U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
1994 APRIL: PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM, 1993
Department of State Publication 10136
Office of the Secretary
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
MIDDLE EASTERN OVERVIEW
In 1993, about 100 international terrorist attacks occurred in the Middle
East, up from 79 in 1992. The increase is a result of Iraqi attacks against
UN and other humanitarian efforts in northern Iraq and escalated terrorist
activity in Egypt. Ongoing, low-level attacks in Lebanon continued, along
with violence generated by opposition to the Declaration of Principles
(DOP) reached between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Iran's involvement in and sponsorship of terrorist activity continued to
pose significant threats in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Latin America,
and Asia. Tehran continued to hunt down and murder Iranian dissidents, with
assassinations in Turkey, Italy, and Pakistan. Iranian involvement is also
suspected in the murder of secular Turkish journalist Ugur Mumcu and the
attempted murder of Istanbul Jewish businessman Jak Kamhi. Hizballah, with
which Iran is closely associated, was responsible for rocket attacks into
northern Israel that killed and injured civilians. The Iranian Government
called for violence to derail the DOP and supported violence by several
rejectionist groups. Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia have accused Iran -and
Sudan- of supporting local militant Islamist elements to undermine their
governments. Iran also seeks to expand its influence in Latin America and
Iraq's capability to support international terrorism remains hampered by
continued sanctions and the regime's international isolation, but Baghdad
retains a limited capability to mount external operations, principally in
neighboring countries. The prime example of this capability was the
attempted assassination in Kuwait of former President Bush in April, which
drew a retaliatory military response from the United States on 26 June.
Baghdad also mounted numerous terrorist operations within Iraq against UN
and other humanitarian relief operations. Moreover, Iraq continued to
provide its traditional support and safehaven to terrorist Palestinians
such as Abu Abbas and elements of the Abu Nidal organization (ANO). There
has been no direct evidence of Syrian Government involvement in terrorist
acts since 1986, but Damascus continues to provide support and safehaven to
Arab and non-Arab terrorist organizations in Syria and in parts of Lebanon
where the Syrian Army is deployed. Syria's relationship with the PKK came
under increasing scrutiny in 1993.
In response to ongoing Libyan defiance of the demands of the
international community to cease all support for international terrorism,
the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 883, which imposed additional
sanctions for refusing to hand over for trial terrorists accused of bombing
Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772. The Qaddafi regime has made partial
and largely cosmetic moves to close some terrorist facilities since the
initial imposition of sanctions, but it still provides support and
safehaven to such notorious terrorists as Abu Nidal. Although the case is
still unresolved, most observers suspect an official Libyan hand in the
December disappearance of Libyan dissident Mansour Kikhia from Cairo.
Domestic terrorism in Egypt continued to escalate during the year. The
number of radical Islamic groups, appeared to increase, and they continued
their attacks against Egyptian security and civilian officials, local
Christians, and tourist targets. Unsuccessful assassination attempts were
made against the Minister of Information, the Minister of the Interior, and
the Prime Minister. Indiscriminate bombings in Cairo from February through
July killed 22 Egyptians and wounded over 100 others. Among the most
serious tourists incidents was a December incident in which eight Austrian
tourists and eight Egyptians were wounded when their bus was attacked in
Old Cairo. American citizens were victims of other attacks: on 26 February,
two Americans were among the injured when unknown perpetrators bombed
Cairo's Wadi al-Nil cafe. The Egyptian Government has maintained that Iran
and Sudan provided support to the organizations responsible for most of the
In North Africa, Tunisia and Morocco remained generally free of
political violence. In Algeria, however, the situation continued to
deteriorate as radical elements, most thought to be associated with the
Armed Islamic Group, expanded their range of targets from security
officials to secular intellectuals and, beginning in September, foreigners.
The worst attack occurred in December when 12 Croatian and Bosnian
expatriates died after having their throats slit at their work compound in
After the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian DOP in September, proaccord
elements of the PLO, including Fatah, appeared to cease all anti-Israeli
operations except in one unauthorized incident. Rejectionist Palestinian
groups, however, sought to derail the agreement with violence and
terrorism. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Forces arm of the Islamic Resistance
Movement (HAMAS) and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have led the
violent opposition to the peace efforts, with civilians serving as frequent
targets. HAMAS also added suicide car bombs to its arsenal. Jewish
extremist settlers opposed to the DOP mounted several violent attacks
during the year.
In Yemen, there were several attacks by unknown assailants on foreign
interests. A small rocket hit the US Embassy in January, and a bomb
exploded outside the British Embassy in March. Several foreigners were
kidnapped by tribal elements during the year, prompted by economic or
tribal motivations. Six members of the Yemeni Islamic Jihad, who were
awaiting trial for the bombing of two hotels in Aden in 1992, escaped from
prison in July. Several reports noted that private Islamic sources were
financing the training of radicals in camps in remote areas of Yemen.
The security situation in Algeria continued to deteriorate with a marked
increase in attacks by Islamist extremists against the Algerian
intelligentsia, economic and infrastructure targets, and foreigners.
Extremists continued to focus most of their violent campaign on official
Algerian and military targets throughout the year.
The fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which was banned in
March 1992, reemerged as an underground movement but splintered into
several factions. The official FIS leadership remains imprisoned in
Algeria, and several other leaders went into exile following the regime
crackdown on the movement. FIS factions abroad and within the country
appear to be competing for influence over the movement. In addition,
militant offshoots of the FIS and other extremist groups operate throughout
Algeria, confusing responsibility for each attack.
By the fall, a few loosely organized militant factions had emerged,
including the Armed Islamic Group (AIG), which is not affiliated with the
FIS. The AIG claimed responsibility for killing two French surveyors in
September and for the late October kidnapping of three French Consulate
employees, two of whom were rescued by Algerian security services and one
of whom was released by her captors on 31 October. The kidnappers warned
foreigners that they had one month to leave the country. In early December,
the campaign against foreigners resumed with attacks on a Spaniard, an
Italian, a Russian, a Frenchman, and a Briton. In the most heinous
terrorist act in Algeria during the year, 12 Croatian and Bosnian workers
were murdered in Tamezquida on 14 December.
Despite strict antiterrorist laws, three special antiterrorist courts,
and 26 executions of convicted "terrorists," the government was
unable to stem the violence. Nearly 400 death sentences were issued last
year, and the military conducted sweeps of urban areas, deployed military
units in Algiers, and extended curfews beyond urban areas, but, by the end
of the year, extremist groups continued their attacks on official and
infrastructure targets throughout the country.
Islamic extremists continued to target the tourist industry, particularly
in upper Egypt, throughout the year. Two foreigners were killed, and more
than 18 others were injured in sporadic bombings of public places and
attacks on tour buses. Four more foreigners were killed by a lone,
apparently deranged gunman in a shooting at a Cairo hotel in October.
Indiscriminate bombings from February through July were responsible for the
deaths of 22 Egyptian civilians and the wounding of over 100 others. Most
of the attacks on or near tour buses and Nile cruise ships resulted in few
injuries and little damage. Nonetheless, Egypt's tourism industry suffered;
figures estimate Cairo's earnings may have dropped as much as 50 percent
since attacks against tourist sites began in October 1992.
Most attacks were focused on government and security officials, the
police, and Egyptian secularist Muslims. The Islamic Group (IG), which
seeks the violent overthrow of the Egyptian Government, claimed
responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks. Shaykh Umar Abd
al-Rahman, the so-called spiritual leader of the IG, was arrested in the
United States on charges related to the conspiracy to attack various New
York City institutions including the United Nations. IG members in Egypt
threatened Americans there and abroad if their leader were harmed.
Another group or faction of extremists emerged in 1993, sometimes
calling itself the New Jihad. This group claimed responsibility for some
high profile attacks, including the attempted assassination of the Interior
Minister in August and the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Sedky in
The Egyptian Government responded to increased domestic terrorism by
detaining or arresting thousands of suspected terrorists and using military
courts to try hundreds of them, convicting some and acquitting others. Some
of the convicted received death sentences that were carried out. In
addition, Cairo called for more international coordination to combat
terrorism and asked for the expulsion of many suspected Egyptian terrorists
from Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Gulf states, and some European countries,
among others. Cairo also asked for the extradition of Shaykh Umar Abd al-
Rahman from the United States. The Egyptian Government believes Iran and
Sudan support terrorism in Egypt. Cairo criticized Tehran for its role and
expressed concern over alleged terrorist training bases in Sudan.
In March, Cairo handed over Egyptian citizen Mahmoud Abu Halima, a
suspect in the World Trade Center bombing, to US officials. Cairo continued
to attempt to mediate international efforts to bring Libya into compliance
with UN Security Council resolutions stemming from Libya's role in the Pan
Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772 bombings.
Violence and terrorist acts instigated by Palestinians continued in
1993. Attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians in Israel and the occupied
territories left approximately 65 Israelis dead and 390 others wounded.
Approximately 14 Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians.
Intra-Palestinian violence in the occupied territories declined during
the year; approximately 83 Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians
as compared to nearly 200 in 1992. The decline is largely the result of a
tacit cease-fire between the previous year's primary combatants, Fatah and
HAMAS, and a decline in killings of alleged collaborators. Several
prominent Fatah leaders in Gaza were assassinated late in the year,
apparently by fellow Palestinians.
Before the 13 September signing of the Israeli-Palestinian DOP, Arafat's
Fatah faction of the PLO, HAMAS, and the PIJ claimed responsibility for the
majority of terrorist and violent actions. On 9 September, in letters to
Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and Norwegian Foreign Minister Holst, PLO
Chairman Arafat committed the PLO to cease all violence and terrorism.
Between 9 September and 31 December, PLO factions loyal to Arafat complied
with this commitment except for one, possibly two, instances. Members of
Fatah were responsible for the 29 October murder of an Israeli settler, and
an alleged member of the Fatah Hawks, a PLO-affiliated group in the Gaza
Strip, claimed responsibility for the 31 December murder of two Israelis.
In both cases, the responsible individuals apparently acted independently.
The level of violence in Israel and the occupied territories initially
declined following the signing of the DOP; however, opposition groups
determined to defeat the agreement contributed to an increase in the number
of violent incidents and terrorist attacks over the last three months of
the year. Since the DOP was signed, Palestinian attacks have resulted in
the deaths of approximately 17 Israelis--10 civilians and 7 military
personnel. Two groups under the PLO umbrella, the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation
of Palestine (DFLP)-Hawatmeh faction suspended their participation in the
PLO to protest the agreement, and they continued their campaign of
violence. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the mid-October murder of two
Israeli hikers and also for a failed seaborne raid on northern Israel.
Non-PLO groups that oppose the DOP, such as HAMAS and the PIJ, have been
responsible for the majority of violent incidents since 13 September.
HAMAS's underground armed wing, known as the Izz ad- Din al Qassam
Brigades, increased its violent operations in an attempt to disrupt
implementation of the DOP. HAMAS has claimed at least 13 postagreement
attacks, including several directed at civilians. The group mounted several
suicide car-bomb attacks in late 1993, including the 4 October ramming of
an explosives-laden vehicle into an Israeli bus that wounded 30 persons.
Israel conducted no significant prosecutions of international terrorists
during the year; however, it authorized the extradition to the United
States of two US citizens wanted for terrorist activities. Israeli security
forces killed two senior members of the Izz ad-Din al Qassam Brigades in
late November. On 31 March, the Israeli Government, responding to a string
of terrorist attacks, instituted a strict ban on Palestinian entry into
Israel, which effectively curtailed Palestinian attacks in Israel proper.
The ban was gradually eased to allow 52,000 Palestinians to work in Israel.
Israel allowed nearly 400 HAMAS supporters that were expelled to Lebanon in
December 1992 to return to the occupied territories in 1993. Half of the
deportees returned in September, and the remainder--with the exception of
18 who decided to remain in Lebanon to avoid arrest--returned in December.
As a result of intensive border security by Israeli, Egyptian, and
Jordanian forces, only one successful infiltration attempt into Israel
occurred in 1993. On 29 December, three members believed to be of the
non-PLO Abu Musa group infiltrated northern Israel from Lebanon. The three
were killed by the Israeli Defense Forces; no Israelis were hurt or killed.
Rocket attacks into northern Israel from southern Lebanon, however,
increased dramatically in the first half of the year. Israel responded by
launching a major air and artillery offensive--which it termed
"Operation Accountability"-- against Lebanese Hizballah and
Palestinian rejectionist positions in Lebanon. There were no more rocket
attacks from Lebanon into Israel for the rest of the year.
Jewish extremist groups mounted several violent attacks in 1993. Kahane
Chai reacted to Arafat's official visit to Paris by exploding two bombs
near the French Embassy in Tel Aviv on 24 October; no one was injured.
Kahane Chai also threatened to attack other French interests in the region.
A settler, affiliated with the militant Kach group, claimed responsibility
for an 8 November drive-by shooting that wounded two Palestinians in the
West Bank. Israeli settlers opposed to the DOP rioted after the murder of
Israeli settler Haim Mizrahi by randomly assaulting Palestinians and
destroying property. One Palestinian was killed, and 18 others were
In February, Jordanian border police arrested two men, allegedly members
of the PIJ, who were smuggling weapons into Jordan. The suspects said they
were ordered to attack Americans on organized bus tours. In April,
Jordanian security forces uncovered an alleged plot to assassinate King
Hussein at a military academy graduation ceremony in June. The suspects,
all members of the outlawed Islamic Liberation Party, were put on trial. In
November, three gunmen with reported links to the New York-based Egyptian
cleric Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman attacked a Jordanian Army outpost near the
West Bank border. All three assailants were killed.
Jordanian security and police closely monitor secular and Islamic
extremists inside the country and detain individuals suspected of
involvement in violent acts aimed at destabilizing the government or
undermining its relations with neighboring states. Jordan maintains tight
security along its border with Israel and last year interdicted several
armed infiltration operations attributed to Palestinian factions.
Jordan continues to host PLO rejectionist groups such as the Popular and
Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine. HAMAS also has an office
in Amman. In addition, some extremist Palestinian groups with a history of
anti-Western terrorist activity--including the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and some factions of the
PIJ--maintain a presence in Jordan.
The Iraqi plot to assassinate former President Bush and to explode
several bombs in Kuwait City in April was one of the year's most brazen
attempts at terrorism. Eleven Iraqis and three Kuwaitis are on trial for
the plot. They smuggled into Kuwait two vehicles, one loaded with 180
pounds of explosives, and a collection of time bombs, grenades, and
pistols. The sophisticated remote-controlled firing device, as well as the
blasting cap, wiring, and integrated circuitry of the car bomb matched
devices that were already linked to Iraq. Kuwaiti authorities have
identified some of the Iraqi suspects as employees of the Iraqi
Several minor terrorist incidents occurred in Kuwait last year, separate
from the Iraqi plot. In March, a series of bombs exploded in music and
video shops, one of which exploded near the Holiday Inn. Although no
arrests or claims of responsibility were made for the attacks, local
radical Muslim extremists have been blamed.
In June, a Kuwaiti court sentenced to death 10 members of the Arab
Liberation Front, a Palestinian terrorist group based in Baghdad, for their
collaboration with Iraq during the occupation of Kuwait.
The security situation in Lebanon has improved, and the Lebanese
Government exercises authority over significant areas of the country. The
Syrian military controls some areas, particularly in the Bekaa Valley along
the border with Syria, and Israel occupies a self-declared security zone in
the south. In the Bekaa Valley, parts of the south, and a few other areas
of the country, however, terrorist groups continue to move about
freely--notably Iranian- backed Hizballah. The Lebanese Government has not
taken steps to disarm Hizballah or to expand its authority into areas of
southern Lebanon controlled by the group; however, it deployed a small unit
of the Lebanese Armed Forces into the region. Hizballah released the last
of the Western hostages it held in 1992; it still holds many South Lebanese
Army members that were taken prisoner during fighting in the south. The
fate of several Israeli military personnel missing in Lebanon remains
Hizballah and Palestinian groups have launched attacks on northern
Israel from southern Lebanon. Hizballah launched rockets into Israel
throughout the year, reaching a crescendo with dozens of rockets launched
daily at the end of July. Four Israeli civilians were killed in two of the
attacks in July and August. The Israeli military responded with a major
counterattack in southern Lebanon dubbed Operation Accountability.
There are still diverse elements in Lebanon willing to resort to
terrorism. In January, a man with explosives strapped to his waist and
several sticks of dynamite in his luggage was arrested as he was about to
board a Middle East Airlines flight to Cyprus. In February, a bomb was
placed in front of the Kuwait Airways office, and a bomb was thrown into
the Kuwaiti Embassy compound the following month. Two bombs were discovered
in June near the Danish Embassy in Beirut. The same month, two members of
the radical Sunni ``Islamic Grouping" were killed, and another was
wounded while attempting to plant a bomb near a monastery in northern
Lebanon. The intended target was a bus carrying Christians attending an
international ecumenical conference. The government is prosecuting five
members of the group. In August, a bomb was discovered near a building that
houses Kuwait Airways. Iraqi agents or their surrogates were probably
responsible for all three of the attempted bombings of Kuwaiti interests in
Lebanon. In December, Kataiv (Phalange) Party headquarters in Beirut was
blown up, killing several people. Factional feuding among Palestinians led
to several assassinations of Palestinian leaders in Lebanon.
Iran, Iraq, and Syria continued to provide varying degrees of financial,
military, and logistic support to terrorist groups based in Lebanon. Syria,
in particular, maintains a considerable influence over Lebanese internal
affairs and has not supported Lebanese Government attempts to control the
radical Shia group, Hizballah. Hizballah, which now has eight members in
Parliament, has been allowed to retain its well-armed militia and terrorist
capabilities. In addition, several radical Palestinian groups have training
facilities in Lebanon, including the PFLP-GC, the PIJ, and the ANO. Several
non-Arab groups- -such as Turkey's PKK, the Revolutionary Left (Dev Sol),
and the Japanese Red Army (JRA)--also maintain facilities in Lebanon, most
of which are in the Bekaa Valley.
The Lebanese Government has taken only minimal steps toward prosecuting
terrorists responsible for the wave of hijackings, bombings, and abductions
that swept through Lebanon during its civil war. During the last year, a
military court sentenced one man to death, but later reduced the sentence
to 10 years with hard labor, for car-bombing the American University in
Beirut in 1991.
No terrorist attacks or prosecutions related to terrorism occurred in
Saudi Arabia in 1993. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca--the hajj-- passed
relatively peacefully. Nonetheless, the government continues to be
concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks sponsored by Iraq,
Iran, or Muslim extremists from other countries.
Some private Saudi citizens probably provide private funds to HAMAS and
other radical Palestinian groups throughout the region, as well as to
extremist elements in Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Saudi benefactors also
sponsor paramilitary training for radical Muslims from many countries in
camps in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Sudan.
There were several attacks on foreign interests in Yemen by unknown
assailants in 1993. In January, a small rocket narrowly missed the US
Embassy, and, in March, a small bomb exploded outside the British Embassy
but did no damage. Perpetrators of similar attacks on the US and German
Embassies in late 1992 and 1993 have not been apprehended.
It became relatively common practice for Yemeni tribal members to take
hostages briefly, including several foreigners, to settle tribal disputes
or extort funds. Two foreigners were abducted in separate incidents in
January in tribal disputes with Yemeni authorities. In April, six foreign
oil workers were kidnapped and threatened with death to force a French oil
company to hire more locals at a drilling site. In May, two US oil men were
abducted to prevent the government from carrying out a death sentence
imposed on a fellow tribesman. In November, a US diplomat was seized by
gunmen and held hostage by tribal leaders seeking several concessions from
Six religious extremists, members of the Yemeni Islamic Jihad awaiting
trial for bombing two hotels in Aden at the end of 1992, escaped from
prison in July. Paramilitary training is reportedly being conducted in
parts of Yemen under weak government control and funded in large part by
private donations gathered from other parts of the Islamic world.