THERE are 10 religious and secular terrorist groups resorting to suicide terrorism in the name of Islamic Revolution or simply for freedom of their homeland. Four other groups, active in the 1980s alongside the Hizbollah are relatively quiet now – the Natzersit Socialist Party of Syria, Syrian Nationalist Party, Lebanese Communist Party and Baath Party of Lebanon.
- The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka carried out the largest number of suicide attacks in its quest for statehood. It’s the only group to have killed two world leaders – Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lanka President Ranasinghe Premadasa. Their suicide bombers have claimed the lives of the largest number of leaders in a short time.
- Hizbollah of Lebanon is second to the LTTE in suicide operations. Having pioneered suicide terrorism in modern times after its 1983 suicide bombings of Lebanon against French and US military camps. It is fighting to oust the Israelis from Southern Lebanon. Hizbollah is supported by Iran, a steadfast state sponsor.
- Osama bin Laden network (Al Quaida) of Afghanistan – now prime suspect of Tuesday’s attacks. He used at least one Egyptian suicide bomber in the 1998 East African embassy bombings.
The terror group is among the most lethal and is reckoned to be a mix of several associate groups dispersed internationally. Their focus is almost single-minded – the USA (“Great Satan”) and Israel (“Little Satan”) and their allies. Recently, he has directed his efforts against India over Kashmir and the men helped Pervez Musharraf line up the trenches and tunnels at Kargil for the Pakistan insurgents.
The USA wants to totally eliminate the group and its missile attack on Laden after the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania failed.
After this attack Laden stopped using a satellite phone, instead sending his couriers to Peshawar from where his diktats are relayed.
- Islam Resistance Movement (Hamas) – stands third in suicide attacks. Hamas and PIJ, operating in Gaza and West Bank, have vowed to destroy the “Zionist state of Israel”. It is controlled by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) acts in the same areas and is also controlled by Mr Arafat. With Hamas, it vows to destroy the “Zionist state of Israel”. Israeli Intelligence and clandestine operatives have regulated the efficacy of these two groups by
eliminating their key operatives and military leaders.
- Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) of Turkey; stands fourth in suicide operations. Until PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan’s capture, the PKK fought for an independent Kurdistan in south-eastern Turkey.
Today, it is demanding autonomy and equal cultural rights. Women carry out most of their suicide operations.
- Barbar Khalsa International (BKI) in India for “Khalistan”’. It has a small presence in its target country – India – but enjoys a significant presence in the UK and Canada. In January 2000, when BKI was planning to conduct its second suicide operation, the Indian security forces apprehended the bomber.
- Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ).
- Gamaya Islamiya (Islamic Group) of Egypt. IG and EIJ are fighting for an Islamic state in Egypt. EIJ leader Dr Ayman Al-Thawaheri, lives in Afghanistan and works closely with Bin Laden.
- Armed Islamic Group of Algeria. It has staged only one suicide operation as part of its fight to establish an Islamic state in Algeria.
Published in CNN