List of terrorist groups

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'This is a work in progress, so bear with me.' JohnLocke 12:48, 13 Jun 2004 (PDT)

An entry with a single asterisk (*) denotes that the group has been declared a Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) by the U.S. Department of State in the most recent Patterns of Global Terrorism report. (Avaliable here.) Items with double asterisks (**) have been declared "other terrorist groups" by the State Department. Items with no astrisk have not been offically designated as terrorist organizations. A comprehensive list of purported terrorist groups is also found here.




  • Ansar al-Islam (AI) (December 2001-present; Islamists; Iraq) *
    • In Arabic, "Supporters of Islam."
    • Also known as "Partisans of Islam or Helpers of Islam."
  • Al-Qaeda (1988-present; Islamists; Afganistan, Pakistan, and worldwide) *
    • In Arabic, "the foundation" or "the base."
    • Also known as Qa‘idat al-Jihad, Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, Islamic Salvation Foundation, and the Usama bin Laden Network.
  • 'Asbat al-Ansar (early 1990s-present; Lebanese Sunni Islamists; southern Lebanon)
    • In Arabic, "the League of the Followers."
  • Hamas (1987-present; Islamists and Palestinian nationalists; Israel and the Palestinian territories) *
    • In Arabic, "zeal" or "courage."
    • Acronym for "Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya," or Islamic Resistance Movement.
  • Hizbollah (Lebanese) (1982-present; Lebanese Shiite Islamists and Palestinian nationalists; Lebanon and worldwide) *
    • In Arabic, "Party of God."
    • Also known as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and the Revolutionary Justice Organization.
  • Abu Nidal organization (ANO) (1974-2002; Islamists; worldwide) *
    • Also known as the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, and Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims.
    • Has not made a large-scale terrorist attack on Western targets since the late 1980s. Its founder, Sabri al-Banna (Abu Nidal), died in 2002; the group is largly chaotic and ineffective.


  • Kach (1971-present) and Kahane Chai (1990-present); Jewish extremists) *
    • In Hebrew, "only thus."
    • Jewish terrorist group founded by extremist Israeli-American rabbi Meir Kahane. Seeks to restore a biblical, "etnically pure" Israel. After Kahane was assassinated in the United States, Kahane's son, Binyamin Kahane, formed Kahane Chai, or "Kahane Lives," after internal stuggles in Kach.


  • Army of God (AOG) (1982-present; United States; Christian radicals)
    • Underground extremist anti-abortion group responsible for abortion clinic bombings and attacks on doctors who perform abortion.
  • Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) (1994-present; Sudan and Uganda; Christian offshoot of Uganda Democratic Christian Army)
    • Attempts to undermine the government of Uganda and replace with a theocratic government based on their form of Christianity. Particularly notorious for its abduction and use of childrren.

Nationalists, Anti-Nationalists and Separatists


  • ETA (Basque Fatherland and Freedom, or Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) (1959-present) *
    • A splinter group of the Basque Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista Vasco, PNV), a mainstream, nonviolent political party.


  • Irish Nationalist Terrorist Groups
    • Irish Republican Army (IRA) (1916-present; Irish nationalists) **
      • Also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), the Provos, Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD).
      • Under ceasefire since Belfast Agreement of 1997.
      • Splinter groups:
        • Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) (1969-present; Irish nationalists)
          • Also known as the "Provisional IRA" and "the Provos."
          • Splinter group of the 'Official' IRA.
          • Supporters of the PIRA split from 'Official' Sinn Féin to form Provisional Sinn Féin. Provisional Sinn Féin was later known simply as Sinn Féin (while 'Official' Sinn Féin eventually became the Workers' Party).
          • Under ceasefire since the Good Friday Agreement of 1997
        • Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) (1986-present; Irish nationalists)
          • Also known as the "Continuity Army Council" and "Óglaigh na hÉireann (Gaelic for 'Volunteers of Ireland')
        • Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) (1997-present; Irish nationalists) *
          • Also known as the True IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann (Gaelic for Volunteers of Ireland).
          • Does not recognize Belfast Agreement.
  • Anti-Irish Nationalist Terrorist Groups
    • Ulster Defence Association (UDA) **
      • Also called the "Ulster Freedom Fighters," or UFF.
      • On February 22, 2003, announced a "complete and utter cessation" of all acts of violence for one year. It said it will review its ceasefire every three months.
      • Splinter group:
        • Red Hand Defenders (1998-present) **
          • UDA splinter group. Opposes ceasefire.
    • Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) (May 1966-present)
      • Very closely linked with the Red Hand Commandos (1972-present).
    • Ulster Defense Force (UVP) **


  • Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) (early 1990s-present; Islamic separatists; the Philippines) *
    • In Arabic, "bearer of the sword."
    • Has ties to al-Qaeda.
    • Based in the southern Philippines; seeks a separate Islamic state for the Muslim minority.


  • Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) (1963-present; Marxist/anarchist separatist group)


  • Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) (1978-present; Turkish sepratists) *
    • Also known as Kongra-Gel (KGK), Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress, Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan (KADEK), Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan, Halu Mesru Savunma Kuvveti (HSK), and Kurdistan People's Congress (KHK).
    • Marxist-Leninist insurgent group, mostly comprised of Turkish Kurds.


  • Tamil Students Movement (Sri Lankan Tamil Separatists)
    • Tamil New Tigers (TNT)
    • Tamil Ealam Liberation Organization (TELO)
    • Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) (1976-present) *
      • Also known as the World Tamil Association, World Tamil Movement, Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils, and the Ellalan Force.


  • Lebanese Hizbollah (1982-present; Shiite Lebanese Islamists and Palestinian nationalists; Lebanon) *
    • In Arabic, "Party of God."
    • Also known as Hezbollah, Hizbullah, Huzbollah, Hizbalah, Islamic Jihad, Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and the Revolutionary Justice Organization.
  • Palestinian Liberation Organization (June 1964-Present; Palestinian nationalists)
    • Formed as an umbrella group of eight Palestinian nationalist organizations devoted to terrorism, headquartered in Damascus, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon.
    • Groups within the PLO
    • Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) (1967-present; Palestinian nationalists) *
      • Left-wing Palestinian separatists
      • Joined the PLO in 1968 and became the second-largest PLO faction, after Arafat's al-Fatah, but withdrew in 1974, accusing the group of moving away from the goal of destroying Israel outright.
        • PFLP's splinter groups:
          • Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GP) (1968-present; Palestinian nationalists) *
            • Splinter group from the PFLP, founded by Ahmed Jibril. Declared its focus would be military, not political. Was a member of the PLO, but left in 1974 for the same reasons as PFLP.
          • Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) (1969-present; Palestinian nationalists)
            • Marxist-Leninist group that believes Palestinian national goals can be achieved only through revolution of the masses. Split into two factions in 1991; Nayif Hawatmah leads the majority and more hard-line faction, which continue to dominate the group. Joined with other rejectionist groups to form the Alliance of Palestinian Forces (APF) to oppose the Declaration of Principals signed in 1993. Broke from the APF - along with the PFLP - over ideological differences. Has made limited moves toward merging with the PFLP since the mid-1990s.
    • Abu Nidal organization (ANO) (1974-2002?; Arab Socialist) *
      • Split from PLO but is not considered primarily a Palestinian nationalist organization. See ANO entry above.
    • Fatah (early 1960s-present; Palestinian nationalist political party; sponsors terrorism)
      • In Arabic, "conquest by means of jihad."
      • Reverse acronym for "Harekat at-Tahrir al-Wataniyyeh al-Falastiniyyeh."
      • Also known as the movement for the National Liberation of Palestine
      • Founded by Yasser Arafat in the early 1960s. Took control of the PLO in 1960, with Arafat as chairman, forming the Palestinian Authority.
        • Groups associated with Fatah
          • Al Aqsa Marytrs Brigade *
          • Tanzim (1995-present)
            • In Arabic, "organization."
            • Loosely organized Fatah militia.
          • Force 17 (early 1970s-present)
            • Elite unit of the PLO under Yasser Arafat's direct guidance.
            • Acts as a versatile unit for terrorism, combat, and intelligence-gathering.
          • Hawari (1980s-1991)
            • Also known as the Fatah Special Operations Group, Martyrs of Tal Al Za'atar, and Amn Araissi.
            • Has not carried out terrrorist attacks recently.


  • Jamaat al-Islamiyya (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) (Egypt, Islamists)
  • Armed Islamic Group (Algeria, Islamists)
  • Harakat ul-Mujahedeen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir, Islamists)
  • Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (Iranian rebels)
  • Chechen Terrorists (Russia, separatists)
  • East Turkestan Islamic Movement (China, separatists)
  • Jemaah Islamiyah (Southeast Asia, Islamists)
  • November 17, Revolutionary People’s Struggle (Greece, leftists)
  • FARC, ELN, AUC (Colombia, rebels)
  • Shining Path, Tupac Amaru (Peru, leftists)
  • Aum Shinrikyo (Japan, cultists)
  • American Militant Extremists (United States, radicals)
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