were murdered in terrorist attacks during the year:
- Carlos Caceres was one of three aid workers murdered when a militia-led mob in Atambua, West Timor, attacked a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees aid office on 6 September.
- Kurt Erich Schork was one of two journalists killed when rebels in Sierra Leone shot down a UN helicopter on 25 May.
In December new indictments were issued in connection with the bombings in 1998 at two US embassies in East Africa. A federal grand jury in New York charged five men—Saif Al Adel, Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah, Ahmed Mohamed Hamed Ali, Anas Al Liby, and Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah—in connection with the bombing attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, bringing to 22 the total number of persons charged. At the end of 2000, one suspect had pled guilty to conspiring in the attacks, five were in custody in New York awaiting trial, three were in the United Kingdom pending extradition to the United States, and 13 were fugitives, including Usama Bin Ladin.
A trial began in January 2001 in federal court in the Southern District of New York of four suspects in connection with the bombings at the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Three of the four were extradited to the United States in 1999 to stand trial; the fourth was arrested in this country. The trial is expected to last through 2001.
A trial of two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 began in the Netherlands on 3 May 2000. A Scottish court presided over the trial and issued its verdict on 31 January 2001. It found Abdel Basset al-Megrahi guilty of the charge of murdering 259 passengers and crew as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, “while acting in furtherance of the purposes of … Libyan Intelligence Services.” Concerning the other defendant, Al-Amin Kalifa Fahima, the court concluded it had insufficient evidence to satisfy the high standard of “proof beyond reasonable doubt” that is necessary in criminal cases. The verdict of the court represents a victory for the international effort to hold terrorists accountable for their crimes.
Africa in 2000 witnessed an increase in the number of terrorist attacks against foreigners or foreign interests—part of a growing trend in which the number of international terrorist incidents on the continent has risen steadily each year since 1995. Most attacks stemmed from internal civil unrest and spillover from regional wars as African rebel movements and opposition groups employed terrorism to further their political, social, or economic objectives. International terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, Lebanese Hizballah, and Egyptian terrorist groups, continued to operate in Africa during 2000 and to pose a threat to US interests there.
Angola continued to be plagued by the protracted civil war between the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the Angolan Government. Several international terrorist attacks originating in this conflict occurred in 2000, while throughout the year members of the separatist group the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) took hostage several foreigners in Cabinda Province.
Unidentified militants, suspected of being UNITA rebels, ambushed a vehicle near Soyo on 25 January and killed a Portuguese citizen. During May, UNITA rebels attacked two World Food Program convoys in northern Angola, killing one person and causing significant property damage. On 18 and 19 August, suspected UNITA fighters attacked two diamond mines in northeast Angola, killing nine South Africans and abducting seven Angolans.
The group’s most significant incident for the year occurred on 24 May, when FLEC rebels kidnapped three Portuguese construction workers and one Angolan in Cabinda Province.
Spillover from fighting in Sierra Leone resulted in several international terrorist acts in Guinea during 2000. Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels crossed the border into Guinea from Sierra Leone on 7 September and kidnapped two foreign Catholic priests who escaped their captors in early December. On 17 September suspected RUF rebels from Sierra Leone attacked and killed a Togolese United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees staff employee and kidnapped an Ivorian secretary.
During 2000 violence from the Angolan civil war spilled over into Namibia after Angolan Government troops were invited into border areas where Angolan National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels had been active for 20 years. Clashes in the border area killed nine individuals, including several foreigners. Three French children were killed on 3 January in the Caprivi region of Namibia when their vehicle was attacked by uniformed armed men of unknown affiliation. The local police commissioner blamed UNITA rebels for the attack, but a UNITA spokesman denied any responsibility. In other attacks on vehicles, gunmen of un-known affiliation also wounded two French citizens, two Danish aid workers, and a Scottish citizen.
In January, a suspected threat from Algerian terrorists forced organizers to cancel the Niger stage of the Paris-Dakar Road Rally. Race officials bypassed Niger and airlifted competitors to Libya after receiving information that Islamic extremists based in Niger were planning a terrorist attack. No terrorist attacks occurred on the 11,000-kilometer race through Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Libya, and Egypt.
In 2000, impoverished ethnic groups in the southern oil-producing region of Nigeria continued to kidnap local and foreign oil workers in an effort to acquire a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth. (Abductions in the oil region are common, and hostages are rarely harmed.) Some 300 persons, including 54 foreigners, were abducted between April and July. The most serious kidnapping incident occurred on 31 July when armed youths attacked two oil drilling rigs and took 165 hostages, including seven US citizens and five Britons. All hostages were released unharmed on 4 August.
Sierra Leone’s warring factions carried out more high-profile terrorist attacks against foreign interests in 2000 than in 1999, killing and kidnapping United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) peacekeepers, foreign journalists, and humanitarian aid workers.
The most violent attacks occurred in May when Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels resorted to terrorism in an effort to force out UN peacekeepers who had arrived to replace a regional peacekeeping force. In those attacks, RUF militiamen killed five UN peacekeepers and kidnapped some 500 others—most of whom were later released. The RUF also is believed responsible for shooting down a UN helicopter and killing two foreign journalists—including one US citizen—in May. Armed militants kidnapped two British aid workers on 9 May and released them a month later.
Sporadic terrorist attacks continued from June until August, resulting in the deaths of four more peacekeepers and the kidnapping of at least 30 additional UN troops. RUF fighters were responsible for most of the attacks.
According to the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, unidentified Somali gunmen on 30 March opened fire on a UN aircraft departing the port city of Kismaayo in southern Somalia. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which resulted in no injuries and only minor damage to the aircraft. The UN responded by temporarily suspending humanitarian operations in Kismaayo.
Cape Town continued to experience a series of bombings and other acts of urban terrorism in 2000. Nine bombings resulted in some 30 injuries. Five of the nine attacks were carbombings that targeted South African authorities, public places, and restaurants and nightclubs with Western associations. According to US Embassy reporting, the spate of bombings in 2000—the latest of several urban terrorism episodes that Cape Town has experienced since 1998—was distinguished by larger bombs triggered by more sophisticated remote detonation devices.
South African authorities suspect that People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD)—South Africa’s most militant Muslim organization—was responsible for most of the bombings. According to press reports, anonymous calls to news reporters demanding the release of PAGAD cadre preceded four of the bombings. One unidentified individual called a local radio station before a bombing on 29 August and gave precise details of the timing and location of the attack. In raids in November, police arrested several suspects affiliated with PAGAD and confiscated several pipe bombs. There were no bombings or incidents after the arrests.
The Sudanese-backed Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda and the Sudanese- and Congolese-supported Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Western Uganda continued their insurgent campaigns to undermine the Ugandan Government in 2000—resulting in several terrorist attacks against foreign nationals. Suspected LRA rebels kidnapped two Italian missionaries on 4 March and released them unharmed several hours later. In October, LRA militants shot and killed another Italian priest as he drove to his church.
Government counterterrorist efforts initiated in 1999 helped prevent any major bombings during 2000 in the capital, Kampala. Islamist militants associated with the ADF are believed responsible for a series of deadly bombings and other urban terrorist incidents that occurred from 1997 to 1999.
South Asia Overview
In 2000, South Asia remained a focal point for terrorism directed against the United States, further confirming the trend of terrorism shifting from the Middle East to South Asia. The Taliban continued to provide safe-haven for international terrorists, particularly Usama Bin Ladin and his network, in the portions of Afghanistan it controlled.
The Government of Pakistan increased its support to the Taliban and continued its support to militant groups active in Indian-held Kashmir, such as the Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), some of which engaged in terrorism. In Sri Lanka the government continued its 17-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which engaged in several terrorist acts against government and civilian targets during the year.
Islamic extremists from around the world—including North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia—continued to use Afghanistan as a training ground and base of operations for their worldwide terrorist activities in 2000. The Taliban, which controlled most Afghan territory, permitted the operation of training and indoctrination facilities for non-Afghans and provided logistics support to members of various terrorist organizations and mujahidin, including those waging jihads (holy wars) in Central Asia, Chechnya, and Kashmir.
Throughout 2000 the Taliban continued to host Usama Bin Ladin despite UN sanctions and international pressure to hand him over to stand trial in the United States or a third country. In a serious and ongoing dialogue with the Taliban, the United States repeatedly made clear to the Taliban that it would be held responsible for any terrorist attacks undertaken by Bin Ladin while he is in its territory.
In October, a terrorist bomb attack against the USS Cole in Aden Harbor, Yemen, killed 17 US sailors and injured scores of others. Although no definitive link has been made to Bin Ladin’s organization, Yemeni authorities have determined that some suspects in custody and at large are veterans of Afghan training camps.
In August, Bangladeshi authorities uncovered a bomb plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a public rally. Bangladeshi police maintained that Islamic terrorists trained in Afghanistan planted the bomb.
Security problems associated with various insurgencies, particularly in Kashmir, persisted through 2000 in India. Massacres of civilians in Kashmir during March and August were attributed to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) and other militant groups. India also faced continued violence associated with several separatist movements based in the northeast of the country.
The Indian Government continued cooperative efforts with the United States against terrorism. During the year, the US-India Joint Counterterrorism Working Group—founded in November 1999—met twice and agreed to increased cooperation on mutual counterterrorism interests. New Delhi continued to cooperate with US officials to ascertain the fate of four Western hostages—including one US citizen—kidnapped in Indian-held Kashmir in 1995, although the hostages’ whereabouts remained unknown.
Pakistan’s military government, headed by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, continued previous Pakistani Government support of the Kashmir insurgency, and Kashmiri militant groups continued to operate in Pakistan, raising funds and recruiting new cadre. Several of these groups were responsible for attacks against civilians in Indian-held Kashmir, and the largest of the groups, the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack against an Indian garrison in Srinagar in April.
In addition, the Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, continues to be active in Pakistan without discouragement by the Government of Pakistan. Members of the group were associated with the hijacking in December 1999 of an Air India flight that resulted in the release from an Indian jail of former HUM leader Maulana Masood Azhar. Azhar since has founded his own Kashmiri militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and publicly has threatened the United States.
The United States remains concerned about reports of continued Pakistani support for the Taliban’s military operations in Afghanistan. Credible reporting indicates that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance, and military advisers. Pakistan has not prevented large numbers of Pakistani nationals from moving into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban. Islamabad also failed to take effective steps to curb the activities of certain madras-sas, or religious schools, that serve as recruiting grounds for terrorism. Pakistan publicly and privately said it intends to comply fully with UNSCR 1333, which imposes an arms embargo on the Taliban.
The attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in October prompted fears of US retaliatory strikes against Bin Ladin’s organization and targets in Afghanistan if the investigation pointed in that direction. Pakistani religious party leaders and militant groups threatened US citizens and facilities if such an action were to occur, much as they did after the US attacks on training camps in Afghanistan in August 1998 and following the US diplomatic intervention in the Kargil conflict between Pakistan and India in 1999. The Government of Pakistan generally has cooperated with US requests to enhance security for US facilities and personnel.
The separatist group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)—redesignated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1999—remained violent in 2000, engaging in several terrorist acts against government and civilian targets. LTTE attacks, including those involving suicide bombers, killed more than 100 persons, including Minister of Industrial Development Goonaratne, and wounded dozens. Two US citizens and a British national were apparent incidental victims of the group in October, when an LTTE suicide bomber cornered by the police detonated his bomb near the Town Hall in Colombo. The LTTE continued to strike civilian shipping in Sri Lanka, conducting a naval suicide bombing of a merchant vessel and hijacking a Russian ship.
The war in the north between the Tigers and the Sri Lankan Government continued, although by year’s end the government had re-taken 70 percent of the Jaffna Peninsula. The Government of Norway initiated efforts to broker peace between the two parties and may have contributed to an LTTE decision to announce unilaterally a cease-fire in December.
Several terrorist acts have been attributed to other domestic Sri Lankan groups. Suspected Sinhalese extremists protesting Norway’s peace efforts used small improvised explosive devices to attack the Norwegian-run charity Save the Children as well as the Norwegian Embassy. Sinhalese extremists also are suspected of assassinating pro-LTTE politician G. G. Kumar Ponnambalam, Jr., in January.
East Asia Overview
Japan continued to make progress in its counterterrorist efforts. Legal restrictions instituted in 1999 began to take effect on the Aum. Four Aum Shinrikyo members who had personally placed the sarin on the subway in 1995 were sentenced to death. Tokyo also made substantial progress in its efforts to return several Japanese Red Army (JRA) members to Japan. The Government of Japan indicted four JRA members who were forcibly returned after being deported from Lebanon. Tokyo also took two others into custody: Yoshimi Tanaka, a fugitive JRA member involved in hijacking a Japanese airliner in 1970, who was extradited from Thailand, and Fusako Shigenobu, a JRA founder and leader, who had been on the run for 30 years and was arrested in Japan in November.
Several nations in East Asia experienced terrorist violence in 2000. Burmese dissidents took over a provincial hospital in Thailand; authorities stormed the hospital, killed the hostage takers, and freed the hostages unharmed. In Indonesia, there was a sharp increase in international and domestic terrorism, including several bombings, two of which targeted official foreign interests. Pro-Jakarta militia units continued attacks on UN personnel in East Timor. In one incident in September, three aid workers, including one US citizen, were killed.
Small-scale violence in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam occurred in 2000, some connected to antigovernment groups, allegedly with support from foreign nationals. Several small-scale bombings occurred in the Laotian capital, some of which targeted tourist destinations and injured foreign nationals. An attack on 24 November in downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia, resulted in deaths and injuries. The US Government released a statement on 19 December that “deplores and condemns” alleged US national or permanent resident support, encouragement, or participation in violent antigovernment activities in several foreign countries with which the United States is at peace, specifically Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
In the Philippines, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) abducted 21 persons, including 10 foreign tourists, from a Malaysian resort in April, the first time the group conducted operations outside the southern Philippines. ASG members later abducted several foreign journalists, three Malaysians, and one US citizen in the southern Philippines. (The US citizen and one Filipino remained captive at year’s end.) After breaking off peace talks in Manila in April, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) mounted several terrorist attacks in the southern Philippines against Philippine security and civilian targets. Philippine officials also suspect MILF operatives conducted bombings in Manila, including two at popular shopping malls in May. Other groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army, and the Alex Boncayao Brigade, mounted attacks in the archipelago.
In January, 10 armed Burmese dissidents—linked to the takeover in 1999 of the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok—took over the Ratchaburi provincial hospital in Thailand. Thai security forces stormed the hospital and freed the victims. All the hostage takers were killed, and no hostages were injured during the assault. Separately, Burma sentenced to death one terrorist involved in the 1999 Embassy seizure.
Indonesia experienced a sharp rise in international and domestic terrorism during the year, as weakening central government control and a difficult transition to democracy provided fertile ground for terrorist activities. Several bombings occurred in 2000, two of which targeted official foreign interests. Unidentified assailants detonated a car bomb in front of the Philippine Ambassador’s residence in central Jakarta as the Ambassador was entering the compound on 1 August. The explosion killed two Indonesians, seriously injured three other persons—including the Ambassador—and slightly injured 18 bystanders, including one Filipino and two Bulgarians. Unidentified perpetrators also conducted a grenade attack against the Malaysian Embassy on 27 August, but no injuries resulted.
Six other bombings from July to November targeted domestic interests in the capital. The most destructive occurred on 13 September when a car bomb in the Jakarta stock exchange’s underground parking garage killed 10 Indonesians. Other targets included the Attorney General’s office, the Jakarta Governor’s residence, a Jakarta hotel, a local nongovernmental organization, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, which was used as the courtroom venue for former President Soeharto’s corruption trial. Multiple bombings also occurred in major cities in North Sumatra, Riau, and East Java.
Indonesian officials made little progress in apprehending and prosecuting those responsible for the bombings. The Indonesian National Police arrested 34 persons suspected of involvement in the Malaysian Embassy and the stock-exchange bombings, but a lack of evidence forced the release of all suspects in mid-October. The police claim the Free Aceh Movement (GAM)—a group seeking an independent state in northern Sumatra—conducted both attacks and planned another against the US Embassy to “create chaos” in Jakarta. The evidence made public as of December, however, does not support elements of this theory. Nevertheless, the GAM or Achenese separatists did conduct sporadic attacks on Exxon-Mobil oil facilities in Aceh early in the year. The group’s primary target was Indonesian security elements, some of which continued to guard Exxon-Mobil facilities.
Indonesian nationalists and some radical Islamist groups occasionally carried out violent protests outside US diplomatic facilities in response to perceived US interference in domestic affairs and support for Israel. One demonstration culminated in a mob attack against the US Consulate in Surabaya on 15 September, and another involved the Islamist militant Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders’ Front) threatening US citizens in the country. Other Islamist extremists in October searched for US citizens in a central Javanese city, warning them to leave the country.
Militiamen attacked a UNHCR aid office in Atambua, West Timor, on 6 September, killing three aid workers, including one US citizen. Suspected militia members also killed two UN peacekeepers—a New Zealander and a Nepalese national—during the year.
Aum Shinrikyo, which conducted the sarin nerve agent attack in the Tokyo subway system in 1995, remained under active government surveillance. The Aum now is required by law to report regularly on its membership, residences, and other holdings. The Tokyo district court in 1999 and 2000 sentenced to death four of the five senior cultists who actually placed the sarin on the subway. (The fifth culprit, Ikuo Hayashi, showed a repentant and cooperative attitude and, in 1998, received a less severe life sentence.) The prosecution of cult leader Shoko Asahara continued, with four drug-related charges dropped in October in an effort to expedite a verdict. Aum leadership took further steps to improve the cult’s image following up its public apology and admission of responsibility for the subway attack with an agreement to pay $40 million damage to attack victims, rejection of cult founder Asahara as a religious prophet, a pledge to remove teachings advocating murder from the cult’s religious doctrine, and a change of its name to Aleph.
Separately, four Japanese Red Army (JRA) members were returned to Japan in March after being deported from Lebanon. They later were indicted on charges of attempted murder and forgery of official documents. Japanese officials continued to seek the extradition of a fifth colleague, Kozo Okamoto, who was granted political asylum by Lebanon because he had participated in operations against Israel. In June, the Japanese Government successfully extradited Yoshimi Tanaka—one of the fugitive members of the JRA involved in hijacking a Japanese Airlines plane to North Korea in 1970—from Thailand. During a preliminary hearing before the Tokyo district court in July, Tanaka publicly apologized and submitted a signed report admitting to hijacking and assault charges. His trial began on 16 December.
In November, Osaka police successfully tracked down and arrested Fusako Shigenobu, a founder and leader of the JRA, who had been on the run for 30 years. Prosecutors have charged her with suspicion of conspiracy related to JRA’s seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague in 1974, as well as attempted murder, and passport fraud. Police later seized two supporters who allegedly helped her evade detection while in Japan. Only a handful of JRA members remain at large.
Japan has yet to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing.
Several small-scale bombings of undetermined origin occurred in Vientiane during 2000, some of which targeted tourist destinations and injured foreign nationals. Unidentified assailants threw an explosive device at a restaurant on 30 March, injuring 10 tourists from Britain, Germany, and Denmark. Bombings also occurred at Vientiane’s morning market in May—injuring four Thai nationals—and the central post office in July, where two foreign tourists narrowly escaped injury. Unidentified perpetrators also detonated explosives at the Vientiane bus station, the domestic airport terminal, and a national monument. Authorities discovered other bombs planted at the morning market, a foreign embassy, and in a hotel outside Vientiane and rendered them safe.
Press reporting during the year indicated that political dissidents conducted some of the attacks in the capital, although the suspected groups denied involvement.
Malaysia experienced two incidents of international terrorism in 2000, both perpetrated by the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The ASG abducted 21 persons, including 10 foreign tourists, from the Sipadan diving resort in eastern Malaysia on 23 April. A suspected ASG faction also kidnapped three Malaysians from a resort on Pandanan Island in eastern Malaysia on 10 September. The group released most of the hostages from both incidents but continued to hold one Filipino abducted from Sipadan as of the end of the year.
A Malaysian Islamist sect known as Al-Ma’unah targeted domestic security forces for the first time in July. Members of the group raided two military armories in Perak state, about 175 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, and took four locals hostage. Sect members killed two of the hostages—a Malaysian police officer and soldier—before surrendering on 6 July. Malaysian authorities arrested and detained several dozen members following the incident and suspect that 29 of those held also launched attacks against a Hindu temple, a brewery, and an electrical power tower.
Islamist separatist groups in the Philippines increased attacks against foreign and domestic targets in 2000. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)—designated one of 29 Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the US Government—conducted operations outside the southern Philippines for the first time when it abducted 21 persons—including 10 foreign tourists—from a Malaysian resort in April. In a series of subsequent, separate incidents, ASG group members abducted several foreign journalists, three Malaysians, and one US citizen in the southern Philippines. Although obtaining ransom money was a primary goal, the hostage takers issued several disparate political demands ranging from releasing international terrorists jailed in the United States to establishing an independent Islamic state. The group released most of the hostages by October allegedly for ransoms totaling several million dollars, while Philippine Government assaults on ASG positions paved the way for some other hostages to escape. The ASG, however, continued to hold the US citizen and a Filipino captive at year’s end.
Manila made some legal progress against ASG kidnapping activities in 2000 when a regional trial court sentenced three group members to life in prison for abducting Dr. Nilo Barandino and 10 members of his household in 1992. The Philippine Government also filed charges against ASG members involved in multiple kidnapping cases, although the suspects remained at large.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)—the largest remaining Philippine Islamist separatist group—broke off stalled peace talks with Manila in late April. After the military launched an offensive capturing several MILF strongholds and attacking rebel checkpoints near Camp Abubakar—the MILF headquarters in the southern Philippines—the MILF mounted several terrorist attacks in the southern Philippines against Philippine security and civilian targets. In July, Philippine Armed Forces captured Camp Abubakar, and the MILF responded by declaring a “holy war” against Manila and continuing attacks against civilian and government targets in the southern Philippines. Philippine law enforcement officials also have accused MILF operatives of responsibility for several bombings in Manila, including two at popular shopping malls in May and five at different locations in Manila on 30 December. Police arrested 26 suspected MILF members in connection with the May bombings and still held them at year’s end.
Communist rebels also remained active in 2000, occasionally targeting businesses and engaging in sporadic clashes with Philippine security forces. Press reporting indicates that early in the year the Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) attacked a South Korean construction company and in March issued an order to target foreign businesses “whose operations hurt the country’s economy and environment.” The Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB)—a breakaway CPP/NPA faction—strafed Shell Oil offices in the central Philippines in March. The group warned of more attacks against oil companies, including US-owned Caltex, to protest rising oil prices.
Distinguishing between political and criminal motivation for many of the terrorist-related activities in the Philippines continued to be difficult, most notably in the numerous cases of kidnapping for ransom in the southern Philippines. Both Islamist and Communist insurgents sought to extort funds from businesses in their operating areas, occasionally conducting reprisal operations if money was not paid.
In January 2000, 10 armed Burmese dissidents—linked to the takeover in 1999 of the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok—took over the Ratchaburi provincial hospital. Thai security forces stormed the hospital and freed the victims. Although no hostages were injured during the assault, all the hostage takers were killed. Separately, Burma sentenced to death one terrorist involved in the 1999 Embassy takeover.
Authorities responded with military force and legal action to separatist activity in the south. In February, security forces dealt a severe blow to the New Pattani United Liberation Organization—a Muslim separatist group—when they killed its leader Saarli Taloh-Meyaw. Authorities claim that he was responsible for 90 percent of the terrorist activities in Narathiwat, a southern Thai province.
In April, police arrested the deputy leader of the outlawed Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN)—a Southern separatist group—in Pattani. The case was still pending before the court at year’s end.
Authorities suspect Muslim separatists conducted several small-scale attacks on public schools, a government-run clinic, and a police station in the south.
In June, a Thai criminal court ordered extradited to Japan Yoshimi Tanaka—a member of the radical Japanese Red Army Faction, wanted for the hijacking in 1970 of a Japan Airlines plane. His trial in Tokyo began in mid-December.
Thai officials again publicly pledged to halt the use of Thailand as a logistics base by the Sri Lankan group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The pledges, which echoed reassurances made by Bangkok in previous years, followed the discovery in June of a partially completed submersible at a shipyard in Phuket, Thailand, owned by an LTTE-sympathizer, as well as an unclassified paper by Canadian intelligence published in December that outlined the Tigers’ use of front companies to procure weapons via Thailand.
No major terrorist attacks occurred in Eurasia in 2000, but counterterrorist efforts, often in conjunction with counterinsurgency efforts, continued in the states of the former Soviet Union.
Russia, China, and the United States were all involved in regional efforts to combat terrorism. In 2000, members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) discussed establishing a CIS-wide counterterrorism center in Bishkek, although past efforts have been unsuccessful. The heads of the CIS states security services put forward Gen. Boris Mylnikov, former First Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Department for Protecting the Constitutional Order and Combating Terrorism, to lead the potential CIS Counterterrorism Center, and on 1 December the CIS heads of state agreed on funding for the organization, half of which will be provided by Russia. The center began operations in December 2000 and reportedly has been tasked by the CIS to maintain a database of information on terrorism.
The Shanghai Forum—Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Russia, and China—met in July and discussed cooperation among the five states as well as with Uzbekistan against terrorism, insurgency, and Islamic extremism. The Forum supported a proposal to establish a regional counterterrorism center in Bishkek, although no progress had been made in implementing this decision by year’s end.
All five Central Asian states participated in the Central Asian Counterterrorism Conference in June sponsored by the US Department of State. Other participants included representatives from Russia, Egypt, and Spain. The United Kingdom, Turkey, China, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sent observers.
Several Central Asian states also concluded counterterrorism agreements in 2000. Uzbekistan in early May signed an agreement with India that included an extradition treaty and mutual assistance in criminal investigations with an eye toward counterterrorist operations. In June, Kazkahstan and Kyrgyzstan separately reached bilateral agreements with China to cooperate on counterterrorist matters. In October and November, Uzbekistan also signed agreements on counterterrorism cooperation with Turkey, China, and Italy.
Azerbaijan took strong steps to curb the international logistics networks that support the fighters in Chechnya, to include closing international Islamic relief organizations believed to assist militants in Chechnya, strengthening border controls with Russia, and arresting and extraditing suspected mujahidin supporters. There has been good cooperation on counterterrorism cases between the Government of Azerbaijan and US law enforcement. In mid-September, Azerbaijani police arrested seven Dagestani men under suspicion of working with the mujahidin and extradited them to Russia. The government has cooperated closely and effectively with the United States on antiterrorism issues, and a program of antiterrorism assistance has been initiated. Azerbaijan intends to join the CIS Counterterrorism Center.
Azerbaijan and Russia signed a border agreement extension in early June to limit the flow of arms and militants across the borders.
In early October, the Supreme Court in Baku found 13 members of Jayshullah, an indigenous terrorist group who may have had plans to attack the US Embassy, guilty of committing terrorist actions. The court sentenced them to prison terms ranging from eight years to life.
Georgia faced the potential for spillover violence from the Chechen conflict and contended with international mujahidin seeking to use Georgian territory as a conduit for financial and logistic support to the mujahidin in Chechnya. Russia continued to pressure Georgia for stronger border controls. With international assistance, Georgia has steadily increased its border control presence on its northern border and invited monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE has not recorded any movement of mujahidin across the Georgian border with Chechnya, although some evidence suggests that, despite these efforts, neither Russian nor Georgian border guards have been able to seal the border entirely from individuals and small groups passing to and from Chechnya.
Russia alleged that there are mujahidin in the Pankisi Gorge in northern Georgia. Georgia moved more Interior Ministry units into the region. Hostage taking for ransom by criminal gangs continued to be a problem in some parts of Georgia. Five persons were kidnapped in the Abkhazia region, including two unarmed UN military observers and an international NGO employee, in early June, then released without payment of ransom. Two International Red Cross staff employees were taken hostage on 4 August in the Pankisi Gorge and released one week later under the condition that their kidnappers would not face criminal charges.
In Almaty in September, Kazakhstani police killed four suspected Uighur separatist militants who were sought in connection with the murders of two policemen and a leader of the Uighur community in Kyrgyzstan.
The only clear instances of international terrorism in Central Asia this year occurred in Kyrgzystan as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’s (IMU) insurgent efforts continued. Four US citizen mountain climbers were taken hostage by IMU militants operating in southern Kyrgyzstan in early August and held captive for several days before they escaped unharmed. IMU militants also took six German, three Russian, one Ukrainian, and two Uzbek mountaineers hostage, but later freed them.
Russian authorities continued to search for suspects in the four deadly apartment bombings that took place in August and September 1999. The trial of the six Dagestani men accused of conducting the bombing in Buinaksk, which killed 62 persons, began in December. There still are no suspects in custody for the bombings of two buildings in Moscow or a building in Volgodonsk. In November, Polish authorities arrested two Russian organized crime members, whom they suspect are connected to the August bombing in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, which killed eight persons.
Several incidents of domestic terrorism occurred in Tajikistan in 2000. A small car bomb, planted on a vehicle belonging to the European Community Humanitarian Organization (ECHO), exploded on 16 July in Dushanbe and injured several children. In addition, in October an unoccupied car belonging to the Chairman of the Democratic Party, Mahmadruzi Iskandarov, was bombed. Bombings and other violence marred Tajikistani Parliamentary elections in February, which concluded the Tajikistani Peace Process ending a five-year civil war. On 1 October and 31 December four churches were bombed. Several deaths and numerous casualties resulted from the bombing in October. There is no evidence that any of the attacks, either on the churches or during the elections, involved international interests. While the Tajikistani Government does not support the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), it has been unable to prevent it from transiting its territory.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) infiltrated fighters into mountainous areas of Surkhandar’inskaya Oblast [in] southern Uzbekistan during the spring and summer of 2000. Uzbekistani military forces discovered the fighters and drove them back into Tajikistan. Tohir Yuldashev and Juma Khodjiev (a.k.a. Juma Namangani), the leaders of the IMU, were tried in absentia together with 10 other persons accused of terrorism or anticonstitutional activity. All defendants were convicted at a trial that failed to conform to international standards for the protection of the human rights of the defendants. The court sentenced Yuldashev and Khodjiev to death and the remaining defendants to prison terms. On 25 September, the United States designated the IMU a Foreign Terrorist Organization, citing both its armed incursions into Uzbekistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan and its taking of foreign hostages, including US citizens.
Western Europe had the largest decline in the number of international terrorist incidents of any region in 2000. Several European states moved to strengthen and codify anti-terrorism legislation, and many signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, which was opened for signature on 10 January 2000. There were notable examples of counterterrorism cooperation among several countries, such as the US-UK-Greek collaboration on the British Defense Attache’s assassination in Athens, Spanish-French cooperation against the Basque terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), and Italy and Spain’s agreement to create common judicial space. Greece undertook a series of more stringent counterterrorism measures in the wake of the murder of the UK Defense Attache by the terrorist group 17 November, but Athens still has not made any arrests in connection with any of the group’s 21 murders over the past quarter century. France and Turkey both made impressive strides in combating terrorism through aggressively pursuing the perpetrators and their terrorist groups.
In Southeastern Europe, groups of ethnic Albanians have conducted armed attacks against government forces in southern Serbia and in Macedonia since 1999. One group in southern Serbia calls itself the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (PMBLA). One group in Macedonia calls itself the National Liberation Army (NLA). Both groups include members who fought with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998-99 and have used their wartime connections to obtain funding and weapons from Kosovo and elsewhere. The PMBLA has, on occasion, harassed and detained civilians traveling through areas it controls. Both the PMBLA and the NLA have fired indiscriminately upon civilian centers. (In the same region, ethnic Albanian assailants carried out a terrorist attack against a bus in Kosovo on 16 February 2001, killing at least seven civilians and wounding 43 others.)
In keeping with Austria’s constructive security relationship with the United States, the Interior Minister discussed closer cooperation in countering crime and terrorism during a visit to Washington in August. Vienna also enacted an expanded police-powers bill enabling authorities to collect and analyze information more effectively.
On 26 February, Austrian letter bomber Franz Fuchs committed suicide in his prison cell where he had been serving a life sentence for masterminding a series of letter-bomb campaigns in Austria and Germany between 1993 and 1997.
Authorities held Halimeh Nimr, a suspected member of the terrorist Abu Nidal organization (ANO), in custody from January to May. In September, she failed to appear in court to be tried on charges of attempting to withdraw some $8 million from a bank account controlled by the ANO, which subsequently threatened to target Austrian interests if the funds were not released to the group.
In 2000, citing the statute of limitations, France declined an Austrian Government request that Illich Ramirez Sanchez, a.k.a. Carlos the Jackal, be extradited to face criminal charges for a terrorist attack on the Vienna headquarters of OPEC in 1975.
The Austrian Government continued to allow the political front of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to maintain its offices in Vienna, which have been open since 1995. Authorities estimate some 400 PKK militants and 4,000 sympathizers reside in Austria.
The Interior Ministers of Belgium and Spain met in Brussels in June to discuss Belgium’s refusal to extradite Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) members suspected of terrorist acts. The Belgian minister pledged that his government would no longer refuse Spanish extradition requests.
In 2000, Belgium did reject Turkey’s request for the extradition of suspected Turkish terrorist Fehriye Erdal to prosecute her for her alleged role in the 1996 handgun murder of a prominent Turkish industrialist and two associates in Istanbul. Erdal, arrested in Belgium in 1999, is allegedly a member of the Turkish Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) terrorist group. Belgian authorities denied Turkey’s request on the grounds she could receive the death penalty if tried in Turkey. Belgium also declined to prosecute her under the 1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, noting that it covers only terrorist acts using bombs or automatic weapons. After Brussels denied Ms. Erdal’s political asylum request, she went on a hunger strike and subsequently was released from prison and placed under house arrest. She may be tried later on charges arising from criminal activities in Belgium.
In February, authorities paroled two members of the “Cellules Communistes Combattantes” after they had served 14 years of their life sentences for involvement in a series of bomb attacks against US, NATO, and Belgian interests in 1984 and 1985. One attack resulted in the deaths of two firemen in Brussels.
Belgium has yet to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing.
During 2000, France maintained its traditional tough stance against terrorism. On the legal front, Paris was the first to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, which was a French initiative. The French Government’s nationwide “Vigi-Pirate” plan—which uses military forces to reinforce police security in Paris and other major cities to prevent a repeat of the Paris metro attacks by Algerian terrorists—remained in effect. Vigi-Pirate increased security at metro and train stations, enhanced border controls, and expanded identity checks countrywide.
In January, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) relaunched its assassination and bombing campaign in Spain, and French police responded aggressively by interdicting cross-border operations, arresting group members, and shutting down logistics and supply cells in France. At year’s end, ETA had killed 23 persons and wounded scores more.
On the judicial front, French courts tried and convicted numerous ETA terrorists. In January, Javier Arizkuren Ruiz, alias Kantauri, a former ETA military operations chief, was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. A Paris appeals court in September reportedly authorized Ruiz’s extradition to Spain to stand trial for an attempt to kill King Juan Carlos in 1995. Twelve other ETA militants received lengthy jail sentences. The court sent Daniel Derguy, believed to be the ETA chief in France, to prison for 10 years. In October, 10 senior French and Spanish ETA members were convicted of criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist organization. Ignacio Gracia Arregui, alias Inaki de Renteria, reportedly a top ETA leader, was sentenced in December to five years in jail. Others convicted received prison sentences of five to 10 years. France often has extradited convicted ETA terrorists to Spain when they have completed their prison sentences.
In October, a French judge ruled in favor of a suit charging Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi with “complicity to murder” in the bomb attack in 1989 against a UTA airliner over the Niger desert that killed 170 persons.
In November, French courts also convicted seven Spanish citizens of membership in First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO), a Spanish leftist terrorist group. In raids during the year, police officials seized bomb-making paraphernalia, false identity documents, and large amounts of cash.
French courts convicted a number of Algerian nationals on terrorist-related charges. Amar Bouakaze, an Algerian, was convicted in June for criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist organization. Evidence linked Bouakaze to Ahmed Ressam, a suspected terrorist being held in the United States. Another Algerian national was convicted of an attack that derailed a train in France in June, leaving two persons dead.
The Breton Resistance Army (ARB) claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in April that damaged a McDonald’s restaurant at Pornic, but the group denied involvement in another attack the same month against a McDonald’s restaurant near Dinan that killed a French employee. French police arrested four members of the Breton nationalist group Emgann (Combat) on charges of involvement in the Dinan bombing.
Six proindependence Corsican groups joined in proclaiming a cease-fire in late 1999, but bomb attacks against government offices on the island continued intermittently in 2000. One such Corsican group claimed responsibility for a failed attack in Paris in June. In October, Corsican separatists placed a car bomb in front of the police station in Marseilles. The device was not built to detonate but to serve as a warning for a possible future attack and to highlight the group’s capabilities. Also in October, French courts sentenced 10 Corsican nationalists to four years’ imprisonment for an attack that damaged an estate complex on Corsica in 1994.
France’s counterterrorism efforts have been less robust on the diplomatic front where it has blocked concerted action by the G-8 aimed at Iranian-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East. Also, France’s presidency of the EU yielded little practical US-EU counterterrorism cooperation.
Extreme rightwing violence against foreign nationals in Germany increased in 2000 and became a major political issue. Interior ministers from the German states met in November to address the problem and recommended the federal authorities adopt control measures, including establishing databases to track rightwing and leftwing extremists.
German officials detected no revival of organized extreme leftwing terrorist activity in 2000. Authorities sought several former members of the Red Army Faction (RAF), which was dissolved in 1998, and continued to prosecute former RAF members in court. Johannes Weinreich, a former RAF member and lieutenant to Carlos the Jackal, was convicted in January of committing murder and attempted murder during an attack in 1983 on a French cultural center in then-West Berlin. In November, RAF member Andrea Klump went on trial on charges of participation in a failed attack on the NATO base at Rota, Spain, in 1988. In December, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer testified at the trial of former acquaintance Hans-Joachim Klein, who was charged with three murders in connection with the 1975 attack in Vienna on petroleum ministers from OPEC states by “Carlos”-led terrorists.
The courts convicted Metin Kaplan, leader of the violent Turkish Islamist group Kalifatstaat, and sentenced him to four years in prison for publicly calling for the death of a rival. The trial of five defendants accused of the 1986 Libyan-sponsored bombing against the Labelle Discotheque, which killed two US servicemen, continued to progress slowly. The 1993 ban on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliates remained in effect. The PKK ceased to conduct violent demonstrations in 2000, following the seizure of the group’s leader Ocalan.
Germany continued to cooperate multilaterally and bilaterally—notably with the United States—to combat terrorism. In 2000, German authorities arrested and extradited to the United States a suspect in the bombings in 1998 of the US embassies in East Africa.
The Greek Government undertook some meaningful steps to combat terrorism—especially in the wake of the Revolutionary Organization 17 November’s (17 November) murder of UK Defense Attache Saunders in Athens—including efforts to persuade a historically skeptical public of the damage inflicted by terrorism on Greece’s interests and international reputation. The government strengthened the police counterterrorism unit, implemented a multimillion-dollar reward program, and began drafting legislation to provide a legal basis for more vigorous counterterrorism efforts. Greek, British, and US experts cooperated closely in the still ongoing investigation of the Saunders murder. Nonetheless, despite these and other promising initiatives, as well as closer Greek-US cooperation, Athens resolved no outstanding terrorist incident and arrested no terrorist suspects in 2000.
In June, two motorcyclists shot and killed British Defense Attache Stephen Saunders in Athens’ rush hour traffic. Revolutionary Organization 17 November, a violent far-left nationalist group, claimed the murder as revenge against NATO’s military action in 1999 against Serbia. The group simultaneously claimed responsibility for attacks it had mounted in 1999 on the German and Dutch ambassadors’ residences, on three Western banks, and on offices of the governing PASOK party. In a follow-up communique released in December, 17 November defended itself against mounting public criticism by trying to appeal to populist, pro-Serb sentiments and also by urging Greeks not to cooperate with the government’s counterterrorism efforts.
The Saunders murder and Greek preparations for the 2004 Olympics contributed to a political and public opinion climate more supportive of effective counterterrorism measures. The Prime Minister, his cabinet colleagues, and opposition leaders denounced the murder of Saunders and spoke out against terrorism in general. The Greek media provided extensive coverage of Heather Saunders’ eloquent public statements in the aftermath of her husband’s murder. The public widely observed a national moment of silence for all victims of terrorism, and Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos held an unprecedented memorial service for all Greek and foreign victims of terrorism in Greece.
The police sought to involve the public in the Saunders investigation and encouraged witnesses to come forward. Minister of Public Order (MPO) Khrisokhoidhis led the government’s efforts, which included increasing the reward for information on terrorist attacks to $2.5 million. The police also opened toll-free hotlines to enable informants to pass tips anonymously. Although failure to cordon off the Saunders crime scene initially hampered the investigation, the Greek police subsequently worked effectively with British investigators to pursue a small number of useful leads. At year’s end, the British Defense Attache’s murder remained unsolved.
In the spring, Revolutionary Nuclei, another far-left, nationalist terrorist group, bombed buildings belonging to two Greek construction companies linked to the Greek Government, military, and NATO. Police safely removed a bomb the group had left outside the Peiraiefs (Piraeus) office of a former PASOK minister. On 12 November, the group mounted three separate but nearly simultaneous attacks against a British bank, a US bank, and the studio and home of the Greek sculptor whose statue of Gen. George C. Marshall is displayed at the US Embassy.
Throughout the year, a host of anarchist groups claimed responsibility for an average of two arson or bomb attacks per week on offices, shops, and vehicles, almost always in Athens; many of the targeted vehicles belonged to foreign diplomats, foreign companies, Greek officials, and Greek public-sector executives. The two most prolific groups, Black Star and Anarchist Faction, together carried out 31 attacks in 2000. No fatalities or arrests resulted from these attacks.
Suspected terrorist Avraam Lesperoglou, already imprisoned since December 1999 for passport fraud and draftdodging, was convicted in October of attempting to murder a policeman and sentenced to 17 years. Lesperoglou, who is suspected of being linked to Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA) and possibly other groups, still awaits trial on several terrorism-related murder charges.
In late November, a Justice Ministry expert committee began drafting legislation on terrorism and organized crime for presentation to Parliament. The controversial legislation is expected to provide for greater admissability of evidence from undercover police operations, use of DNA evidence, adjudication by all-judge panels of certain classes of terrorist cases, and protection of witnesses. The Greek Government has indicated the legislation will be consistent with EU standards and international norms.
In 2000, Greece and the United States ratified a mutual legal assistance treaty and signed a police cooperation memorandum to enhance bilateral cooperation on law enforcement, including terrorism. During the year, MPO Khrisokhoidhis met with cabinet-level officials in the United States and in the United Kingdom and signed a bilateral counterterrorism agreement in London. By year’s end, Greece had signed all 12 and ratified all but two of the UN counterterrorism conventions.
Italy’s counterterrorism efforts in 2000 focused primarily on the assassination in 1999 of Labor Ministry Adviser Massimo d’Antona by individuals who claimed to be from the extreme leftist Red Brigades-Combatant Communist Party (BR-PCC). Leaks from the investigation, however, complicated the arrest and interrogation of several suspects. One much-publicized suspect was released because of lack of evidence but remains under investigation. Later in the year, the Revolutionary Proletarian Nucleus, a leftist-anarchist group, issued a communique claiming responsibility for placing a bomb at the Milan office of the Italian Confederation of Free Trade Unions in July.
In February, Interior Minister Bianco warned of a possible resurgence of rightwing terrorism, and the Italian Government subsequently dissolved the neofascist organization Fronte Nazionale (National Front) and in October confiscated its assets. Bianco maintained, however, that leftwing and anarchist violence, exemplified by the BR-PCC and the Territorial Anti-Imperialist Nuclei (NTA), posed the greater threat. A spinoff group of the NTA—an anti-US, anti-NATO group—was behind several low-level bombing and incendiary attacks on Aviano Airbase in 1999.
In October authorities in Naples issued arrest warrants for 11 members of Al-Takfir w’al Hijra, a North African Muslim extremist group. Seven were apprehended in Naples, France, and Algeria, but four eluded arrest. Officials noted that members of the group, also active in Milan and other cities, engaged primarily in forging travel documents and raising funds from expatriate Muslims.
In January, the government expelled to his native country illegal immigrant and Algerian national Yamin Rachek, husband of Italian-Canadian dual national Lucia Garofolo who was arrested in December for carrying explosives from Canada into the United States. In June, the government pardoned Turkish national Ali Agca for his attack on the Pope in 1981 and extradited him to his native Turkey.
In late 2000, Italy and Spain signed an agreement to create a common judicial space between them, eliminating extradition procedures in the case of serious felonies, including terrorist activities.
Spain was wracked by domestic terrorism in 2000. After abandoning its cease-fire in late 1999, the terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) began a countrywide bombing and assassination campaign, killing 23 and wounding scores more by year’s end. ETA traditionally targets police, military personnel, and politicians, as well as journalists and businessmen. As 2000 progressed, however, the group appeared to become increasingly indiscriminate in its attacks, targeting, for example, intersections and shopping areas. The public responded with huge demonstrations in major cities, demanding an end to the violence. Also in 2000, the Spanish and French Basque youth groups united and continued their campaign of street violence and arson. Spanish authorities diligently prosecuted ETA members on terrorism and criminal charges, and the Aznar government reiterated its determination to eliminate terrorism and not negotiate over independence for the constitutionally autonomous Basque provinces. After difficult discussions over the role of moderate Basques represented by the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the governing and opposition Socialist parties signed a common anti-ETA pact at year’s end.
The First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO), quiescent in recent years, stepped up its activity in 2000. In November, the group murdered a Spanish policeman following the arrest of seven GRAPO leaders in Paris, killed two security guards during a botched armed robbery attempt of a security van in May, and carried out several bombings that damaged property but caused no injuries. In November, the Spanish Interior Minister stated that arrests of GRAPO operatives in France had effectively dismantled the leadership and operational command of the group.
In June, Spain’s Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja visited Washington in keeping with the active, high-level dialogue on terrorism between the United States and Spain. Spain also played an important role in the Central Asian Counterterrorism Conference sponsored by the US Department of State held in Washington in June. A Spanish court convicted Ramon Aldasoro, whom the United States extradited to Spain in December 1999, for his participation in the bombing of a police barracks in 1988.
Spanish and French interior ministries cooperated closely in combating terrorism, including arresting numerous ETA members and raiding logistics and support cells. France regularly delivered detained ETA terrorists, including several senior leaders, into Spanish custody. Spain also secured a pledge from Mexico to deny safe-haven to ETA members. Spain welcomed the condemnation of ETA in November by all Ibero-American presidents—except Cuba’s Castro, whose refusal harmed bilateral relations.
Spain has urged the European Union to adopt more vigorous measures against terrorism, including creating a common judicial space. Spain and Italy signed such an agreement.
Combating terrorism remained a top Turkish domestic and foreign policy priority as ethnic, Islamist, leftist, and transnational terrorist groups continued to threaten Turkey. In 2000, previous Turkish successes in fighting these groups were consolidated, producing a dramatically lowered incidence of terrorist activity. The Turkish Government remained in the forefront of cooperative international counterterrorism efforts and worked closely with Washington on combating groups that target US personnel and facilities.
At the direction of its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which long had sought to achieve an independent Kurdish state through violence, asserted that it now seeks, through a political campaign, only guarantees of Kurdish political, economic, social, and cultural rights in a democratic Turkey. The government did not respond to the PKK’s declared change in tactics and goals. Prime Minister Ecevit warned that his government would reconsider its decision not to press for the death sentence against Ocalan if the PKK renewed its violence while the European Court of Human Rights reviewed his trial. The Court took up Ocalan’s appeal in November.
Meanwhile, the number of violent clashes between PKK and government forces in Turkey declined significantly with 45 confrontations in the first 11 months of 2000, according to the Turkish General Staff, compared with thousands in previous years. Turkish forces mounted vigorous operations against the few hundred PKK guerrillas in southeastern Turkey and the several thousand who had withdrawn to northern Iraq, enlisting the aid of Iraqi Kurdish groups that have fought sporadically with the PKK over the last several years. Turkish officials and newspapers noted that Syria observed its commitment made in 1998 to abjure support to the PKK. In contrast, Iran allegedly continued to provide at least a safe-haven to armed PKK militants.
Turkish security forces continued their effective campaign against the extreme-left terrorist group Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C, formerly Dev Sol). The group was able to mount only a few attacks. In August, the police arrested seven suspected DHKP/C terrorists that allegedly planned to attack the airbase at Incirlik, from which a joint US-British-Turkish force maintains “Operation Northern Watch” over the no-fly zone in Iraq. Several European countries, including Belgium, have declined Turkish requests to extradite PKK, DHKP/C, and other terrorists, citing Turkey’s retention of the death penalty and the political motivation of the suspects’ crimes.
The DHKP/C, joined by small extreme leftist factions, staged repeated violent uprisings in prisons to protest the government’s efforts to transfer prisoners from overcrowded older prisons—in which terrorist and criminal groups effectively controlled entire wards—to newer prisons with cells for two or three prisoners. In December, the outlawed terrorist group Turkish Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist showed its opposition to the transfer program by killing two policemen. “Operation Return to Life,” undertaken in December by security forces to gain control of the prison wards, left about 30 prisoners dead, some by their own hand.
The police and the judiciary dealt heavy blows to domestic Islamist terrorist groups in 2000, including the Turkish Hizballah, a domestic terrorist group of mostly Kurdish Sunni Islamists with no known ties to Lebanese Hizballah. Turkish officials and media assert that Turkish Hizballah has received limited Iranian support. Turkish Hizballah’s adherents are anti-Western but primarily target Kurds who are viewed as insufficiently Islamic or unwilling to meet the group’s extortion demands. They have not targeted US citizens. Through October, 723 police operations, mostly in predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey, netted more than 2,700 Turkish Hizballah suspects, approximately 1,700 of whom were arrested. The trial of 15 Turkish Hizballah suspects accused of 156 murders began in July in Diyarbakir.
Turkish authorities arrested members of the Jerusalem Warriors, a small ethnic Turkish Sunni Islamist group with tenuous links to the Turkish Hizballah. Turkish officials and media reported that they had received direction, training, and support from Iran. In August, 17 Warriors went on trial for involvement in 22 murders, including assassinations of several prominent Turkish secularist intellectuals. Four have been accused of killing USAF Sgt. Victor Marvick in a carbombing in 1991.
The United Kingdom enacted two far-reaching counterterrorism laws and continued its close cooperation with the United States and other nations in the fight against terrorism. As in previous years, UK authorities focused primarily on the threat posed by dissident Republican and Loyalist terrorist groups in Northern Ireland, while continuing their efforts to combat transnational Islamist terrorists settled in or transiting the United Kingdom.
The Terrorism Act, enacted in July and effective February 2001, replaces temporary and emergency laws that dealt with Northern Ireland-related terrorism. It broadens the definition of domestic and transnational terrorism throughout the United Kingdom to cover violent acts and threats against individuals and property—including electronic systems—intended to influence the government or promote political, religious, or ideological causes. The Act authorizes the government to ban groups involved in domestic or transnational terrorism and to use special arrest powers to prosecute their members or supporters. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, effective July 2000, created a statutory basis for intercepting communications and for covert surveillance.
London continued to work vigorously to combat Northern Ireland-related terrorism, but British press reports indicated that terrorist killings in the north increased from seven in 1999 to 18 in 2000. The dissident Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) is credited in press reports to have been responsible for attacks in Northern Ireland as well as in central London. The most spectacular incident involved a rocket attack in September that caused minor damage to the headquarters of Britain’s foreign intelligence service, MI6, in central London. UK officials continued to prosecute dissidents suspected in previous attacks. Authorities repeatedly urged witnesses to come forward with evidence relating to RIRA’s 1998 bombing in Omagh, which left 29 dead, and to the murder in 1999 of Republican defense lawyer Rosemary Nelson by Loyalist Red Hand Defenders.
Making the most of close US ties to the United Kingdom and Ireland, Washington continued its efforts to encourage normalization of political, law enforcement, and security arrangements in Northern Ireland as called for in the Good Friday Agreement. President Clinton’s December visit demonstrated US support for achieving lasting peace in the troubled region.
London and Washington worked together to bring to justice suspects in the bombing of two US embassies in East Africa in 1998 and in the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. UK courts found Khaled al-Fawwaz, Ibrahim Hussein Abd al-Hadi Eidarous, and Abel Muhammad Abd al-Majid—indicted in the United States for involvement in the embassy attacks—extraditable to the United States. The three men are appealing the decision. In April, Manchester police, responding to a US request, searched two residences of associates of Usama Bin Ladin and his al-Qaida terrorist network. In May, a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands commenced the trial of two Libyans accused of murder, conspiracy, and breach of the UK Aviation Security Act in perpetrating the Pan Am 103 bombing. All charges but murder were later dropped. (In January 2001, one of the Libyans was found guilty of murder in connection with that attack. The judges found that he acted “in furtherance of the purposes of … Libyan Intelligence Services.” Concerning the other defendant, Al-Amin Kalifa Fahima, the court concluded that the Crown failed to present sufficient evidence to satisfy the high standard of “proof beyond reasonable doubt” that is necessary in criminal cases.)
British authorities assisted Greek officials in investigating the assassination in June of Britain’s Defense Attache in Athens by the terrorist group 17 November. London continues to investigate the murder of British and US citizens in Yemen in 1998 and a bomb incident in its Embassy in Sanaa in 2000, the day after the bombing of the USS Cole.
Latin America Overview
Latin America witnessed an increase in terrorist attacks from the previous year, from 121 to 193. In Colombia, leftist guerilla groups abducted hostages and attacked civil infrastructure, while rightwing paramilitary groups abducted congressional representatives, killed political candidates, and massacred civilians in an attempt to thwart the guerillas. In Ecuador, organized criminal elements with possible links to terrorists and terrorist groups abducted 10 oil workers and also claimed responsibility for oil pipeline bombings that killed seven civilians. Extremist religious groups continued to pose a terrorist concern in the triborder area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Terrorist incidents continued a downward trend in Peru despite a deteriorating political situation and the abrupt resignation of hardline President Fujimori.
Despite ongoing peace talks, Colombia’s two largest guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), continued to conduct international terrorist acts, including kidnapping private US and foreign citizens and extorting money from businesses and individuals in the Colombian countryside.
A significant development during the year involved a series of FARC attacks on interests of US coal firm Drummond, Inc., in Colombia, which publicly refused to pay the group millions of dollars annually in extortion under the terms of FARC Law 002, a tax on entities valued at more than $1 million. As a result of FARC actions, Drummond did not bid on a state-owned coal company, potentially costing Bogota tens of millions of dollars in lost privatization revenue. Colombia’s second-largest crude oil pipeline, the Cano Limon, was attacked 152 times in 2000—a record—which the army blames mostly on the ELN. The attacks forced Occidental Petroleum to halt exports through most of August and September.
In October, the Colombian police rescued a five-year-old US citizen who had been held six months by individuals connected with the FARC.
The FARC and the ELN continued to reach out to government and non-government groups throughout the world and especially in Europe and Latin America through international representatives and attendance at regional conferences and meetings, such as the Sao Paulo Forum. The FARC also continued to target security forces and other symbols of government authority to demonstrate its power and to strengthen its negotiating position. President Pastrana in December extended the FARC’s demilitarized zone to 31 January 2001 and pledged to place government controls over the zone. The FARC—which said it would not return to the table until Bogota reined in the rightwing paramilitaries—unilaterally froze peace talks in November.
Meanwhile, rightwing paramilitary groups continued to grow and expanded their reach in 2000, most notably in southern Colombia’s prime coca growing areas. The groups, in addition to massacring civilians in their attempts to erode FARC and ELN areas of influence, also abducted seven national congressional representatives in December, demanding negotiations with the government.
On 12 October, organized criminal elements with possible links to terrorists and terrorist groups abducted 10 aviation company employees and oil workers (five US citizens, two French, one Chilean, one Argentine, and one New Zealander) in the northern canton of Sucumbios. In December, the kidnappers also claimed responsibility for multiple bomb attacks on the Trans-Ecuadorian Oil pipeline, one of which killed seven Ecuadorian bystanders. At year’s end, the terrorists were demanding $80 million in ransom for eight hostages (two escaped), and the situation had not been resolved. The exact identity of the terrorists remained uncertain. (The group executed one of their hostages, a US citizen, in January 2001. Following extended negotiations with representatives of the oil companies that employed the hostages, the remaining captives were released on 1 March 2001. The United States has pledged to bring those responsible to justice.)
There were no international acts of terrorism in Peru in 2000, but the Peruvian judicial system continued to prosecute vigorously individuals accused of committing domestic terrorist acts. Of the 314 persons Peruvian authorities arrested for involvement in significant acts of terrorism, 30 were sentenced to life imprisonment and 25 were sentenced to 20 to 30 years. Lima requested the extradition from Bolivia of suspected terrorist Justino Soto Vargas. La Paz granted the request, but at year’s end Soto’s asylum status remained unchanged, impeding his extradition.
In April, government authorities captured Shining Path (SL) commander Jose Arcela Chiroque (a.k.a. Ormeno) and as of late November 2000 continued large-scale efforts to apprehend SL leaders Macario Ala (a.k.a. Artemio) and “Comrade Alipio.” Government operations targeted pockets of terrorist activity in the Upper Huallaga River Valley and the Apurimac/Ene River Valley, where SL columns continued to conduct periodic attacks.
The Peruvian Government continued to oppose strongly support to terrorists, but investigations continued into allegations that a small group of Peruvian military officers sold a substantial quantity of small arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Lima remained receptive to US Government-sponsored antiterrorism training and cooperated fully to prevent terrorist attacks by providing valuable information, including access to law enforcement files, records, and databases concerning domestic terrorist groups.
Triborder (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay)
In 2000, the triborder region of South America—where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet—remained a focal point for Islamic extremism in Latin America, but no acts of international terrorism occurred in any of the three countries. The Governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay continued efforts to stem criminal activities of individuals linked to international Islamic terrorist groups, but limited resources, porous borders, and corruption remained obstacles.
Paraguayan authorities in February arrested Ali Khalil Mehri, a Lebanese businessman having financial links to Hizballah, for violating intellectual property rights laws and aiding a criminal enterprise involved in distributing CDs espousing Hizballah’s extremist ideals. He fled the country in June after faulty judicial procedures allowed his release. In November, Paraguayan authorities arrested Salah Abdul Karim Yassine, a Palestinian who allegedly threatened to bomb the US and Israeli Embassies in Asuncion, and charged him with possession of false documents and entering the country illegally. Yassine remained in prison at year’s end. Paraguayan counternarcotics police in October also arrested an individual believed to be representing the FARC for possible involvement in a guns-for-cocaine ring between Paraguay and the Colombian terrorist group. Despite these successes, an ineffective judicial system and pervasive corruption, which facilitate criminal activity supporting terrorist groups, hampered counterterrorism efforts in Paraguay.
Argentina continued investigations into the bombings of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the Argentine-Israeli Community Center (AMIA) in 1994, both in Buenos Aires. In early February, the magistrate in the AMIA case presented his conclusions, which included charges of complicity against numerous former police officials and local civilians and a determination that a car bomb loaded with 300 kilograms of explosives was used to execute the attack. In May, INTERPOL agents also arrested a Paraguayan businessman for suspected links to the AMIA bombing. Trials were set to begin in early 2001.
Middle East Overview
Middle Eastern terrorist groups and their state sponsors continued to plan, train for, and carry out acts of terrorism throughout 2000. The last few months of the year brought a significant increase in the overall level of political violence and terrorism in the region, especially in Israel and the occupied territories. Much of the late-year increase in violence was driven by a breakdown in negotiations and counterterrorism cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The breakdown sparked a cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians that continued to spiral at the end of the year.
Israeli-Palestinian violence also prompted widespread anger at Israel, as well as the United States, throughout the Middle East, demonstrated in part by numerous, occasionally violent protests against US interests in several Middle Eastern countries. Palestinian terrorist groups, with the assistance of Iran and the Lebanese Hizballah, took advantage of Palestinian and regional anger to escalate their terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
Other terrorists also keyed on Israeli-Palestinian difficulties to increase their rhetorical and operational activities against Israel and the United States. Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qaida organization, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups that focus on US and Israeli targets escalated their efforts to conduct and promote terrorism in the Middle East. Several disrupted plans to attack US and Israeli targets in the Middle East purportedly were intended to demonstrate anger over Israel’s sometimes disproportionate use of force to contain protests and perceptions that the United States “allowed” Israel to act.
Al-Qaida and its affiliates especially used their ability to provide money and training as leverage to establish ties to and build the terrorist capabilities of a variety of small Middle Eastern terrorist groups such as the Lebanese Asbat al-Ansar.
The most significant act of anti-US terrorism in the region in 2000—the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen on 12 October—was not driven by events in the Levant. Although the joint US-Yemeni investigation into the savage bombing—which killed 17 US sailors and wounded 39 others—continued through the end of 2000, initial indications suggested the attack may have originated in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where al-Qaida, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups are based and some of the alleged USS Cole attackers received training. The Yemeni Government, as much a victim of the attack as the United States, was working closely with the US Government to bring to justice those responsible for the act.
Many other Middle Eastern governments also increased their efforts to counter the threat from regional and Afghanistan-based terrorists, including the provision of enhanced security for high-risk US Government targets. The Government of Kuwait, for instance, cooperated with regional counterparts in November to disrupt a suspected international terrorist cell. Kuwait arrested 13 individuals and recovered a large quantity of explosives and weapons. The cell reportedly was planning to attack both Kuwaiti officials and US targets in Kuwait and the region.
President Bouteflika’s Law on Civil Concord in 2000 initially contributed to a decrease in violence against civilians inside Algeria. Nonetheless, two main armed groups continued to reject the government’s amnesty program for terrorists, and it is estimated that domestic terrorism kills between 100 to 300 persons each month. Antar Zouabri’s Armed Islamic Group (GIA) actively targeted civilians, although such tactics caused his group to lose popular support. In contrast, Hassan Hattab’s splinter faction—the Salalfi Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)—stated it would limit attacks on civilians, enabling it to co-opt Zouabri’s supporters and eclipse the GIA as the most effective terrorist group operating inside Algeria.
Although at year’s end the GSPC had not staged an anti-Western terrorist attack, various security services in January suspected Algerian extremists associated with the GSPC of planning to disrupt the Paris-Dakar Road Rally, leading organizers to reroute the race.
No foreign nationals were killed in Algeria during 2000, although in May GSPC troops crossed into Tunisia and attacked an outpost, killing three border guards. The GSPC frequently used false roadblocks to rob passengers of money. In one incident on 3 May, 19 persons were killed and 26 injured when militants sprayed a bus with bullets after the driver refused to stop.
No terrorist attacks in Egypt or by Egyptian groups were reported in 2000. The Egyptian Government continued to regard terrorism as its most serious threat. Cairo tried and convicted numerous terrorists in 2000, including 14 al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya members, in connection with attempts to reactivate al-Gama’a in Egypt. Two Egyptian Islamic Jihad members, who were convicted in 1999 for planning an attack against the US Embassy in August 1998, were executed in February. Security forces attacked a terrorist hideout in Aswan in late October, killing two al-Gama’a members, including the group’s military leader in charge of armed operations in Qina, Suhaj, and Luxor.
International counterterrorism cooperation remained a key foreign policy priority for the Egyptian Government throughout the year. In September, at the UN General Assembly Millennium Summit, Egypt signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing.
The Egyptian Government worked closely with the United States on a broad range of counterterrorism issues in 2000. It cooperated with US authorities after the bombing in October of the USS Cole in Yemen, conducting a security survey of the Suez Canal and recommending measures to protect ships from possible terrorist attacks while transiting the canal. Egypt also played an important role in sharing its expertise at the Central Asian Counterterrorism Conference sponsored by the US Department of State and held in Washington in June.
In 2000, Egyptian security forces and government agencies continued to place a high priority on protecting US citizens and facilities in Egypt from terrorist attacks. The Egyptian Government increased security for the US Embassy and other official facilities in light of disturbances in Israel and the Palestinian territories and related threats against US interests.
Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip
Terrorism by Palestinian extremist groups opposed to the peace process increased in late 2000 against the backdrop of violent Palestinian-Israeli clashes. The Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) claimed responsibility for several attacks during the crisis, ending a period of more than two years without a large-scale successful terrorist operation. Both groups publicly threatened more anti-Israeli attacks to avenge Palestinian casualties.
In an operation almost certainly timed to mark the anniversary of the death of PIJ founder Fathi Shaqaqi in 1995, on 26 October a PIJ operative on a bicycle detonated an explosive device near a Jewish settlement in Gaza, killing himself and injuring an Israeli soldier. The PIJ also claimed responsibility for a car bomb that exploded near a Jerusalem market on 2 November, killing two Israeli civilians—including the daughter of Israeli National Religious Party leader Yitzhak Levy—and wounding nine. The bomb—which was concealed in a parked car—reportedly was remotely detonated; the perpetrators escaped. On 28 December, PIJ operatives detonated explosive charges near the Sufa crossing in Gaza, injuring four Israeli explosives-disposal experts, two of whom later died. The PIJ claimed the attack in honor of a PIJ member killed by Israeli forces earlier that month and promised further revenge attacks.
The PIJ stepped up its rhetoric condemning Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Camp David and Israel for its role in clashes with the Palestinians and vowed to continue attacks against Israel. Before the crisis, PIJ leader Shallah had issued threats against US interests in response to speculation during the summer that Washington was considering moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
HAMAS also claimed responsibility for several attacks during the unrest, including the bombing of an Israeli bus on 22 November in downtown Hadera that killed two Israeli civilians and wounded more than 20. Resembling the car-bombing on 2 November, the bomb apparently also was hidden in a parked car and detonated as the bus passed; at year’s end no suspects had been arrested for the attack. The group also took responsibility for launching an explosives-laden craft against an Israeli naval patrol boat off the Gaza coast on 7 November. The operative died in the explosion, according to a HAMAS statement, but the Israeli boat suffered no damage. A suicide bomber killed himself and injured three Israeli soldiers at a cafe in Moshav Mehola on 22 December; HAMAS’s military wing claimed responsibility four days later.
In addition, other groups or individuals may have carried out terrorist attacks during the year. Three little-known groups—Palestinian Hizballah, Umar al-Mukhtar Forces, and the Martyrs of al-Aqsa—claimed responsibility for the bombing of an Israeli settler school bus in Gaza on 20 November that killed two Israelis. The al-Aqsa group also claimed responsibility for killing prominent Jewish extremist Binyamin Kahane, himself the leader of a terrorist organization, and his wife on 31 December. Kahane’s death prompted heightened concern among Israeli security services that Jewish extremists would extend their violent attacks against Palestinian civilians to include “spectacular” operations, including against the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. A group calling itself Salah al-Din Battalions claimed responsibility for bombing a bus in Tel Aviv on 28 December, injuring 13 persons. Israeli authorities accused Palestinian Authority (PA) security officials of facilitating the attack. The Salah al-Din Battalions reportedly also carried out a shooting attack in mid-November that killed at least one Israeli soldier.
In late summer, Israeli authorities arrested Nabil Awkil, a militant they suspect has links to HAMAS and Usama Bin Ladin. Israeli officials claim that Awkil underwent terrorist training in Bin Ladin-affiliated camps in Afghanistan before returning to the West Bank and Gaza to establish terrorist cells.
Earlier in the year, PA and Israeli security forces disrupted HAMAS networks that were planning several large-scale anti-Israeli attacks. On 10 February a botched bombing plot in Nabulus led to the discovery of a HAMAS explosives lab, several caches, and a multicell network in the West Bank. The network was preparing major terrorist operations designed to inflict mass casualties, including the bombing of a high-rise building in Jerusalem. The Israelis linked those arrested to a series of pipe-bomb attacks in Hadera in 1999. In March, an Israeli raid on a HAMAS hideout in the predominantly Israeli-Arab town of Et Taiyiba uncovered an extensive HAMAS network with ties to Gaza that was planning multiple terrorist attacks in Israel. The cell planned to carry out four-to-five simultaneous suicide bombings against Israeli targets, including bus stops and hitchhiking stations inside Israel frequented by Israeli soldiers. The PA discovered additional explosives in a Gaza kindergarten and arrested a bodyguard of HAMAS leader Shaykh Yasin on suspicion of having links to the Et Taiyiba cell. Israeli authorities arrested a Jewish settler and indicted an Israeli Arab for allegedly assisting the cell.
Israeli and PA security officials took additional measures, often coordinated, to further disrupt HAMAS terrorist planning. PA police in mid-March, following up on the Et Taiyiba raid, uncovered a HAMAS explosives lab in Tulkarm. Separate Israeli and PA operations disrupted HAMAS cells in Janin later that month. The PA also disrupted in mid-July another HAMAS explosives lab in Nabulus and made at least a dozen arrests. The PA inflicted additional damage on HAMAS’s military wing with the arrest of two key leaders in 2000. In May, PA security forces arrested Gaza military wing leader Muhammad al-Dayf. In November, Dayf escaped from PA custody. West Bank military wing leader Mahmud al-Shuli (a.k.a. Abu Hanud) surrendered to PA security officials in August after a firefight with IDF soldiers in his hometown of ‘Asirah ash Shamaliyah near the West Bank town of Nabulus. Three IDF soldiers were killed by friendly fire in the incident. At year’s end Abu Hanud remained in Palestinian custody, serving a 12-year sentence handed down by a PA security court.
During the unrest HAMAS issued numerous statements calling for Palestinians to fight the Israelis with all means available and threatened to continue attacks to avenge Palestinian casualties. The group also vowed revenge for the killing of several HAMAS operatives during the unrest at year’s end, including Ibrahim ‘Awda, who was killed on 23 November in Nabulus. HAMAS issued public statements accusing the Israelis of assassinating ‘Awda, who reportedly died when the headrest in the car he was driving exploded, although the Israelis claim he died transporting an explosive device. HAMAS vowed revenge for the killing of activist Abbas Othman Ewaywi, who was gunned down by Israeli security forces in front of a shop in Hebron on 13 December.
Despite demonstrated Palestinian efforts to uproot terrorist infrastructure earlier in the year, Israeli officials publicly expressed their dissatisfaction with PA counter-terrorism efforts during the crisis. The Israelis also accused PA security officials and Fatah members of facilitating and taking part in shooting and bombing attacks against Israeli targets, including the bus bombing in Tel Aviv on 28 December. The Israelis charged that the release of several prisoners during the crisis had facilitated terrorist planning by the groups and that Palestinian security officials had not been responsive to their calls for more decisive measures against the violence.
Israeli officials publicly expressed well-founded concern that Iran supported Palestinian rejectionist efforts to disrupt the Middle East peace process. The Israelis also stated Palestinian rejectionists increasingly were influenced by Lebanese Hizballah. Public statements by HAMAS, the PIJ, and other Palestinian rejectionist officials since the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May lauded Hizballah’s actions and called for emulating Hizballah’s victory in the territories.
Jordan remained vigilant against terrorism in 2000. On 18 September, the State Security Court convicted several Sunni extremists, some in absentia, for plotting terrorist attacks against US and Israeli targets during the millennium celebrations in late 1999. The accused allegedly acted on behalf of Usama Bin Ladin. The three-member military tribunal sentenced eight defendants to death but immediately commuted two of the sentences to life imprisonment at hard labor, citing family reasons. Six others, including a minor, were acquitted, while the remaining 14 received prison sentences ranging from seven-and-a-half to 15 years. Lawyers for 10 of the convicted men have appealed the verdicts.
On 9 December the State Security Court indicted Ra’id Hijazi, a US-Jordanian dual national who had been sentenced to death in absentia in January for having had a role in the millenial plot. He had been recently remanded by Syria. Khalil Deek, another US-Jordanian dual citizen, was brought to Jordan from Pakistan in December 1999 to face charges in the plot but at year’s end had yet to be tried. Jordanian authorities were handling his case separately from the other suspects.
Two Israeli diplomats in Jordan were targets of shooting attacks in the latter part of the year. An unidentified gunman shot at Israeli Vice Consul Yoram Havivian outside his home in Amman on 19 November. On 5 December, an unidentified gunman wounded another Israeli diplomat, Shlomo Ratzabi, as he, his wife, and bodyguard left a grocery store in Amman. Both diplomats suffered minor injuries and returned to Israel soon after the attacks. By year’s end, Jordanian authorities had detained several suspects and were continuing their investigation. Two previously unknown groups, the Movement for the Struggle of the Jordanian Islamic Resistance and the Holy Warriors of Ahmad Daqamseh, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which coincided with rising public sympathy in Jordan for Palestinians in ongoing violence with Israel. (Ahmad Daqamseh is a Jordanian soldier currently serving a life sentence for killing six Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.)
Jordan continued to ban all HAMAS activity, and the Supreme Court upheld the expulsion of four Political Bureau leaders. Jordan’s Prime Minister reiterated the government’s conditions for their return at a meeting with HAMAS leaders during the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in Doha in November. The conditions reportedly included a renunciation of their HAMAS affiliation. In December, lawyers for the group announced their intention to appeal once again to Jordan’s Supreme Court to contest the deportation. Jordan refused to permit HAMAS military wing members to reside or operate in the country but allowed other lower-level HAMAS members to remain in Jordan provided they did not conduct activities on the group’s behalf.
Several low-level incidents kept security forces focused on combating threats to Jordan. Police in the southern city of Ma’an in January detained 15 suspects in connection with two shooting attacks against a female dormitory at Al-Hussein University. Four women were injured slightly in one attack. Police sources reported that the suspects were affiliated with a group called the Islamic Renewal and Reform Organization. Before the attacks, leaflets denouncing coeducation and calling for women to wear veils were distributed on campus.
The Government of Jordan also regularly interdicted the smuggling across Jordan’s borders of weapons and explosives, which, in many cases, may have been destined for Palestinian rejectionist groups in the West Bank and Gaza. The government prosecuted individuals suspected of such activity.
In March, the government expelled eight Libyans it suspected of having terrorist links, and in September it refused entry to the leader of Israel’s Islamic Movement, Shaykh Ra’id Salah. The Israelis publicly claimed that followers of Shaykh Salah have links to HAMAS and were involved in plans to conduct terrorist operations against Israeli interests earlier in the year.
Jordanian security forces coordinated closely with the US Embassy on security matters and acted quickly to bolster security at US Government facilities in response to other threats, including one against the US Embassy in June 2000.
In November the Government of Kuwait disrupted a suspected international terrorist cell. Working with regional counterparts, Kuwaiti security services arrested 13 individuals and recovered a large quantity of explosives and weapons. The terrorist cell reportedly was planning to attack both Kuwaiti officials and US targets in Kuwait and the region.
Throughout the year, the Lebanese Government’s continued lack of control in portions of the country—including parts of the Bekaa Valley, Beirut’s southern suburbs, Palestinian refugee camps, and the southern border area—as well as easy access to arms and explosives, contributed to an environment with a high potential for acts of violence and terrorism.
A variety of terrorist groups—including Hizballah, Usama Bin Ladin’s (UBL) al-Qaida network, HAMAS, the PIJ, the PFLP-GC, ‘Asbat al-Ansar, and several local Sunni extremist organizations—continued to operate with varying degrees of impunity, conducting training and other operational activities. Hizballah continued to pose the most potent threat to US interests in Lebanon. Although Hizballah has not attacked US targets in Lebanon since 1991, it continued to pose a significant terrorist threat to US interests globally from its base in Lebanon. Hizballah voiced its support for terrorist actions by Palestinian rejectionist groups in Israel and the occupied territories. While the Lebanese Government expressed support for “resistance” activities along its southern border, it has only limited influence over Hizballah and the Palestinian rejectionists.
UBL’s al-Qaida network maintained a presence in Lebanon. Although the Lebanese Government actively monitored and arrested UBL-affiliated operatives, it did not control the Palestinian refugee camps where the operatives conducted terrorist training and anti-US indoctrination.
In the fall, Hizballah kidnapped an Israeli noncombatant whom it may have lured to Lebanon on a false pretense. Hizballah has been using hostages, including captured IDF soldiers, as bargaining chips to win the release of Lebanese prisoners in Israel.
In January, Lebanese security forces clashed in the north with a Sunni extremist movement that had ambushed and killed four Lebanese soldiers. The group had ties to UBL operatives. The same month, Asbat al-Ansar launched a grenade attack against the Russian Embassy. In October, the Sunni extremist group, Takfir wa Hijra, claimed responsibility for a grenade attack against a Christian Member of Parliament’s residence, though there are indications others may have been behind this attack.
The Lebanese Government continued to support some international counterterrorist initiatives and moved against UBL-affiliated operatives in 2000. In February, Lebanese authorities arrested members of a UBL cell in Lebanon. In March, the government fulfilled a Japanese Government request and deported four Japanese Red Army (JRA) members after it had refused to do so for years. It allowed one JRA member to remain in Lebanon. It did not act, however, on repeated US requests to turn over Lebanese terrorists involved in the hijacking in 1985 of TWA flight 847 and in the abduction, torture, and—in some cases—murders of US hostages from 1984 to 1991.
Several threats against US military and civilian personnel and facilities in Saudi Arabia were reported in 2000, but there were no confirmed terrorist incidents. At year’s end Saudi authorities were investigating a shooting by a lone gunman who opened fire on British and US nationals near the town of Khamis Mushayt in early August 2000. The gunman fired more than 100 rounds on a Royal Saudi Air Force checkpoint, killing one Saudi and wounding two other Saudi guards. The gunman was wounded in the exchange of fire.
Terrorist Usama Bin Ladin, whose Saudi citizenship was revoked in 1994, continued to publicly threaten US interests in Saudi Arabia during the year. In a videotaped statement released in September, Bin Ladin once again publicly threatened US interests.
The Government of Saudi Arabia continued to investigate the bombing in June 1996 of the Khubar Towers housing facility near Dhahran that killed 19 US military personnel and wounded some 500 US and Saudi personnel. The Government of Saudi Arabia publicly stated that it still was looking for three Saudi suspects whom it wanted for questioning in connection with the bombing and whom authorities believed to be currently outside Saudi Arabia. The Saudis continued to hold in detention a number of Saudi citizens linked to the attack, including Hani al-Sayegh, whom the United States expelled to Saudi Arabia in 1999.
The Government of Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its commitment to combating terrorism. It required nongovernmental organizations and private voluntary agencies to obtain government authorization before soliciting contributions for domestic or international causes. It was not clear that these regulations were enforced consistently; however, allegations continued to surface that some international terrorist organization representatives solicited and collected funds from private citizens in Saudi Arabia.
On 12 October a boat carrying explosives was detonated next to the USS Cole, killing 17 US Navy members and injuring another 39. The US destroyer, en route to the Persian Gulf, was making a prearranged fuel stop in the Yemeni port of Aden when the attack occurred. At least three groups reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, including the Islamic Army of Aden, Muhammad’s Army, and a previously unknown group called the Islamic Deterrence Force.
The Yemeni Government strongly condemned the attack on the USS Cole and actively engaged in investigative efforts to find the perpetrators. On 29 November, Yemen and the United States signed a memorandum of agreement delineating guidelines for joint investigation to further facilitate cooperation between the two governments. The Yemeni Government’s ability to conduct international terrorism investigations was enhanced by joint investigative efforts undertaken pursuant to these guidelines.
Several terrorist organizations maintained a presence in Yemen. HAMAS and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad continued to be recognized as legal organizations and maintained offices in Yemen but did not engage in terrorist activities there. Other international terrorist groups that have an illegal presence in Yemen included the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Libyan opposition groups, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, and al-Qaida. Press reports indicated indigenous groups such as the Islamic Army of Aden remained active in Yemen.
The Government of Yemen did not provide direct or indirect support to terrorists, but its inability to control fully its borders, territory, or its own travel documents did little to discourage the terrorist presence in Yemen. Improved cooperation with Saudi Arabia as a result of the Yemeni-Saudi border treaty, concluded in June, promised to reduce illegal border crossings and trafficking in weapons and explosives, although border clashes continued after the agreement’s ratification. The government attempted to resolve some of its passport problems in 2000 by requiring proof of nationality when submitting an application, although terrorists continued to have access to forged Yemeni identity documents.