Terrorist Groups - Reading 9/1: Terrorist Groups I....

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Reading 9/1: Terrorist Groups I. Al-Aqusa Martyrs Brigade A. Description i. Consists of loose cells of Palestinian militants loyal to, but not under the direct control of, the secular-nationalist Fatah movement ii. Emerged at the outset of the 2000 Palestinian al-Aqsa intifada as a militant offshoot of the Fatah party, attacking Israeli military targets and settlers with the aim of driving Israel from the West Bank and Gaza and establishing a Palestinian state iii. No central leadership; the cells operate with autonomy B. Activities i. Initially focused on small arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers in the West Bank. ii. In 2002 began to conduct suicide bombings against Israeli civilians iii. Al-Aqsa suspended most anti-Israel attacks as part of the broader unilateral Palestinian ceasefire agreement during 2004 but resumed them following HAMAS's January 2006 victory in Palestinian Legislative Council elections C. Strength i. Current strength is unknown, but most likely numbers a few hundred . D. Location/Area of Operation i. Al-Aqsa operates mainly in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and has conducted attacks inside Israel and Gaza. The group also has members in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. E. External Aid i. Iran has exploited al-Aqsa's lack of resources and formal leadership by providing funds and other aid, mostly through Hizballah facilitators. II. Ansar Al-Islam A. Description i. Salafi terrorist group whose goals include expelling the U.S.-led Coalition from Iraq and establishing an independent Iraqi state based on Sharia law ii. AI was established in 2001 in Iraqi Kurdistan with the merger of two Kurdish extremist factions that traced their roots to the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan iii. In a probable effort to appeal to the broader Sunni jihad and expand its support base, AI changed its name to Ansar al-Sunna in 2003, in a bid to unite Iraq-based extremists under the new name a. In December 2007, it changed its name back to Ansar al-Islam iv. Ties to the al-Qa’ida (AQ) central leadership and to al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) v. Since Operation Iraqi Freedom, AI has become the second-most prominent group engaged in anti-Coalition attacks in Iraq behind AQI and has maintained a strong propaganda campaign. B. Activities i. Targets include: Coalition Forces, the Iraqi government and security forces, and Kurdish and Shia figures ii. AI has claimed responsibility for many high profile attacks in 2007, including the execution-style killing of nearly two dozen Yazidi civilians in Mosul in reprisal for the stoning death of a Muslim convert in April, the car-bombing
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of a police convoy in Kirkuk in July, the suicide bombing of Kurdistan Democratic Party offices in Khursbat in October, and numerous kidnappings, executions, and assassinations. C. Strength
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Terrorist Groups - Reading 9/1: Terrorist Groups I....

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