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by Antiterrorism Consulting

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LIBYAN ISLAMIC FIGHTING GROUP

 

aka LIFG

Description: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on December 17, 2004. In the early 1990s, LIFG emerged from the group of Libyans who had fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan and pledged to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi. In the years following, some members maintained an anti-Qadhafi focus and targeted Libyan government interests. Others, such as Abu al-Faraj al-Libi, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2005, aligned with Usama bin Laden and are believed to be part of the al-Qa’ida (AQ) leadership structure. On November 3, 2007, AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced a formal merger between AQ and LIFG. However, on July 3, 2009, LIFG members in the UK released a statement formally disavowing any association with AQ. In September 2009, six imprisoned LIFG members issued a 417 page document that renounced violence. More than 100 LIFG members pledged to adhere to this revised doctrine and have been pardoned and released from prison in Libya since September 2009.

Activities: LIFG has been largely inactive operationally in Libya since the late 1990s when members fled predominately to Europe and the Middle East because of tightened Libyan security measures. In early 2011, in the wake of the Libyan revolution and the fall of Qadhafi, LIFG members created the LIFG successor group, the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change (LIMC), and became one of many rebel groups united under the umbrella of the opposition leadership known as the Transitional National Council. Former LIFG emir and LIMC leader Abdel Hakim Bil-Hajj was appointed the Libyan Transitional Council’s Tripoli military commander during the Libyan uprisings, and has denied any link between his group and AQ. There were no known attacks carried out by LIFG in 2012.

Strength: Unknown

Location/Area of Operation: Since the late 1990s, many members have fled to southwest Asia, and European countries, particularly the UK.

Funding and External Aid: Unknown

LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM

 

aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers

Description: Founded in 1976 and designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) became a powerful Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka. Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE’s international network of sympathizers and financial support persists.

Activities: Though the LTTE has been largely inactive since its military defeat in Sri Lanka in 2009, in the past the LTTE was responsible for an integrated battlefield insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders. It conducted a sustained campaign targeting rival Tamil groups, and assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India in 1991 and President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka in 1993. Though most notorious for its cadre of suicide bombers, the Black Tigers, LTT also had an amphibious force, the Sea Tigers, and a nascent air wing, the Air Tigers. Fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government escalated in 2006 and continued through 2008.

In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE’s key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi. In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighting forces, killed LTTE leader Prahbakaran and other members of the LTTE leadership and military command, and declared military victory over LTTE. There have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war. LTTE’s financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2012, and there were multiple reports of increased LTTE involvement in human smuggling out of refugee camps.

Strength: Exact strength is unknown.

Location/Area of Operation: Sri Lanka and India

Funding and External Aid: The LTTE used its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies. The group employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for their activities.

LASHKAR I JHANGVI

 

aka Army of Jhangvi; Lashkar e Jhangvi; Lashkar-i-Jhangvi

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 30, 2003, Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ) is the militant offshoot of the Sunni Deobandi sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. LJ focuses primarily on anti-Shia attacks and other attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and was banned by Pakistan in August 2001, as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence. Many of its members then sought refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban, with whom they had existing ties. After the collapse of the Taliban as the ruling government in Afghanistan, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists, providing safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. LJ works closely with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan.

Activities: LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings and has admitted responsibility for numerous killings of Shia religious and community leaders in Pakistan. In January 1999, the group attempted to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province. Media reports linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a March 2002 grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad that killed two U.S. citizens.

LJ was active in 2011 and 2012. The most notable 2011 attack occurred in December, when an LJ suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device in a crowd of Shia mourners in Kabul, killing 48 civilians – including 12 children – and wounding 193. LJ attacks in 2012 ranged from suicide bombings to targeted shootings of ethnic Hazaras. In April, LJ members committed a series of shootings that killed 27 ethnic Hazaras over a two-week period. In June, a suicide bombing on a bus of pilgrims travelling from Iran to Pakistan left 14 dead, and 30 wounded. In September, LJ claimed responsibility for killing seven Shia in Hazarganji, and LJ members were arrested by Pakistani authorities when two explosions in Karachi killed seven, including two children, and wounded another 22. In October, the chief of the LJ Karachi branch, Mehmood Babar, was arrested by Pakistani authorities. Pakistani authorities claimed the arrest of the cell leader and his co-conspirators disrupted operational planning of VBIED attacks on a school and prison.

Strength: Assessed in the low hundreds.

Location/Area of Operation: LJ is active primarily in Punjab, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Karachi, and Baluchistan.

Funding and External Aid: Funding comes from wealthy donors in Pakistan, as well as the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. The group engages in criminal activity to fund its activities, including extortion and protection money.

LASHKAR E-TAYYIBA

 

aka al Mansooreen; Al Mansoorian; Army of the Pure; Army of the Pure and Righteous; Army of the Righteous; Lashkar e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba; Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis; Paasban-e-Kashmir; Paasban-i-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Kashmir; Jamaat-ud-Dawa, JUD; Jama’at al-Dawa; Jamaat ud-Daawa; Jamaat ul-Dawah; Jamaat-ul-Dawa; Jama’at-i-Dawat; Jamaiat-ud-Dawa; Jama’at-ud-Da’awah; Jama’at-ud-Da’awa; Jamaati-ud-Dawa; Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq; Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; FiF; Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation; Falah-e-Insaniyat; Falah-i-Insaniyat; Falah Insania; Welfare of Humanity; Humanitarian Welfare Foundation; Human Welfare Foundation

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on December 26, 2001, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) is one of the largest and most proficient of the traditionally anti-India-focused militant groups. It has the ability to severely disrupt already delicate regional relations. LeT formed in the late 1980s as the militant wing of the Islamic extremist organization, Markaz Dawa ul-Irshad, a Pakistan-based Islamic fundamentalist mission organization and charity founded to oppose the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. Led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, LeT is not connected to any political party. Shortly after LeT was designated as an FTO, Saeed changed the name to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and began humanitarian projects to avoid restrictions. LeT disseminates its message through JUD’s media outlets. Elements of LeT and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JEM) combined with other groups to mount attacks as “The Save Kashmir Movement.” The Pakistani government banned LeT in January 2002, and JUD in 2008, following the Mumbai attack. LeT and Saeed continue to spread terrorist ideology, as well as virulent rhetoric condemning the United States, India, Israel, and other perceived enemies.

Activities: LeT has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir since 1993; several high profile attacks inside India; and operations against Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. The group uses assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.

Indian governmental officials hold LeT responsible for the July 2006 train attack in Mumbai and for multiple attacks in 2005 and 2006. LeT conducted the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai against luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a train station, and a popular café that killed approximately 170 people, including six American citizens, and injured more than 300. India has charged 38 people in the case, including the alleged attacker, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was captured at the scene and later executed for his involvement in the massacre. Most of those charged are at large and thought to be in Pakistan.

In March 2010, Pakistani-American businessman David Headley pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to crimes relating to his role in the November 2008 LeT attacks in Mumbai as well as to crimes relating to a separate plot to bomb the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. In May 2011, Headley was a witness in the trial of Tahawwur Rana, who was charged with providing material support to LeT. Rana was convicted for providing material support to LeT in June 2011.

In 2011, LeT was responsible for multiple attacks, most of them in Jammu and Kashmir. The deadliest was a May 27 attack on a private residence in the city of Kupwara that killed two civilians. In a notable 2011 counterterrorism success, police in Indian-administered Kashmir shot and killed a senior LeT operative, Azhar Malik, after they surrounded a house where he was hiding in the town of Sopore.

In June 2012, Indian authorities arrested LeT member Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jindal, one of the instigators of the November 2008 Mumbai attack. In October 2012, LeT claimed responsibility for an attack against an Indian army convoy outside a hotel in Kashmir, which killed one bellboy and injured two others.

Strength: The size of LeT is unknown, but it has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir and Punjab in India; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Provinces in Pakistan; and in the southern Jammu, Kashmir, and Doda regions. Most LeT members are Pakistanis or Afghans and/or veterans of the Afghan wars.

Location/Area of Operation: LeT has global connections and a strong operational network throughout South Asia. LeT maintains a number of facilities, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics in Pakistan.

Funding and External Aid: LeT collects donations in Pakistan and the Gulf as well as from other donors in the Middle East and Europe, particularly the UK.