TERRORIST GROUPS – AUSTRALIA

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This document explores the total list of terrorist groups within Australia alone. Note the common theme; Islam. This is an indiscriminate list, as recorded by the Australian Government.

Abu Sayyaf Group

(Also known as: Abou Sayaf Armed Band; Abou Sayyef Group; Abu Sayaff Group; Al-Harakat Al-Aslamiya; Al-Harakat Al-Islamiyya; Al-Harakat-ul Al-Islamiyya; Al-Harakatul-Islamia; Mujahideen Commando Freedom Fighters)

Listed in Australia 14 November 2002, re-listed 5 November 2004, 3 November 2006, 1 November 2008, 29 October 2010 and 12 July 2013.

This statement is based on publicly available information about the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate and reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Objectives

ASG was founded in 1991 as a separatist militant Islamist movement by Filipino national Abdurajak Janjalani. ASG remains influenced by its founding objective of creating an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines areas of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

Leadership

Following the deaths over the last decade of a number of its key senior leaders, including former Emir, Khadaffy Janjalani, in September 2006, ASG has continued to fragment. It remains unclear whether a single figure now leads the group. However, a number of key leadership figures have extensive operational experience and are capable of conducting their own independent operations—including Radullan Sahiron, Isnilon Hapilon, Yasir Igasan and Khair Mundos.

Membership

Since its inception, ASG has been composed of loosely-affiliated sub-groups, mostly organised along traditional clan and familial lines. ASG membership consists primarily of young Filipino Muslims from the Sulu archipelago, though the group also attracts poverty‑stricken Muslims from across the southern Philippines. ASG membership at times has included foreign jihadists.

ASG recruitment efforts have ensured membership numbers remain at approximately 400 fighters, spread predominantly across the Sulu Archipelago. However, membership numbers fluctuate in response to successful terrorist operations and pressure from the Philippine military, which dictate the available resources and relative incentives of membership.

Funding

ASG views kidnap-for-ransom and extortion ventures as profitable operational tactics. Kidnappings, in particular, have been a trademark of ASG since its creation and represent the main funding mechanism for the group.These activities help support members’ livelihood and provide resources for ASG’s terrorist activities, including its capacity to oppose military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). ASG has also received funds from other Islamist terrorist organisations and enjoys support from elements of the local population of Jolo and Basilan.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning or assisting in the doing of terrorist acts

ASG has been responsible for the planning and conduct of terrorist attacks and kidnappings against a wide range of targets, including Philippine security forces and foreign interests, in Western Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and Malaysia’s Sabah State.Recent attacks, including bombings, have largely been motivated by financial gain rather than purely political, religious or ideological purposes. However, some of the proceeds of these attacks are used to support ASG’s on-going operations in pursuit of an independent Islamic state—and the choice of victims remains influenced by this objective.

ASG has been linked to numerous kidnappings in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga City and other areas in Western Mindanao. Westerners and other wealthy foreign nationals, as well as local politicians, business people, and civilians feature among the broad range of kidnap targets. Kidnappings reliably attributed to ASG since its re‑listing by the Australian Government as a terrorist organisation on 29 October 2010 include:

  • On 5 December 2011, Australian national Warren Richard Rodwell was abducted from his residence in Ipil, Mindanao. In a January 2013 proof-of-life video of Mr Rodwell uploaded to YouTube, his captors stated he was being held by members of Al-Harakat Al-Islamiyya (ASG) and that money gained from his kidnapping was to be used for future operations. Mr Rodwell was released by his captors in March 2013.
  • 1 February 2012: a Swiss and Dutch national were kidnapped along with their Filipino guide off the Tawi-Tawi islands. Following their initial abduction, Philippine authorities stated that the victims were seen in the custody of ASG militants.
  • 12 July 2011: two US nationals were kidnapped near Zamboanga City by ASG militants.

ASG has been linked to numerous large-scale attacks over the past decade, including the 27 February 2004 bombing of theSuperferry in Manila harbour, killing 114 people, and the 14 February 2005 coordinated bombings in the cities of Makati, Davao and General Santos, killing 11 people. Recent attacks attributed to ASG include:

  • 28 July 2012: seven soldiers were killed during an armed clash with ASG in the village of Panglayahan, Jolo.
  • 10 July 2012: six rubber plantation workers were killed when suspected ASG fighters ambushed a vehicle ferrying workers in Tumahubong, Basilan.
  • 28 November 2011: three people were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated at a wedding ceremony in a hotel in Zamboanga City.
  • 10 March 2011: five people were killed when an IED detonated outside an elementary school in San Raymundo village, Jolo, Sulu.

Directly or indirectly fostering the doing of terrorist acts

ASG has associated with other terrorist organisations since its founding, most notably with al-Qa’ida and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). ASG has provided sanctuary to foreign militant jihadists, including JI-linked fugitives from the South-East Asia region. This support has continued since ASG was last re-listed as a terrorist organisation on 29 October 2010. ASG also maintains operational and logistical links with other Philippines-based networks that are actively engaged in terrorist activity, including elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses ASG continues to be directly and/or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of, terrorist acts involving threats to human life and serious damage to property. ASIO further assesses that elements of ASG remain active, retain a capability to conduct attacks, and have an enduring intent to directly prepare, plan, assist in or foster the doing of terrorist acts.

In the course of pursuing their objectives, ASG is known to have engaged in acts that:

  • cause, or could cause, serious damage to property or the death of persons, endanger a person’s life or create a serious risk to a person’s safety
  • are intended to have those effects
  • are done with the intention of advancing ASG’s political, religious or ideological causes
  • are done with the intention of intimidating sections of the public of the Philippines and other persons visiting areas in which the group operates.

The above acts include actions which have been done or threatened with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause and with the intention of coercing or influencing by intimidation, the central government and people of the Philippines. The actions or threatened actions which ASG is assessed to be involved in would, if successfully completed, cause serious physical harm and death to persons and serious damage to property.

This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable intelligence sources.

Al-Murabitun


(‘Al-Murabitun’ translates from Arabic into English as ‘the Sentinels’)
(AKA al-Murabitoun)

Listed in Australia 5 November 2014.

The following information is based on publicly available details about al-Murabitun.  To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Backround

Al-Murabitun is a Sunni Islamic extremist group with leadership based in northern Mali. Al-Murabitun was formed in August 2013 on the amalgamation of two regional extremist groups, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA)—also known as the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA), Jama’at at‑tawhid wal-jihad fi gharb ‘afriqqiya (TWJWA), Mouvement pour le Unite et du Jihad en Afrqiue de l’Ouest (MUJAO)—and al-Muwaqi’in Bid-Dam (AMBD), also known as Signatories in Blood group.

  • Before their formal merger, MUJWA and AMBD co-operated to conduct simultaneous attacks in Niger in May 2013 targeting a military installation in Agadez and the French-operated uranium facility at Arlit.

MUJWA and AMBD both originated as splinter groups of al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).  MUJWA splintered from the al-Moulathamoune battalion, a Sahel-based unit of AQIM, in December 2011.  Its stated objective was to spread jihad across wider West Africa. MUJWA membership included various nationalities and ethnicities, and its formation was reportedly influenced by objections to the dominance of Algerians in AQIM leadership.

  • In July 2013, MUJWA released a video of two of its members encouraging Muslims in France and the United States to conduct terrorist attacks.
  • MUJWA claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a Portuguese-French citizen near Diema, Mali in December 2012.
  • MUJWA claimed responsibility for the 30 June 2012 suicide bombing attack on the Algerian national gendarmerie headquarters in Ouargla, Algeria.

AMBD originated as the al-Moulathamoune battalion.  Following years of conflict between AQIM leadership and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the leader of the al‑Moulathamoune battalion, Belmokhtar, and most of the battalion departed from AQIM in December 2012 to form AMBD.

  • In January 2013, AMBD claimed responsibility for the siege of the gas processing facility at In-Amenas, Algeria, which lasted four days and resulted in the deaths of 39 hostages and one security guard.

Objectives

Al-Murabitun’s objective is to unite Muslims and other Islamic movements across Africa against non-Muslim and secular influences.  It has publicly called for attacks on French interests and French allies in Africa as a “Shari’a-based duty”.

Leadership and membership

Al-Murabitun’s leader has not been publically named. According to the group’s public statements, its leader fought for the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union during the 1980s and in 2002 against Coalition forces following the fall of the Taliban regime.

Many of al-Murabitun members are former members of AQIM who departed when MUJWA and AMBD splintered from AQIM; others were recruited to these groups before the formation of al-Murabitun.  The members are drawn from across North and West Africa including Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger.

Recruitment and funding

Before the formation of Al-Murabitun, MUJWA derived funding from regional drug smuggling.  In 2011, MUJWA was also involved in the kidnap of three aid workers from a refugee camp in Tindouf, Algeria who were released in return for a ransom payment.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

In a statement issued in January 2014, al-Murabitun detailed its attacks during 2013.  In addition to attacks conducted following the formal integration of MUJWA and AMBD as al-Murabitun, the statement also claimed responsibility on behalf of al‑Murabitun for attacks conducted before al-Murabitun’s formation.  The attacks claimed included:

  • January 2013: AMBD attacked the gas processing facility at In-Amenas, which the al-Murabitun statement said was in response to Algeria opening its airspace to French aircraft providing support to the Mali intervention.
  • February 2013: A car bombing was conducted by MUJWA at In-Khalil, Mali targeting the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), a Tuareg separatist group operating in northern Mali. The bombing was reportedly initiated because the MNLA were viewed as allied to French troops.
  • May 2013: AMBD and MUJWA collaborated to plan and conduct simultaneous suicide bombing and small arms attacks against a military site in Agadez, Niger and the French-operated uranium mine and processing facility near Arlit, Niger.
  • October 2013: Al-Murabitun claimed responsibility for launching rockets at the Gao airport in Mali.
  • November 2013: Al-Murabitun claimed responsibility for an IED attack on a Malian army vehicle between Asongo and Menaka resulting in the deaths of four soldiers.
  • November 2013: al-Murabitun conducted a suicide attack on the French barracks in Menaka. While al-Murabitun’s statement claimed French soldiers were killed, the French military stated the only casualty was the bomber.

Directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning terrorist acts

In a statement released in January 2014, al-Murabitun said it intended to continue targeting French allies with raids, car bombs, explosive devices and rockets.  The statement indicated these attacks were motivated by the opposition of France and its African allies to the implementation of Islamic law.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

Al-Murabitun has advocated for extremists to attack French interests ‘wherever they are’ as a duty under Islamic law in a statement in August 2013. The group repeated its call for attacks on France and its allies in January 2014 when it stated this was necessary because France does not accept Islamic rule.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses al-Murabitun continues to directly and/or indirectly engage in conducting, preparing, planning, assisting, advocating or fostering the doing of acts involving threats to human life and serious damage to property. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, al-Murabitun is known to have committed or threatened action that:

  • causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons or endanger a person’s life or create a serious risk to a person’s safety;
  • are done with the intention of advancing al-Murabitun’s political, religious or ideological causes;
  • are done with the intention of intimidating sections of the public globally; and
  • are intended to coerce or intimidate the government of a foreign country.

This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable intelligence sources.

Other relevant information

Proscription by the UN and other countries

The United States proscribed al-Murabitun as an alias of the al-Moulathamoune battalion in December 2013.

The United Kingdom proscribed al-Murabitun in April 2014.

Canada proscribed al-Murabitun on 2 June 2014.

New Zealand has designated al-Murabitun as a terrorist entity.

The United Nations listed al-Murabitun under the United Nations Security Council 1267 (al-Qa’ida) Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list as an entity associated with al-Qa’ida on 2 June 2014.

Links to other terrorist groups

Al-Murabitun has pledged allegiance to al-Qa’ida senior leadership. In a statement issued at the same time as the announcement of the formation of al-Murabitun, Belmokhtar stated al-Murabitun pledged allegiance to al-Qa’ida leaders in Afghanistan and to al-Qa’ida leader Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri.  He further stated that al-Murabitun adhered to the intellectual and moral methodology promoted by al‑Qa’ida and its founder Usama bin Laden.

Al-Murabitun leadership figure Belmokhtar is a former leader of an AQIM battalion.  As al-Murabitun was formed through the merger of two AQIM splinter groups, many of its members are former AQIM fighters.

Al-Qa’ida (AQ)

 

(Also known as:Al-Jihad al-Qaeda, Al Qaeda, Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, The Base, The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites, International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusaders, Islamic Army, The Islamic Army for the Liberation of Holy Places, Islamic Army for the Liberation of Holy Sites, Islamic Salvation Foundation, The Jihad Group, New Jihad, Usama Bin Laden Network, Usama Bin Laden Organisation, The World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders)

Listed in Australia 21 October 2002, re-listed 1 September 2004, 26 August 2006, 8 August 2008, 22 July 2010 and 12 July 2013.

This statement is based on publicly available information about al-Qa’ida. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate and reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Objectives

Al-Qa’ida emerged in the late 1980s from the Maktab al-Khidamat, a recruitment and fundraising network for the Afghan resistance to the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qa’ida was established to continue the jihad against perceived enemies of Islam following the end of the conflict with the Soviets. During the late 1990s, al-Qa’ida was transformed from providing a unifying function for extremist elements into a global network of cells and affiliated groups.

Al-Qa’ida seeks to remove governments, through violent means if necessary, in Muslim countries that it deems are ‘un-Islamic’ in order to establish an Islamic Caliphate. The United States (US) and its allies, including Australia, are believed by al-Qa’ida to represent the greatest obstacle to this objective, given their perceived support for these governments.

Leadership

Al-Qa’ida is a Sunni Islamic extremist organisation whose core leadership is located in the border regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Usama bin Laden co-founded al-Qa’ida with Dr Abdullah Azzam and gained full control of the organisation after the assassination of Azzam in 1989. Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, Usama bin Laden’s former deputy, now leads al-Qa’ida after the death of Usama bin Laden in May 2011.

Al-Qa’ida maintains core support networks and operations in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region. This region has served as a sanctuary for al-Qa’ida’s leadership since the loss of the group’s facilities in Afghanistan in late 2001.

However, due to counter-terrorism measures in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, including unmanned drone attacks targeting senior al-Qa’ida leaders and operatives, al-Qa’ida’s core leadership has become increasingly isolated, short of funds and is having more trouble recruiting and equipping fighters.

Continued successful operations by US and other forces over the past 18 months appear to have seriously degraded al-Qa’ida’s capacity for planning and conducting large-scale terrorist operations.

Membership

The exact size of al-Qa’ida is unknown. While previous estimates have suggested a strength of several thousand fighters, today it is significantly less and more likely in the hundreds. While al-Qa’ida remains dominated by Arabs, non-Arabs are playing increasingly prominent roles in its operations.

Originally, al-Qa’ida recruited veterans of the Soviet-Afghan conflict of 1979-89 and from campaigns in places such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kashmir, Mindanao, Chechnya, Lebanon, Algeria and Egypt. More recent recruits include fighters who have gained experience in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Al-Qa’ida has inspired a new generation of extremists, including some from Western countries, but not all of those who travel to Afghanistan/Pakistan actually join al-Qa’ida. For some it is easier to join a local extremist group.

Despite declining membership, al-Qa’ida has significant reach and influence over the activities (and members) of other groups. Al-Qa’ida has strong relationships with official and unofficial affiliate groups around the world, who recruit independently of al-Qa’ida. While al-Qa’ida does not direct affiliate activity, al-Qa’ida broadly shapes global jihad and is still respected for its views on affiliates’ operations.

Recruitment and funding

Al-Qa’ida funding has typically been obtained through donations from Muslim charities and individuals. The US 9/11 Commission report attributed much of al-Qa’ida’s funding to money diverted from charities. In addition, funds are also probably raised through criminal means, such as credit card fraud. It is believed al-Qa’ida stopped using legitimate banking institutions for moving funds by mid-2002, turning instead to alternative systems such as the hawala system, couriers and precious stones.

Little is known about al-Qa’ida’s recruitment methods since the loss of its training camp infrastructure in Afghanistan in late 2001. It is likely a similar system has been established in cooperation with local Pakistani militant groups in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but on a smaller scale, using covert training camps and safe houses.

US unmanned drone attacks have made it more difficult for al-Qa’ida’s efforts in fundraising and recruiting. Reports suggest al-Qa’ida is struggling to raise funds and is having difficulty recruiting and equipping fighters.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

Al-Qa’ida has directly or indirectly engaged in a number of terrorist attacks, including assassinations, suicide bombings, aircraft hijackings and attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including vehicle-borne and vessel-borne. Significant attacks which al-Qa’ida has claimed responsibility for, or that can be reliably attributed to individuals affiliated with al-Qa’ida, include:

  • 7 August 1998: the bombing of the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing over 200 people.
  • 12 October 2000: the bombing of the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors.
  • 9 September 2001: the assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Masood in Afghanistan.
  • 11 September 2001: the hijacking of four US passenger planes and crashing them into the World Trade Center buildings in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania, killing approximately 3,000 people, including ten Australians.
  • 11 April 2002: the bombing of a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba, killing 20 people.
  • 14 June 2002: the car bombing outside the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12 people.
  • 6 October 2002: the bombing of the French oil tanker MV Limburg off the coast of Yemen, killing one sailor.
  • 28 November 2002: in Mombasa, Kenya, the car bombing of a hotel, killing 15 people, and the firing of two surface-to-air-missiles that missed an Israeli passenger plane after take-off from Mombasa airport.
  • 24 February 2006: the attack on the Abqaiq oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, killing two security guards.
  • 2 June 2008: the bombing of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing six people.
  • 20 September 2008: the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing 60 people.
  • 13 August 2011: the kidnapping of US citizen and aid worker, Warren Weinstein, from his residence in Lahore, Pakistan. Weinstein is being held by al-Qa’ida.

Directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning the doing of terrorist acts

Al-Qa’ida lost its primary base for training, planning, and preparing for terrorist operations following the US intervention in Afghanistan in late 2001. Since then, al-Qa’ida has sought alternative locations in which to train and regroup, including in North-West Pakistan, and members continued to gain combat experience in ongoing jihadist theatres such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite sanctions against al-Qa’ida’s extensive financial networks, al-Qa’ida continues to find means of raising and transferring money for terrorist attacks, including through donations, criminal activity and via couriers.

Significant planned, yet disrupted, plots attributable to al-Qa’ida include:

  • August 2006: disrupted plot by al-Qa’ida to bomb a number of transatlantic airliners flying from the United Kingdom (UK) to the US
  • September 2010: disrupted plot by Pakistan-based al-Qa’ida militants to carry out commando-style raids on cities in the UK, France and Germany involving teams taking and killing Western hostages.

Directly or indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts

Reporting indicates al-Qa’ida has encouraged, inspired and assisted like-minded individuals. Examples of this assistance include:

  • 12 October 2002: assisting in funding attacks on night clubs and the US Consulate in Bali, Indonesia, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians.
  • 15 November 2003: assisting in planning and preparing car bomb attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul, killing 20 people.
  • 20 November 2003: assisting in planning and preparing car bomb attacks on the HSBC Bank headquarters and the British Consulate in Istanbul, killing 30 people.
  • 7 July 2005: assisting in training those involved in IED attacks on London’s transport system, killing 56 people, including one Australian.
  • 2 March 2006: assisting in bombing a diplomatic vehicle outside the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing three people.

Directly or indirectly fostering the doing of terrorist acts or advocating the doing of terrorist acts

Senior leaders of al-Qa’ida have made numerous statements advocating the conduct of terrorist attacks against the US and countries perceived to have allied themselves with the US and Israel. The February 1998 statement issued under the banner of the ‘World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders’ decreed that civilians in these countries were legitimate targets for terrorist attack.

Al-Qa’ida continues to provide inspiration, encouragement and influence to other Sunni extremist groups around the world. Moreover, al-Qa’ida leadership relies on its affiliate organisations to plan and execute attacks. This is best demonstrated by the decisions of the Salafist Group for Call and Combat in Algeria and the Jamaat Tawhid wa’al-Jihad group in Iraq to merge with al-Qa’ida. Now known as al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb and al-Qa’ida in Iraq respectively, both groups accept strategic direction and have at times received funding from al-Qa’ida.

Al-Qa’ida has encouraged extremism in Somalia. A statement by al-Zawahiri in February 2009 and another by Usama bin Laden in March 2009 called on the mujahideen of Somalia to reject the government and fight for an Islamic state. In February 2012, Somali Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab formally announced it had become an official affiliate of al-Qa’ida. In early November 2012, al-Qa’ida released a statement via Islamist websites in which al-Zawahiri urged al-Shabaab to fight back against the Kenyan ‘crusader invaders’, stating: ‘Show them the fire of jihad and its heat. Chase them with guerrilla warfare, ambushes, [and] martyrdom [operations].’

Al-Qa’ida has sought to align itself with anti-government forces involved in the Syrian conflict, with al-Zawahiri releasing a video statement in February 2012 entitled ‘To the Front, O Lions of the Levant,’ in which he called on Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan to come to the aid of anti-government forces in Syria, stating that a Muslim should help ‘his brothers in Syria with all he can, with his life, his money, [his] opinion, as well as information.’

Senior al-Qa’ida leaders continue to make public statements promoting al-Qa’ida’s ideology, supporting attacks undertaken by other groups and advocating violent jihad against the West. In late October 2012, al-Qa’ida released a video in which al-Zawahiri called on Muslims across the world to kidnap Western nationals in order to help secure the release of Islamist militants imprisoned across the world.

Al-Qa’ida is skilled and disciplined in using broadcasts and online postings to portray a clear message of global jihad, provide direction on targets and to promote recruitment and continued action of subordinate groups. As-Sahab, al-Qa’ida’s media wing, has continued to produce high-quality videos that reinforce al-Qa’ida’s ideology, defend its actions, recruit new members and inspire others to conduct terrorist attacks. In 2010 as-Sahab produced 31 hours of video; in 2011 it produced 21 hours of video; and in 2012 42 hours of video.

Al-Qa’ida also exploits terrorist attacks conducted by individuals and groups not linked with it to further spread its message. Following the suicide bombing on the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) base at Khost, Afghanistan, on 30 December 2009, the chief of al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan released a statement in which he praised the bomber, stating ‘Your brothers will continue the march on your path and they will not rest and their populace will not part with the populace of the Americans till they inflict upon them the greatest and most astonishing deaths and wounds…’.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses al-Qa’ida continues to be directly and indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in and fostering the doing of terrorist acts and advocates the doing of terrorist acts, involving threats to human life and serious damage to property.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, al-Qa’ida is known to have engaged in acts that:

  • cause, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons, endanger a person’s life or create a serious risk to a person’s safety
  • are intended to have those effects
  • are done with the intention of advancing al-Qa’ida’s political, religious or ideological causes
  • are done with the intention of intimidating sections of the public globally.

Such acts include actions which have been done or threatened with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause and with the intention of coercing, or influencing by intimidation, governments and individuals globally. The actions or threatened actions which al-Qa’ida is assessed to be involved in would, if successfully completed, cause serious physical harm and death to persons and serious damage to property.

On the basis of available information, we assess that while the incidence of terrorist attack by al-Qa’ida has declined significantly, core members of al-Qa’ida remain active and retain the intent to continue terrorist activities.

This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable intelligence sources.

Other relevant information

Links to other terrorist groups or networks

In 1998, key figures of five terrorist groups, including Usama bin Laden, issued a declaration under the banner of the ‘World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders,’ announcing a jihad and stating the US and its allies should be expelled from the Middle East.

In addition to the groups al-Qa’ida has incorporated ‘officially’ under its banner, al-Qa’ida also has provided encouragement and inspiration to other Islamic terrorist groups. Among such groups are: Abu Sayyaf Group, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Army of Aden, Asbat al-Ansar, Jemaah Islamiyah, Jamiat ul-Ansar/Harakat ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Ansar al-Islam.

Threats to Australian interests

Since 2004, a number of statements have been made by Usama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri calling for attacks against the US and its allies, including Australia. The most recent al-Qa’ida senior leadership reference to Australia was on 2 April 2008, when as-Sahab posted to an audio file to extremist Internet forums of al-Zawahiri responding to questions from forum participants. Al-Zawahiri referred to Australia when responding to a question criticising al-Qa’ida for killing Muslims in Muslim lands and not conducting attacks in Israel. Al-Zawahiri responded by citing attacks against the US and its allies, including Australia, in various locations and that these countries supported Israel.

The most recent reference to Australia generally by al-Qa’ida was via an as-Sahab video release posted on jihadist forums on 11 September 2012 which included the comment by the unknown narrator stating that: ‘who submitted to the religion of truth, Islam, whether from America, Australia, Germany, or any other country, is considered a brother by the fighters, and anyone, even the aborigines in Australia, would find peace and tranquillity in Islam.’

Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

(Also known as: Al-Qa’ida in Yemen; Ansar al-Sharia; AQAP; AQY)

Listed in Australia 26 November 2010, re-listed 26 November 2013

This statement is based on publicly available details about al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate and reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

AQAP was known previously as al-Qa’ida in Yemen (AQY), which was founded after the escape of 23 extremist detainees from a high-security government correctional facility in Sana’a in February 2006.In a January 2009 statement, AQY announced a change of name to AQAP, the name of the previous al-Qa’ida network in Saudi Arabia, which was dismantled by Saudi authorities in 2006. In the same statement, AQAP announced two Saudi former Guantanamo Bay detainees had joined the group as senior members. One of them has since surrendered to Saudi authorities.

In an audio recording released in April 2011, AQAP official Abu Zabayr Adl al-Abab said ‘[t]he name Ansar al-Sharia is what we use to introduce ourselves in areas where we work, to tell people about our activity and goals, and that we are on the path of God.’

Objectives

In May 2010, AQAP issued a statement titled, Who are the mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula, which laid out AQAP’s objectives. These included the ‘expulsion of Jews and crusaders from the Arabian Peninsula’; the re-establishment of the Islamic caliphate and the introduction of sharia; and the liberation of Muslim lands. While the group mainly operates inside Yemen and has conducted attacks in Saudi Arabia, it has also attempted to conduct attacks within the United States (US).

Following AQAP’s attempted attack on Northwest Airlines flight 253 on 25 December 2009, AQAP issued a statement saying ‘we tell the American people that since you support the leaders who kill our women and children … we have come to slaughter you [and] will strike you with no previous [warning], our vengeance is near … we call on all Muslims … to throw out all unbelievers from the Arabian Peninsula by killing crusaders who work in embassies or elsewhere … [in] a total war on all crusaders in the Peninsula of [Prophet] Muhammad.’

Leadership

AQAP’s leader, or emir, is Nasir al-Wahishi (aka Abu Basir) – a Yemeni national who was amongst the group of 23 veteran extremist leaders who escaped from a Yemeni Government correctional facility in February 2006. This group went on to form the leadership elements of the current AQAP organisation. Al-Wahishi is reported to have served as an aide and a bodyguard to Usama bin Ladin in Afghanistan. Al-Wahishi, whose appointment as AQAP leader was confirmed by then-deputy al-Qa’ida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, is featured on Saudi Arabia’s most wanted terrorist list.

AQAP announced the death of its deputy leader Sa’id al-Shihri (aka Abu Sayyaf, aka Abu Sufyan)—a Saudi national and former Guantanamo detainee—on 16 July 2013. Al-Shihri was returned to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and underwent a rehabilitation program, but fled to Yemen upon his release. AQAP has not announced a replacement for al-Shihri.

AQAP’s operational commander is Qasim al-Rimi (aka Abu-Hurayrah al-San’ani).

Membership

AQAP consists of at least several hundred fighters.Yemen’s economic, political and environmental crises have enabled AQAP to find sanctuary there.

Recruitment and funding

AQAP is comprised mostly of Yemenis and Saudis but also recruits internationally. Those who have joined their ranks include Western, African and Asian citizens, and the (now-deceased) influential AQAP cleric and dual US and Yemeni citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi. AQAP recruits from a variety of sources, including conflict zones such as Afghanistan, prisons and through familial and tribal links. AQAP also employs media, including the digital magazine Inspire and audio messages via its online media outlet al-Malahim.

AQAP is self-funded and raises money through the collection of zakat (religious donations) by both willing and unsuspecting donors in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other countries; collection of cash at mosques; criminal activities such as robberies; and ransom payments for hostages.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

AQAP employs person and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (including suicide attacks), small arms and rocket-propelled grenades against Yemeni and foreign government interests. Kidnapping of foreign nationals is relatively common.

Terrorist attacks by AQAP continue to be a major concern of Western governments. According to news reports, in August 2013, the US closed diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa in response to intercepted messages between al-Zawahiri and al-Wahishi. The New York Times claimed al-Zawahiri ordered AQAP to conduct an attack.

Significant attacks for which responsibility has been claimed by, or reliably attributed to, AQAP include:

  • 4 March 2013: a car bomb at the Popular Committee barracks in Lawdar District killed at least 12 people and wounded more than a dozen others;
  • 29 January 2013: an attack on Yemeni Army assembly areas in al-Bayda Governorate killed 15 soldiers;
  • 24 December 2012: the kidnapping of two Finnish and one Austrian citizen; they were released in May 2013;
  • 18 August 2012: an attack on a military intelligence compound in Aden killed 14 officers;
  • 21 May 2012: a person-borne suicide attack against a military parade rehearsal in Sana’a killed 100 people and wounded more than 300 others;
  • 8 May 2012: US officials announced they had thwarted AQAP plans to detonate explosives onboard a US-bound aircraft;
  • 28 March 2012: the kidnapping of Saudi Arabian Deputy Consul Abdullah al-Khalidi in Aden;
  • 18 March 2012: the shooting death of US citizen Joel Shrum in Ta’izz;
  • 14 March 2012: the kidnapping of a Swiss national working as a teacher in Hudaydah; she was released for a ransom payment on 27 February 2013;
  • 4 March 2012: two car bombs killed at least 190 soldiers and tens were kidnapped in Zinjibar, Abyan Governorate;
  • 25 February 2012: a car bomb in al-Mukallah killed 26 Republican Guards on the same day President Hadi was being sworn in as Yemeni President. AQAP claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying it was meant to send a message to the US Ambassador in Yemen and the Yemeni military;
  • 29 October 2010: explosive devices concealed in printer cartridges in air freight destined for the US were set to detonate while the aircraft were airborne. The bombs were intercepted by the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Following public announcement of the disruption, AQAP claimed responsibility for the attempted attack and published details in a special edition of Inspire in November 2010. AQAP noted that ‘From the beginning our objective was economic…to cause maximum losses to the American economy’;
  • 6 October 2010: a rocket propelled grenade was fired at the convoy of the British deputy ambassador to Yemen; no one was killed;
  • 26 April 2010: a suicide bomber targeted the convoy of the British ambassador to Yemen; three were wounded, but the ambassador was unharmed;
  • 25 December 2009: Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device aboard Northwest Airlines flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. On 28 December, AQAP released a statement on a jihadist internet forum claiming responsibility for the attempt;and
  • 27 August 2009: a suicide bomber attempted to assassinate Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Nayif in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Directly or indirectly fostering and/or advocating the doing of terrorist acts

In July 2010, AQAP launched its online magazine Inspire, which attempts to incite individuals living across the world, especially in Western countries, to undertake acts of terrorism with practical guidance as well as ideological justification for attacks in their own countries. Instructions for weapons and attack planning include attaching metal blades to vehicles to mow down civilians, making basic improvised explosive devices, using firearms and starting forest fires. In addition toInspire, AQAP has also published a companion document called the Lone Mujahid Pocketbook, which largely comprises articles previously published in Inspire with an emphasis on tactics for carrying out ‘lone’ attacks in Western countries.

The 11th issue of Inspire, published on 30 May 2013, was a special edition that praised the Boston marathon bombings and included an item on the attack on the British soldier in Woolwich, describing these incidents as ‘inspired by Inspire’.

On 23 March 2012, AQAP’s media outlet, al-Malahim Foundation, released the full version of its Jihad of the Ummah video, including previously missing segments offering 3000 grams of gold to anyone who murders the US Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, and five million Yemeni Riyals to anyone who kills an American soldier in Yemen.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses that AQAP is directly and indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in, and fostering the doing of terrorist acts and advocates the doing of terrorist acts, involving threats to human life and serious damage to property. It is submitted that the acts attributable to AQAP are terrorist acts as they:

  1. constitute acts, which cause serious physical harm to persons, including death, as well as serious damage to property;
  2. are done with the intention of advancing a political cause, namely, removing Western influences and interests from the Arabian Peninsula; and
  3. are intended to coerce or influence by intimidation, the public or a section of the public outside Australia (including the governments of, and foreign nationals in, Yemen and Saudi Arabia).

This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable intelligence sources.

Other relevant information

Links to other terrorist groups or networks

AQAP is a recognised affiliate of al-Qa’ida. AQAP has also developed some links with other extremist and terrorist groups, including al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Proscription by the UN and other countries

On 19 January 2010, pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009), the United Nations listed AQAP as being ‘associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban’. In January 2010, the US designated AQAP as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.On 23 December 2010, Canada designated AQAP as a terrorist entity under Canadian Criminal Code article 83.05.

Peace and mediation processes

AQAP was involved in peace talks with the Yemeni Government in 2013, but no agreement has been reached. AQAP senior official Ibrahim al-Rubeish said that AQAP’s conditions for the truce included amending the Yemeni constitution to accept sharia laws, monitoring non-Muslim based organizations in Yemen and removing all ‘apparent evils’ such as interest-based banks.

Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)


(Also known as: Al Qaida au Maghreb Islamique; Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb; Al-Qa’ida Organisation in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb; AQIM; Le Groupe Salafiste Pour La Predication et Le Combat; Salafist Group for Call and Combat; Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat; Tanzim al-Qa’ida fi bilad al-Maghreb al-Islamiya)

Listed in Australia 14 November 2002, re-listed 5 November 2004, 3 November 2006, 9 August 2008, 22 July 2010 and 12 July 2013.

This statement is based on publicly available information about al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate and reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (Le Groupe Salafiste Pour La Predication et Le Combat-GSPC), AQIM is a Sunni Islamic extremist group with its senior leadership based in northern Algeria.

The GSPC was formed in 1998 as a splinter group of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) to protest against the GIA’s indiscriminate killing of civilians. The GSPC quickly became Algeria’s largest and most dangerous terrorist group and by 2000, the external networks of the GIA across Europe and North Africa had been absorbed by the GSPC.

In June 2004, the GSPC released statements claiming that its jihad in Algeria was part of the international jihad led by Usama bin Laden and declaring war on all foreigners and foreign interests in Algeria. The culmination of this increasingly pro-al-Qa’ida stance was the GSPC’s official alliance with al-Qa’ida and its subsequent name change.

  • On 11 September 2006, al-Qa’ida announced an alliance between the GSPC and al-Qa’ida.
  • On 26 January 2007, the GSPC announced it had changed its name to al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Following the 2006 alliance, AQIM media statements took an increasingly anti-Western position and the group conducted its first attacks specifically targeting Western interests.

In March 2012, Tuareg insurgents launched a rebellion against the Government of Mali in northern Mali. AQIM’s Mali-based battalions rapidly took control of the insurgency and with Ansar al-Din, an Islamist ally, established authority over northern Mali. The groups implemented Islamic (Sharia) law and established camps to train recruits. In December 2012, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a resolution which among other things specifically condemned AQIM as one of the terrorist groups which do not recognise the territorial integrity of Mali and sanctioned deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) against the Islamist occupation. In January 2013 the French Government initiated military intervention against AQIM and the other rebel groups occupying northern Mali at the request of the Government of Mali.

Objectives

AQIM’s objective is to create an Islamist state based on Islamic law. AQIM aspires to expand its influence throughout North Africa and the Sahel/Sahara region and to conduct attacks in Europe.

As the GSPC, the group’s main objective was to overthrow the Algerian Government and replace it with an Islamic government to rule Algeria under Islamic law. This remains one of AQIM’s key aims. However, following GSPC’s alliance with al-Qa’ida in late 2006, and name change to AQIM in early 2007, the group increasingly has adhered to al-Qa’ida’s extremist ideology and has declared war against foreigners and foreign interests throughout North Africa and Europe.

AQIM has called for the freeing of the Maghreb countries of North Africa from Spanish and French influences and for the regaining of the lost Islamic regions of southern Spain, known as al-Andalus. AQIM has stated its support for Islamist extremist violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Chechnya, and Palestine. It has also called on Muslims across North Africa to target Western interests.

Leadership and membership

Since 2004, the group has been led by Abdelmalek Droukdal (aka Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud). While Droukdal reportedly commands AQIM’s battalions from Algeria, the battalions also enjoy some operational autonomy. The group’s 2006 alliance with al-Qa’ida has proved to be largely ideological and AQIM appears to operate autonomously with limited contact and direction from al-Qa’ida senior leadership.

AQIM’s membership is estimated at several hundred members. AQIM members primarily originate from Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and other North and West African countries.

Since 2000, individuals believed to be GSPC/AQIM members have been arrested in France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK) and Pakistan. Security forces also have dismantled AQIM cells in several European countries.

Recruitment and funding

In anticipation of United Nations-sanctioned military response to its occupation of northern Mali in 2012, AQIM has increased recruitment of new members. In addition to recruitment from African countries, recruits from Western nations including France have attempted to travel to Mali. AQIM continues to communicate with the wider extremist community through web-based propaganda and official statements issued through the Al-Fajr Media Centre website and AQIM’s media wing Al Andalus Media Productions.

AQIM funds itself primarily through criminal activities, including the kidnapping of Westerners for ransom payments. Kidnapping operations in the Sahel/Sahara region of North Africa have been a key source of funding and have netted the group millions of Euros in ransoms since February 2008.  AQIM has also used kidnapping to obtain political concessions such as the release of Islamist prisoners. Other funding sources include protection rackets, robbery, people and arms trafficking, money laundering and smuggling and increasingly, the facilitation of drug trafficking from South America into Europe.

Terrorist activity of al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb

Directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

AQIM conducts attacks against Western interests in northern Algeria and increasingly in Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Its methods include suicide bomb attacks, remotely detonated roadside bombings, small arms attacks, kidnappings for ransom and assassinations. Attacks against Western interests reliably attributed to AQIM, or for which AQIM has claimed responsibility since the group was last re-listed include:

  • AQIM killed a French aid worker during July 2010 following an unsuccessful raid to free him.
  • 16 September 2010: seven employees including five French nationals, a Togolese national and a Malagasy national were kidnapped by AQIM militants in Niger.
  • 5 January 2011: a former AQIM militant detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting the French Embassy in Mali. After his arrest he told Mali security officials he conducted the attack to prove to AQIM that he could conduct an act of terrorism independently.
  • 7 January 2011: two French nationals were kidnapped by AQIM militants in Niger. They were killed on 8 January during a rescue attempt.
  • 2 February 2011: an Italian national was kidnapped in Algeria by AQIM militants.
  • 24 November 2011: two French nationals were kidnapped from their hotel in Mali. AQIM claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. An AQIM spokesman announced the execution of one of these hostages on 10 March 2013.
  • 25 November 2011: AQIM militants kidnapped a Swedish national, a Dutch national and a dual British-South African national from Timbuktu, Mali. A German national was killed during the kidnapping.
  • 26 January 2012: AQIM claimed responsibility for kidnapping a German national in Kano, Nigeria. The German national was later killed by his captors during a counter-terrorism operation against the location in which he was held.
  • 15 April 2012: a Swiss woman was kidnapped from her residence in Timbuktu after the town was captured by Islamist and Tuareg militants including AQIM.  She was released on 26 April following negotiations facilitated by the President of Burkina Faso.
  • 21 November 2012: a Portuguese-born French national was kidnapped by likely AQIM associates in Diema, southern Mali.
  • As of May 2013, AQIM was holding nine Western nationals hostage.

In addition to targeting Western interests, AQIM routinely attacks military police and government interests of North and West African nations. Common tactics include ambushes, attacks at false roadblocks, raids on military, police and government convoys, armed assaults and vehicle-borne suicide bombings. Attacks of this nature reliably attributed to AQIM, or for which AQIM has claimed responsibility since the group was last re-listed include:

  • 25 July 2010: AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack on a police building in Algeria, killing a municipal guard.
  • 25 August 2010: Mauritanian security forces shot the suspected AQIM-linked driver of a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) before he could reach the gate of a military barracks in Mauritania. The device detonated prematurely causing damage to nearby buildings.
  • 2 October 2010: AQIM militants killed five Algerian soldiers during an ambush in Tizi Ouzou province, Algeria.
  • 2 February 2011: Mauritanian security forces disrupted an attempt to carry out an SVBIED attack in Nouakchott.
  • 15 April 2011: AQIM militants attacked a checkpoint in Algeria killing 17 Algerian soldiers.
  • 13 May 2011: Seven soldiers were killed when AQIM militants attacked a barracks in Algeria.
  • 28 June 2011: an IED killed three civilians when it detonated on the Mali-Mauritanian border.  AQIM militants are believed to be responsible as the attack occurred just two days after a counter-terrorism operation against AQIM.
  • 16 July 2011: AQIM claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb which killed one person when it detonated outside a police station in northern Algeria.
  • 14 August 2011: an AQIM militant detonated a SVBIED outside the police headquarters in the northern Algerian town of Tizi Ouzou wounding 33 people.
  • 16 August 2011: one person was killed in an IED attack in northern Algeria by suspected AQIM militants.
  • 26 August 2011: 16 soldiers and two civilians were killed at a military academy in the northern Algerian town of Cherchell in a double suicide bombing attack.
  • 16 January 2012: AQIM militants kidnapped the governor of Algeria’s Illizi region in an attack on his convoy near the Algerian-Libyan border.  The governor was rescued the following day by Libyan security forces.
  • 1 April 2012: an Algerian soldier was killed during an exchange of fire with AQIM militants in northern Algeria.
  • 25 May 2012: an AQIM militant killed a security guard in northern Algeria.
  • 20 July 2012: an AQIM small arms attack killed a police officer in northern Algeria.
  • 31 July 2012: AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack on a convoy protecting employees of a French construction company in Jijel, Algeria. Two guards were killed during the attack.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

AQIM leaders and senior al-Qa’ida members including Ayman al-Zawahiri, have stated publicly that AQIM should target United States (US), French and other Western interests in Algeria, across North Africa and into Western Europe.

AQIM issued a public statement praising the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi on 11 September 2012 which resulted in the death of four Americans including the US Ambassador to Libya. The statement encouraged further attacks against US diplomatic missions in Africa and the killing of US ambassadors.

In May 2013, AQIM issued an audio statement calling for attacks targeting French interests across the world in response to French intervention in Mali.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses AQIM is directly and indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts and advocates the doing of terrorist acts, involving threats to human life and serious damage to property.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, AQIM is known to have engaged in acts that:

  • cause, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons, endanger a person’s life or create a serious risk to a person’s safety
  • are intended to have those effects
  • are done with the intention of advancing AQIM’s political, religious or ideological causes
  • are done with the intention of intimidating sections of the public globally.

This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable intelligence sources.

Other relevant information

Proscription by the UN and other countries

AQIM is listed on the United Nations Security Council 1267 (al-Qa’ida) Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list as an entity associated with al-Qa’ida. AQIM has been listed as a terrorist organisation by Canada, the US and New Zealand. The UK lists the group as the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC).

Links to other terrorist groups

Despite its 2006 merger with al-Qa’ida, AQIM maintains a largely autonomous command structure and determines its own targeting strategy. It remains ideologically aligned with al-Qa’ida.

Links to Australia

AQIM has not made statements specifically threatening Australians or Australian interests. However, AQIM has issued statements threatening Westerners and Western interests in general.

Peace and mediation processes

AQIM has not participated in negotiations with the Mali Government over the Islamist occupation of northern Mali. In contrast, AQIM’s Islamist ally in northern Mali, Ansar al-Din, participated in mediation talks in the past.

AQIM has not participated in peace talks with the Algerian Government.

Al-Shabaab


(Also known as: Al-Shabaab Al-Islaam, Al-Shabaab al-Islamiya, Al-Shabaab Al-Jihaad, Al-Shabab, Ash-shabaab, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, Harakat Shabab Al-Mujahidin, Harakatul Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin, Hizbul Shabaab, Hisb’ul Shabaab, HSM, Mujahideen Youth Movement, Mujahidin Al-Shabaab Movement, Mujaahidiin Youth Movement, Mujahidin Youth Movement, Shabaab, MYM, The Popular Resistance Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations, The Unity of Islamic Youth, The Youth, Young Mujahideen Movement, Young Mujahideen Movement in Somalia, Youth Wing)

Listed 22 August 2009 and 18 August 2012.

The following information is based on publicly available details about al-Shabaab. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Al-Shabaab, or ‘the youth’, is the name generally applied to the Somali militant group which was formerly the most prominent of the militia groups comprising the militant wing of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC). The Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Ethiopian forces ousted the CIC in December 2006. The TFG has governed Somalia since the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces in January 2009 and in June 2011 unilaterally extended its mandate to govern until August 2012 when elections are scheduled.

Objectives

Al-Shabaab’s objective is the establishment of an Islamic state in Somalia, based on Islamic law and the elimination of foreign ‘infidel’ influence. In pursuance of this objective, al-Shabaab has conducted a violent insurgency against the TFG, and foreign forces supporting the TFG. Al-Shabaab seeks the creation of an ‘Islamic Emirate of Somalia’, to include Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland, north-eastern Kenya, the Ogaden region of Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Leadership and membership

Al-Shabaab has an increasingly loose leadership structure with a number of regional factions and commanders. Factional disputes have been reported between al-Shabaab’s senior commanders over strategy and ideology.

  • Omar Hammami, a senior foreign fighter, released a video on the weekend of 17 March 2012 stating he felt his “life may be endangered by Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahadeen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of Shariah and matters of strategy”.
  • Spokesman Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, aka Abu Mansur, was replaced by Sheikh Ali Muhammad Rage in May 2009.

Al-Shabaab encompasses a number of elements, ranging from those focused solely on the domestic insurgency in Somalia to elements that support al-Qa’ida’s global jihadist ideology. Estimates of al-Shabaab fighters vary from 3 000 to as high as 7 000, with most members being ethnic Somalis. Al-Shabaab has long recruited members from Kenya. However, a small number of al-Shabaab fighters are from other countries including the US and Canada.

Since the January 2009 Ethiopian withdrawal, al-Shabaab has established itself as the pre-eminent terrorist actor in Somalia and demonstrated its intent and capability to conduct terrorist attacks within and outside Somalia.

  • On 11 July 2010 al-Shabaab conducted a mass casualty coordinated suicide bomb attack in Uganda’s capital Kampala, killing 76 people.
  • On 4 October 2011 more than 100 civilians were killed when an al-Shabaab suicide bomber attacked a government building in Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab has continued its violent insurgency against TFG, Ethiopian and more recently, Kenyan forces inside Somalia and the border regions of Kenya. It has also carried out attacks against peacekeeping forces from Uganda and Burundi, who are in Somalia under the aegis of the AMISOM. The group’s senior leadership has said al-Shabaab will continue to fight foreign forces in Somalia, and the TFG. Although al-Shabaab suffered personnel and territorial losses to African Union (AU) mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in the first six months of 2011, the group continues to present an enduring threat to East Africa-and to AMISOM and the TFG in particular.

Al-Shabaab’s propaganda has also continued to develop, with the group’s media campaign increasing in sophistication, including starting a Twitter account and continuing to spread its message through Radio al-Analus.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts; and directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning terrorist acts

Al-Shabaab has prepared, planned and conducted frequent attacks since the beginning of 2007 against Ethiopian and TFG forces using mortar attacks, rocket-propelled grenades and firearms in these attacks. During 2007, elements of al-Shabaab adopted tactics used by Islamist militants in Afghanistan and Iraq including the employment of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), roadside bombs, suicide attacks and beheadings. Suicide-vehicle bombings in October 2008 in Hargeysa and Boosaaso, northern Somalia, were also widely attributed to al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab claims of attacks sometimes appear in internet statements in the name of the Young Mujahideen Movement in Somalia (YMMS), an al-Shabaab alias. There have been numerous statements claiming attacks including attempted assassinations of TFG officials, and against TFG security forces and Ethiopian forces in Mogadishu and surrounding areas.

Significant attacks for which responsibility has been claimed by or reliably attributed to al-Shabaab, include:

  • 29 October 2011: at least three AMISOM peacekeepers were killed and an unknown number of others wounded when two al-Shabaab suicide bombers, including a United States (US) national, detonated explosives at an AMISOM base in the Warshadaha Road area of Mogadishu.
  • 4 October 2011: more than 100 civilians were killed and dozens wounded when an al-Shabaab militant detonated a suicide VBIED targeting a building housing several government ministries in the K4 area of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Muhammad Rage subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack and stated: “We are promising that attacks against the enemy will be routine, more in number, and will increase day by day”.
  • 1 October 2011: French national Marie Dedieu, was kidnapped by suspected al-Shabaab militants from the island of Manda in Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago, near the Somalia border was and then taken to Somalia. In mid-October, French intelligence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials announced she had died in captivity in Somalia, likely due to illness.
  • 10 June 2011: TFG Minister of the Interior, Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan, was killed in Mogadishu when a female al-Shabaab suicide bomber detonated her explosive vest inside his residence.
  • 9 September 2010: at least 14 people-including at least five militants-were killed during a sophisticated multi-mode attack on Mogadishu airport utilising VBIEDs, suicide vests and small arms. Among the victims were four Somali police officers, two Ugandan peacekeepers, and three civilians. An al-Shabaab statement the following day claimed the attack had targeted a high-level meeting of UN, AU and Somali representatives.
  • 24 August 2010: two al-Shabaab suicide bombers dressed in army uniforms carried out a small-arms assault on the Muna Hotel near the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, before detonating their devices. A total of 31 people were reportedly killed, including six members of parliament and five TFG security personnel.
  • 11 July 2010: al-Shabaab carried out a co-ordinated twin suicide bomb attack in the Ugandan capital Kampala. A total of 76 people were killed when the devices were detonated at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant, both of which were crowded with people watching the FIFA World Cup final.
  • 2 January 2010: an al-Shabaab-linked individual attempted to kill Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard at his home in Denmark in retaliation to publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed. Westergaard was not hurt and the assailant was shot, wounded, and arrested.
  • 3 December 2009: an al-Shabaab suicide bomber killed 21 people-including four TFG ministers-in an attack on a medical school graduation ceremony being held at the Shamo Hotel in Mogadishu.
  • 17 September 2009: 21 people-including 17 AMISOM peacekeepers-were killed and 40 others injured when al-Shabaab militants detonated two SVBIEDs at the AMISOM headquarters in Mogadishu.The deputy commander of the base was among those killed and the base commander was injured.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

Al-Shabaab members have publicly advocated terrorist attacks in order to further the group’s objectives:

  • On 29 December 2011 an al-Shabaab spokesperson vowed that the terror group would launch retaliatory attacks in Kenya if authorities did not withdraw troops from Somalia. “Kenya has peace, its cities have tall buildings and business is flourishing there. If your government ignores our calls to stop its aggression on Somali soil, we will strike at the heart of your interests”.
  • On 16 November 2011 Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage warned “We are telling Kenya that they still have the opportunity to back away from the hellfire it was dragged into and leave our soil, otherwise they will continue suffering”.
  • Abdisalam Ali-an al-Shabaab suicide bomber-published a martyrdom video prior to killing himself on 29 October 2011 in Mogadishu stating “my brothers and sisters, do Jihad in America, do Jihad in Canada, do Jihad in England [and] anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia – anywhere you find kuffar [infidels]. Fight them and be firm against them”.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses al-Shabaab continues to directly and/or indirectly engage in conducting, preparing, planning, assisting, advocating or fostering the doing of terrorist acts involving threats to human life and serious damage to property. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, al-Shabaab is known to have committed or threatened action:

  • with the intention of advancing al-Shabaab’s political, religious or ideological causes;
  • that causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons or endanger a person’s life; and
  • with the intention of creating a serious risk to the safety of sections of the public globally.

Other relevant information

Links with other groups

Al-Shabaab primarily is linked to al-Qa’ida through leadership contacts and training. While al-Shabaab likely still largely operates independently, al-Qa’ida senior leadership previously has endorsed some al-Shabaab activities. On 9 February 2012 a public statement by al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu al-Zubair included a pledge of allegiance to al-Qa’ida and in a reciprocal message al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced that al-Shabaab had joined al-Qa’ida.

Links to Australia

In late 2011 al-Shabaab-linked Australian citizens Saney Edow Aweys and Nayef El Sayed were convicted of conspiring to plan a terrorist attack in Australia. Aweys was also convicted of aiding and abetting another person to engage in hostile activities in Somalia under s6 of the Commonwealth Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 in December 2010. Australian citizen Hussein Hashi Farah was also implicated in terrorist activity associated with al-Shabaab.

Level of participation in peace negotiations/political dialogue

Al-Shabaab does not participate in the Somali political system, despite AMISOM appeals to the group to lay down their arms and join the Somali peace process.

Other designations

The group was listed as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of the United States in March 2008, New Zealand in February 2010, Canada in March 2010, the United Kingdom in May 2010, and by the European Union in April 2010.

Al-Shabaab is also included in the DFAT Consolidated List that refers to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 and in the Consolidated List UN751(Somalia and Eritrea).

Ansar al-Islam

 

(Also known as: Ansar al-Islam Army, Ansar al-Sunna, Army of Ansar al-Islam, Devotees of Islam, Followers of Islam in Kurdistan, Jaish Ansar al-Islam, Jaish Ansar al-Sunna, Jund al-Islam, Kurdish Taliban, Kurdistan Supporters of Islam, Partisans of Islam, Protectors of Islam, Protectors of the Sunni Faith, Soldiers of Islam, Soldiers of God, Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan)

Listed 27 March 2003, re-listed 27 March 2005, 24 March 2007, 14 March 2009 and 9 March 2012.

The following paragraph is based on publicly available details about Ansar al-Islam (AAI).To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

AAI is a Sunni Islamist militant group that operates mainly in the Kurdish areas in the north-west region of Iraq. It originally emerged from several smaller Kurdish Sunni extremist groups active within the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. AAI was first proscribed on 27 March 2003, and was last re-listed as a proscribed group on 17 March 2009.

AAI was formed in 2001 when Abdallah al Shafi’I, leader of the Jund al Islam (Soldiers of Islam) group, merged his force with Mullah Krekar’s splinter faction of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. Mullah Krekar emerged as the spiritual leader of AAI while Abdullah al Shafi’I was appointed the military commander. Al Shafi’I was captured by Iraqi and United States (US) forces on 3 May 2010.

AAI is aligned ideologically with al-Qa’ida and aims to expel foreign forces from Iraq, minimise the influence of Iraq’s Shia and Kurdish populations and establish an Islamic caliphate administered under Sharia Law. Al Shafi’I trained at an al-Qa’ida training camp in Afghanistan and was said to have close ties to Usama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida. When captured by Iraqi and US forces on 3 May 2010, al Shafi’I also admitted to carrying out joint operations with al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI). AAI does not have the capability to overthrow the Iraqi Government. However, it continues to pose a significant threat to security, particularly in the north of the country.

Counter-terrorism operations against AAI and AQI eventually may force the groups to cooperate on a more regular basis in preparing for and conducting attacks to maintain their respective capabilities.

It is unknown who will take, or has taken, the place of al Shafi’I as military leader of AAI following his capture. For his part, as at August 2011 Mullah Krekar remains in Norway after having been deported there by the Netherlands in 2003. Krekar is not in custody in Norway and under Norwegian law he cannot be deported to Iraq as he would face prosecution, with the possibility of receiving the death penalty. Despite his remote location, Krekar remains a spiritual leader for AAI.

AAI’s area of operation and influence is predominately in the north-west of Iraq, including in Baghdad, and the provinces of al-Anbar, Salah ad-Din and Diyala. AAI also maintains a presence in Mosul and Kirkuk and these cities are used as staging grounds for attacks against Kurdish interests in Arbil and Sulaymaniyah. Arrests and weapons seizures made throughout 2009 and 2010 against AAI have eroded its overall capability to conduct attacks in Iraq. Nevertheless, it is still capable of conducting attacks against foreign forces, Iraqi security forces and Kurdish targets.

AAI is predominately comprised of Iraqis, some of whom are former intelligence and security personnel. However, AAI’s ranks also include a number of Sunni Arab foreign fighters—predominately Yemenis and Saudis.

Locally, AAI receives funds from donations from local sheikhs and former Ba’athist officials and conducts criminal acts to raise funds. AAI also receives donations from the Iraqi diaspora around the world, particularly in Jordan, Turkey and Europe and from AAI associates in Syria. It also is possible that AAI receives monetary support from al-Qa’ida and al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) given the links between its leadership and these groups. Some reporting also indicates that AAI receives support from Iran via the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

AAI plans and conducts attacks against foreign forces, Shia, Kurdish and Iraqi government interests. AAI’s attacks most commonly target US and Iraqi security forces using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Indirect Fire (IDF) attacks.

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

Below is a list of attacks for which AAI has indicated responsibility by posting a video or media statement since AAI’s last re-listing in 2009. Except where noted, the dates of these attacks and the veracity of AAI’s claims are unknown. However, AAI is believed to be behind attacks that occur against US and Iraqi troops in the group’s area of operation:

  • 12 July 2011: AAI claimed responsibility for a car bombing that killed two Iraqi government officials in Baghdad on 17 June 2011.
  • 14 May 2011: AAI’s media unit released a video showcasing a number of the group’s recent attacks against Iraqi security forces, referring to them as “agents of the United States in its ‘proxy war’ on Iraq”.
  • 11 April 2011: AAI claimed responsibility for the 22 March 2011assassination of an Iraqi Army officer in a car bomb attack in Baghdad.
  • 28 March 2011: AAI released a video of two fighters recounting events from a clash with American soldiers in Kirkuk province.
  • 8 December 2010: AAI released a video showing the group’s fighters launching an ambush on Iraqi forces in Samarra.
  • 30 November 2010: AAI released a video showing the group’s fighters firing a mortar shell at a US military base in Samarra.
  • 23 November 2010: AAI released a video showing an IED attack against a US vehicle.
  • 10 November 2010: AAI released a video showing an IED attack against a US vehicle in Mosul.
  • 20 October 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack against an Iraqi Army vehicle in Mosul.
  • 14 October 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military patrol.
  • 30 July 2010: AAI released a video of a mortar strike on al-Bakr Airbase.
  • 26 July 2010: AAI released a video claiming damage to an Iraqi troop carrier in Mosul’.
  • 12 June 2010: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US base in Kirkuk.
  • 3 June 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack against an Iraqi military vehicle in Mosul. AAI claimed this attack killed Iraqi military personnel.
  • 18 May 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US vehicle in Mosul.
  • 9 May 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack against an Iraqi police vehicle in Mosul.
  • 28 April 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Kirkuk.
  • 4 April 2010: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US military base in Kirkuk.
  • 18 March 2010: AAI released a video of an attack against an Iraqi troop transport vehicle in Mosul. AAI claimed this attack caused deaths and injuries of Iraqi soldiers.
  • 12 March 2010: AAI released a video of a rocket attack against a US military vehicle in Diyala province.
  • 3 March 2010: AAI released a video of an attack against a US military vehicle in Tikrit which AAI claims killed US soldiers.
  • 14 February 2010: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US military base in Balad.
  • 11 February 2010: AAI released a video showing a raid on Iraqi soldiers in Kirkuk. An unknown number of Iraqi soldiers were killed and injured in this attack
  • 5 February 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Mosul.
  • 25 January 2010: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against an Iraqi military facility in Samarra.
  • 11 January 2010: AAI released a video of an IED attack on an Iraqi police vehicle in Anbar province.
  • 3 September 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US base in Baghdad.
  • 28 August 2009: AAI released a video of a thermal grenade attack against a US military vehicle in Mosul.
  • 7 August 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US military base in Baghdad.
  • 1 August 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US base in Yusifiyah.
  • 25 July 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Tikrit.
  • 20 July 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against US military barracks in Kirkuk.
  • 12 July 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Tikrit. AAI claimed that all of the occupants of the vehicle were killed or injured.
  • 6 July 2009: AAI released a video of a bombing against a US patrol in Kirkuk province which possibly took place on 21 May 2009. AAI reported two US soldiers were killed and one injured in this attack.
  • 27 June 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Huweija.
  • 29 June 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Tikrit.
  • 20 June 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Diyala province. AAI reported all military personnel in the vehicle were killed in this attack.
  • 14 June 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US military base in Mosul.
  • 9 June 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Salah ad-Din province.
  • 3 June 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against US military vehicles in an area south of Baghdad.
  • 27 May 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Huweija.
  • 20 May 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against an Iraqi National Guard vehicle in Diyala.
  • 17 May 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Mosul.
  • 5 May 2009: AAI released a video of a guided rocket attack against a US military vehicle in Huweija. AAI claimed the US military personnel onboard were killed and injured in this attack.
  • 23–26 April 2009: AAI released four videos claiming attacks against a US airbase with rockets and against US military patrols using ambush, IEDs and a minesweeper in the Mosul area between 4 and 18 April 2009. AAI indicated a number of US military personnel were killed in the attacks.
  • 18 April 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Baghdad.
  • 12 April 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Fallujah.
  • 8 April 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US military base west of Baghdad.
  • 3 March 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Huweija. AAI said this attack took place in a large market;
  • 24 February 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against an Iraqi security force vehicle in Diyala.
  • 23 February 2009: AAI claimed responsibility for an attack on a US aircraft in Ninawa province.
  • 17 February 2009: AAI claimed responsibility for an attack on a security officer working for the Kurdish Intelligence Agency, Asayesh, with a sticking bomb placed on the officer’s vehicle.
  • 11 February 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against a US military base in Yusufiyah.
  • 7 February 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against an Iraqi National Guard vehicle in Kirkuk. AAI indicated in the video that this attack caused an unknown number of deaths and casualties.
  • 22 January 2009: AAI released a video of an IED attack against a US military vehicle in Salah ad-Din province.
  • 3 January 2009: AAI released a video of an IDF attack against ‘enemy barracks’ in Kirkuk. AAI indicated that the ‘enemy’ suffered casualties in this attack.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

AAI has released a number of statements that advocate violent jihad and encourage Muslims to participate:

  • 2 August 2011: AAI released a statement for the holy month of Ramadan rallying its fighters for jihad, saying Sunnis must show ‘one’s faith and get closer to Allah with the sword and the blood’.
  • 11 April 2011: AAI released a statement congratulating the al-Qa’ida affiliated Sunni umbrella group, Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), for the 29 March 2011 raid on the Tikrit provincial council building. The statement praises the ISI attackers, asserting ‘legitimate vengeance is one of the greatest ways to get closer to Allah’ and predicting that ‘this style of fighting will have great achievement in the near future’.
  • 7 January 2011: AAI released a statement threatening the Arab Summit that was scheduled to be held in Baghdad in March 2011. The AAI leadership called upon all jihadist factions in Iraq to strike those who give legitimacy to the Iraqi government, and declared, ‘every Arab political or commercial title in Iraq is considered to be a military target for the mujahideen’.
  • 14 November 2010: AAI released a statement rallying fighters, scholars and Muslims in general for jihad. AAI urged every Muslim to ’embrace the call to fight’ and instructed its fighters to wage a ‘war of attrition’ by implementing ‘constant distracting and focused attacks’ against the enemy.
  • 20 October 2010: AAI released a 16-page document assuring fighters of inevitable victory in Afghanistan, Iraq and other battlefields.
  • 19 August 2010: The Military Council of AAI released a statement for the holy month of Ramadan rallying its fighters for jihad. The group instructed its fighters to escalate their calls for jihad, to intensify guerrilla warfare and ‘exhaust’ remaining military and paramilitary forces allied with the US.
  • 22 June 2010: AAI released a media statement that denounced recent arrests of Muslims in Kurdistan and threatened violence against ‘the Kurdish secularists’ should all those detained not be released and ‘unjust campaigns and media slander against Muslims’ and preachers not be stopped.
  • 21 March 2010: AAI released a video on the seventh anniversary of the war in Iraq, claiming that Britain masterminded the war to provide for Israel’s security in the region and that Britain implicated the US in the war. Anti British and US rhetoric is a feature of this video and AAI reaffirmed its desire to establish an Islamic state, through violence if necessary.
  • 3 January 2010: AAI released a statement that urged the Sunni population of Samarra not to sell their land, particularly to non-Sunnis, and expressed AAI’s belief that Samarra land may be ‘swallowed by its Shia neighbours if it does not resist its advances’. AAI indicated in this statement that all ‘individuals who are loyalists to the subordinated and act as facilitators for them and their actions, and who penetrated the city of Samarra’ are easy targets for AAI.
  • 30 November 2009: AAI released a statement that encouraged Muslims to commit to violent jihad as a religious duty.
  • 27 November 2009: Al-Shafi’I released a media statement addressed to scholars and the general Sunni Muslim population of Samarra that said the US policy on the Middle East ‘will not bring any agent of change that is authentic and effective, one that can be counted on even by governments that have been set up on Muslims in the region’. Al-Shafi’I renewed AAI’s commitments and urged other groups and scholars to commit to jihad and the pursuit of Islamic dominance.
  • 21 November 2009: AAI released a media statement that urged the mujahideen to aim their attacks against ‘the enemy’ and not fight one another.
  • 14 November 2009: AAI released a 16-page document critical of the democratic processes in Iraq and discouraged Iraqis against promoting and working in electoral campaigns and participating in the elections, arguing that such is a form of ‘supporting the enemy’.
  • 27 October 2009: AAI released a eulogy for Baitullah Mehsud, former leader of Tehrik-i-Talibani Pakistan. In this eulogy, AAI encouraged the Mujahedeen to continue their fight despite the death of their leader.
  • 20 September 2009: AAI released a media statement that urged extremists to ‘hold steadfast to their principles and to jihad and to demonstrate that their generation is not stagnant, but moving in accordance with Sharia’.
  • 21 August 2009: AAI released a video of an operation against US forces in Diyala, calling it a ‘Ramadan gift’.

Conclusion

ASIO assesses AAI continues to directly and indirectly engage in preparing, planning, assisting in, advocating and fostering the doing of acts involving threats to human life and serious damage to property. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources, as well as by terrorist acts conducted by AAI.

In the course of pursuing its objectives in Iraq, AAI is known to have committed or threatened action:

  • with the intention of advancing AAI’s political, religious or ideological causes;
  • that causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons or endanger a person’s life; and
  • with the intention of creating a serious risk to the safety of sections of the public globally.

Other relevant information

Since January 2009 AAI has exhibited links to, expressed support for, or received verbal support from al-Qa’ida Senior Leadership (AQSL), AQI, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Tehrik-e-Taliban.

  • AAI is reported to have cooperated with AQI, and AAI’s leadership has links to AQSL. On 27 October 2009, AQSL figure Abu Yahya al-Libi appeared in an al Qa’ida media statement and recommended that the Islamic State of Iraq and AAI unite and make concessions to each other for that purpose. Following the deaths of Abu-Umar al-Baghdadi and Abu-Hamzah al-Muhajir, the respective Leader and Deputy Leader of the ISI, AAI released a statement of condolences for their deaths, ideologically supported the ISI, and encouraged AAI to follow their lead. Libi again called for unity between AQI and AAI in a video statement released on 15 June 2010. On 28 April 2009 AQIM expressed condolences for the deaths of ISI leaders and urged AAI to unite with the ISI as ‘the best move with which you can infuriate the enemies of the faith’. On 16 June 2010, AAI released a statement that offered condolences for the death of al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan general head Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid and reaffirmed its commitment to violent jihad.

AAI is listed on the United Nations 1267 Committee’s consolidated list and as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of the US, UK, New Zealand and Canada.

Boko Haram

 

(Also known as: Western Education is Forbidden; Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad; People Committed to the Propogation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad;Jama’atu ahlu- Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad; Group of the Followers of the Prophet for Propogation and Holy Struggle; Nigerian Mujahideen; Nigerian Taliban; Yusuffiya movement; Yusuffiya sect.)

Listed in Australia 26 June 2014.

The following information is based on publicly available details about Boko Haram. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Objectives

Boko Haram’s principal objective is the establishment of an Islamic state under Sharia law in Nigeria.  Its secondary goal is the wider imposition of Islamic rule beyond Nigeria.

Background

Boko Haram was initially formed as a non-violent religious movement in 1995.  It was made up of small bands of mainly young, middle‑class Nigerians in the northern Muslim-dominated states of Nigeria under the leadership of Abubakar Lawan. Lawan later went to Medina, Saudi Arabia to undertake further study and appeared to have no further contact with the group.

In 2003, the Boko Haram Shura Council of leaders appointed Mohammed Yusuf as leader. He established a mosque and school in Maiduguri City, and the complex functioned as a recruitment centre.  Boko Haram began violent activities in December 2003, initiating unrest in northern Nigeria that prompted an extensive security force response.  Yusuf was captured by police in late July 2009 and died in police custody.

In August 2009, Sanni Umaru announced his leadership of the group.  No attacks were reported to have occurred until a change of leadership in 2010.

In July 2010, Imam Abubakar bin Mohammed alias Abubakar Shekau declared himself as the new leader.  Since that time, the group has adopted a much more active and violent approach to advance its goals, undertaking frequent attacks of increasing complexity and effectiveness.

The group is based in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State in north‑east Nigeria. It has established local nodes with individual operational commanders in order to facilitate operations in other states of Nigeria.

Boko Haram members have also settled in Niger with a view to recruiting new members and promoting violence within Niger.  There are also Boko Haram sleeper cells in Chad and Cameroon, illustrating the group’s desire to impose Sharia law beyond Nigeria.

The group conducted its first attack against foreign interests in Nigeria on 26 August 2011 when it detonated a vehicle bomb against the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, killing at least 23 people. Since then, Boko Haram has continued to target foreign interests in Nigeria and neighboring countries.

Boko Haram elements received training, support, finance as well as weaponry from north western Africa terrorist group Al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Boko Haram supported the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and furthermore, has been linked to the eastern Africa terrorist group al-Shabaab.

In May 2013, responding to Boko Haram’s increasing presence and aggression over northeastern Nigeria, the Nigerian Government launched a major military campaign to purge Boko Haram from this region. Despite the ongoing military campaign, Boko Haram continues to conduct major attacks in the region– predominantly armed assaults against civilian and military targets.

Leadership and membership

Little is known of the characteristics of Boko Haram membership. The number of members has varied over time ranging between the high hundreds to several thousand, some in Boko Haram strongholds, others dispersed throughout northeast Nigeria and across the borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Since the increased pressure from Nigerian military campaign in late 2013, Boko Haram has relied on force to conscript locals to its membership.

While the official leader of Boko Haram is Abubakar Shekau, it is unclear whether any individual has overall control of the entire group. There are indications the group has split into several factions led by individual senior commanders undertaking attacks under the banner of Boko Haram. There also may be divisions along ethnic lines and between those favouring dialogue with the Nigerian Government and those wanting to align more closely with al-Qa’ida and its affiliate groups such as AQIM. The factions share the aspiration to see Nigeria become an Islamic state, but are divided over the means by which to achieve this goal.

There have been conflicting reports of Shekau’s death, but no official confirmation. Boko Haram has released videos of an individual claiming to be Shekau refuting reports of his death.

On 1 February 2012, a splinter group announced it had separated from Boko Haram to form a new group, Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan—or simply Ansaru. This split occurred because of dissatisfaction with the nature of current militant operations by Boko Haram that include attacks against Muslims. This Statement of Reasons does not include any activities undertaken by Ansaru.

Funding

In addition to receiving funding from AQIM, Boko Haram’s funding activities include robbery of banks and community assets, and more recently, conducting kidnap-for-ransom operations against locals and foreigners.

There have been allegations that Boko Haram also received funding from members of the Nigerian elite in exchange for avoiding attacks, or directing attacks against opposition interests.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

Boko Haram has conducted numerous attacks against Nigerian and foreign interests mostly in Nigeria but also in neighboring countries.  Its tactics include suicide bomb attacks, remotely detonated bombings, and small arms assaults—targeting civilian, military, police and government interests. More recently, it has been involved in kidnapping operations, both in Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon.

Major recent terrorist attacks and activities for which Boko Haram has claimed responsibility or which are reliably attributed to Boko Haram include:

  • 5 May 2014: Boko Haram attacked the town of Gamboru Ngala and reportedly killed 300 civilians.
  • 14 April 2014: Boko Haram attacked a bus interchange on the outskirts of Abuja, killing 75 people. On 1 May a second explosion occurred at the same location.
  • 14 April 2014: Suspected Boko Haram members kidnapped more than 200 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State.
  • 1 March 2014: Suspected Boko Haram members conducted twin explosion attacks in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, killing at least 50 people, most of them children.
  • 26 February 2014: Suspected Boko Haram members conducted three simultaneous attacks throughout Adamawa State, Nigeria. The first killed eight people in Kirchinga Village. The second killed 20 people including schoolchildren in the Shuwa village. The third killed more than four people and destroyed more than 100 shops in the village of Michika.
  • 19 February 2014: Boko Haram attacked the town of Bama, Borno State, Nigeria, killing 115 people.
  • 15 February 2014: Boko Haram attacked the village of Izge in Borno State, Nigeria, killing at least 106 people.
  • 11 February 2014: Suspected Boko Haram members killed 51 people in an attack in Borno State, Nigeria, and abducted 25 school girls.
  • 26 January 2014: suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 85 people in Kawuri Village, Borno State, Nigeria and set hundreds of houses ablaze.
  • 14 January 2014: a Boko Haram suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) killed at least 43 civilians at a busy market in Maiduguri.
  • 20 December 2013: Boko Haram launched an attack on Nigerian military barracks using small arms, explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). An unknown number of people were killed.
  • 15 November 2013: a French priest was kidnapped in northern Cameroon by Boko Haram. He was released on 31 December 2013.
  • 17 September 2013: Boko Haram killed at least 140 civilians, including women and children, in an attack at Benisheikh City, Borno State.
  • 6 July 2013: a Boko Haram attack on a school in Yobe State killed 42 people, mostly children.
  • 7 May 2013: a coordinated attack in Bama, Borno State on a police station and prison by Boko Haram members killed 55 and led to the escape of 105 prisoners.
  • 19 February 2013: Boko Haram kidnapped seven French nationals in far northern Cameroon. The hostages were later released, probably following a ransom payment.
  • 17 June 2012: Boko Haram attacked three separate churches in Kaduna State, killing at least 50 people and wounding over 150 others.
  • 3 May 2012: a Boko Haram attack on a police station in Banki, near the border of Cameroon, and a prison in Kumshe, Borno State, resulted in the killing of two prison wardens and the escape of an unknown number of inmates.
  • 26 April 2012: Boko Haram detonated vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) at the Abuja and Kaduna offices of Nigerian newspaper This Day, killing seven people.
  • 16 February 2012: an attack on a prison in the town of Koton Karfe in Kogi State killed a prison guard and allowed 120 prisoners to escape. Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa later claimed responsibility.
  • 27 January 2012: a German engineer was kidnapped from Kano State and later killed. Boko Haram is suspected of involvement.
  • In 2 January 2012, Boko Haram issued an ultimatum demanding Christian communities leave northern Nigeria. Between 5 and 7 January 2012, more than 64 Christian civilians were killed in nine armed attacks targeting churches and areas populated by the ethnic Igbo Christian community in Gombe, Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States.
  • 25 December 2011: militants killed as many as 50 people, including security force personnel, in several suicide explosive, incendiary, and small arms attacks in Yobe, Niger, and Plateau states.  The majority of the attacks targeted Christian civilians celebrating Christmas.
  • 4 November 2011: a series of attacks using SVBIEDs, IEDs and small arms targeting government and military sites, police stations, banks, churches and a mosque that killed over 150 people.  Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa later claimed responsibility.
  • 26 August 2011: at least 23 people, including 15 United Nations (UN) personnel, were killed and 60 others were wounded in an SVBIED attack targeting the UN offices in the capital Abuja.  Responsibility for the attack subsequently was claimed by Boko Haram.
  • 16 June 2011: an SVBIED attack in the car park of the national police headquarters in the capital Abuja killed a traffic police officer and the bomber.  This is the first reported suicide bombing to take place in Nigeria.  On the same day, suspected Boko Haram militants detonated an IED near a church in the town of Damboa in Borno State, killing four civilians.
  • 7 June 2011: a series of operations in Maiduguri, Borno State, killed at least 10 people.  On the same day, Boko Haram militants shot dead a prominent Wahhabi cleric, identified as Ibrahim Birkuti, in Biu, Borno State.
  • 12 May 2011: a Briton and an Italian citizen were kidnapped in Kebbi State.  Both were killed on 8 March 2012 by AQIM-aligned members of Boko Haram during a failed rescue attempt by the Nigerian Security Service.
  • 28 January 2011: suspected Boko Haram gunmen shot dead Alhaji Modu Fannami Gubio, the All Nigeria People’s Party gubernatorial candidate in Borno State, along with six other civilians in Maiduguri.  The brother of the Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff was also killed in the attack.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

Boko Haram has advocated the doing of terrorist acts, including:

  • Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has stated publicly that Boko Haram continued to plan and prepare future terrorist attacks. Media releases by the group on 19 February 2014 threaten world leaders and claim Boko Haram continues to target Western interests.
  • Boko Haram has released videos showing Shekau claiming Boko Haram will continue to kill those who stand against the will of Allah.
  • Throughout 2013 and in early 2014, Shekau appeared in videos claiming responsibility for attacks in Nigeria, and threatening future attacks.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses Boko Haram is directly and indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts and advocates the doing of terrorist acts involving threats to human life and serious damage to property.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, Boko Haram is known to have engaged in acts that:

  • cause, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons, endanger a person’s life or create a serious risk to a person’s safety;
  • are intended to have those effects, or create a serious risk to the safety of the public or a section of the public of Nigeria;
  • are done with the intention of advancing Boko Haram’s political, religious or ideological causes; and
  • are intended to coerce or intimidate the government of a foreign country and sections of the public globally.

This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable intelligence sources.

Other relevant information

Links to other terrorist groups or networks

Boko Haram has links with AQIM, including:

  • On 14 June 2010, the leader of AQIM, Abdelmalek el-Droukdal, was reported in the press as stating that his group would provide Boko Haram with support and weapons to build strategic depth in Africa.
  • On 23 February 2012, Nigeria’s military chief publicly stated Boko Haram had ties to AQIM, and received support and training from AQIM.
  • Media reporting indicates Nigerians associated with Boko Haram had a presence at AQIM training camps in the Sahel and that some had received training from the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabaab.

Engagement in peace/mediation process

One faction of Boko Haram is reported to favour peace talks with the Nigerian Government and has nominated representatives to enter into a dialogue with the government.  However, negotiation in 2011for a Boko Haram cease fire failed as Boko Haram’s demands—an end to the arrest and killing of its members, payment of compensation to families of members killed, and prosecution of policemen responsible for the death of the groups former leader Mohammed Yusuf—were never met. In March 2012, attempts at discussions collapsed when a Boko Haram spokesperson stated it has ‘closed all possible doors of negotiation’.

The Nigerian government established an Amnesty Committee in April 2013 to assist in direct negotiation with Boko Haram. The committee has made contact with members of Boko Haram willing to engage in dialogue; however, Shekau has repeatedly publically denied taking part in any talks.

There has been no official announcement by either the Nigerian government or Boko Haram of a peace agreement.

Links to Australia

There are no known links between Boko Haram and Australia.

Boko Haram has not made statements specifically threatening Australians or Australian interests. However, Boko Haram has issued statements threatening Westerners and Western interests in general.

Proscription by the UN and other countries

On 4 June 2013, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan approved the proscription of Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation under Nigerian law. This was followed by the United Kingdom in mid 2013. On 13 November 2013, the United States of America listed Boko Haram as a proscribed terrorist organisation and on 24 December 2013, Canada listed Boko Haram as a current terrorist entity. New Zealand designated Boko Haram as a terrorist entity on 1 April 2014.  The United Nations Security Council listed Boko Haram as an entity subject to sanctions under resolution 1267 on 22 May 2014.

 Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades


(Also known as: Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, and Izz al-Din Al-Qassem Brigades)

Listed 9 November 2003, re-listed 5 June 2005, 7 October 2005, 10 September 2007, 8 September 2009 and 18 August 2012.

The following information is based on publicly available details about Hamas’s Izz al‑Din al‑Qassam Brigades. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Hamas is a militant Sunni Islamist organisation and political party founded in 1987 in the Palestinian Territories during the first Intifada uprising. Hamas began as a branch of, and retains an ideological affinity with, the Muslim Brotherhood. Like its parent, Hamas is a multifaceted, well organised and relatively moderate organisation renowned for its extensive social service networks in the Palestinian Territories. Since winning a majority of seats in the Palestinian general legislative elections in 2006, and gaining control of Gaza by force in 2007, Hamas has been responsible for the administration and provision of government services including health, education and security to Gaza’s inhabitants.

The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades were officially established in 1991 to provide Hamas with a military capability. Originally, the Brigades were organized secretively, comprising compartmentalized cells that specialized in terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings inside Israel. Since Hamas gained control of Gaza in 2007 and took up a governing role, the Brigades have been forced to develop, at least partially, into a more traditional military force. The Brigades operate predominantly in Gaza, with limited representation in the West Bank.

Objectives

As Hamas’s military wing, the Brigades’ objectives are subordinate to Hamas’s broad political goals. Their essential aim is the unification of Israel and the Palestinian Territories under Islamic rule – a goal which entails the destruction of Israel as a political entity. Due to the disparity between Israel and Hamas’s respective military resources, the Brigades have adopted terrorist tactics in their bid to defeat Israel. Most famously, they adopted the use of suicide bombings, describing them as the “F-16” of the Palestinian people.

The Brigades have never demonstrated any intent to conduct attacks outside of Israel and the Palestinian Territories or to target interests of countries other than Israel.

Leadership and membership

The size of the Brigades is difficult to determine. International Crisis Group in 2009 described its estimated strength as 7000 – 10 000 full time members, with around 20 000 reserves. The proportion of members assigned to more standard military and security duties, and those assigned to planning terrorist attacks is not known.

Despite being Hamas’s military wing and subordinate to Hamas’s ideological objectives, the Brigades are structured as a distinct and discrete organisation which can survive the dissolution of Hamas’s political structures. Accordingly, the Brigades operate with a significant degree of independence in their decision making.

The leader of the Brigades is Mohammed Deif, who has held the position since 2002.

The Brigades maintain their own website, including an English language version, which publicizes their aims and activities. It is used to claim responsibility for terrorist attacks and to announce the deaths of its members as a result of Israeli airstrikes.

Hamas’s funding comes from a range of both official and private sources. Saudi Arabia and Iran have traditionally been the largest sources of financial aid. Hamas collects taxes within Gaza and has limited access to Palestinian Authority funds. The amount of money earmarked specifically for the Brigades is difficult to ascertain.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts / Directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning terrorist acts

Since their first suicide bombing in 1993, the Brigades are reported to have killed more than 500 people in more than 350 separate terrorist attacks. Since 2005, however, the majority of the terrorist activity conducted by the Brigades has consisted of small-arms fire and rocket and mortar fire directed at Israeli military assets and communities in the vicinity of Gaza. These attacks, sometimes indiscriminate in nature, have caused significant property damage as well as deaths and injuries to military personnel and civilians.  Recent terrorist attacks for which responsibility has been claimed by, or is reliably attributed to, the Brigades have included:

  • 7 April 2011:  an anti-tank missile struck a school bus near the Gaza strip, destroying the bus and resulting in the death of an Israeli teenager. The Brigades took responsibility for the attack, although they claimed they had not intended to target Israeli schoolchildren, and had mistaken the bus for one carrying Israeli military personnel.
  • 1 September 2010:  a group of Brigades members wounded two Israeli settlers near Ramallah. A subsequent statement by the Brigades threatened a wave of attacks against Israelis.
  • 31 August 2010: four Israeli settlers were shot dead by the same members of the Brigades near the West Bank city of Hebron.

Directly or indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts

The Brigades control supply lines to Iran, where it sends fighters for military training. These same supply lines are used by Palestinian Islamic Jihad for procurement and training. With this arrangement the Brigades are indirectly assisting Palestinian Islamic Jihad in committing terrorist acts.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses Hamas’s Izz al-Din al‑Qassam Brigades continue to directly and/or indirectly engage in, prepare, plan, assist, advocate or foster the doing of terrorist acts involving threats to life and serious property damage. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.
In the course of pursuing its objectives Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are known to have committed or threatened action:

  • that causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons or endanger a person’s life; and
  • with the intention of advancing Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-qassam Brigades’ political, religious or ideological causes; and
  • with the intention of intimidating the public and sections of the public.

Other relevant information

Links to Australia

There are no known links to Australia.

Level of participation in peace negotiations

There are no current peace negotiations being conducted including the Brigades.

Other designations

Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (the Brigades) are proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand.  Hamas (including the Brigades) has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the governments of the United Statesand Canada. Hamas is also listed by the European Union for the purposes of its anti-terrorism financing measures.

Hamas is also included in the DFAT Consolidated List that refers to United Nationals Council Resolution 1373 in relation to countering financing of terrorism.

Hizballah’s External Security Organisation (ESO)


(Also known as: Foreign Action Unit; Hizballah ESO; Hizballah International; Islamic Jihad Organisation; Revolutionary Justice Organisation; and Special Operations Branch)

Listed 5 June 2003, re-listed 5 June 2005, 25 May 2007, 16 May 2009 and 10 May 2012.

The following information is based on publicly available details about the ESO. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

The Hizballah context

Hizballah is a pragmatic political organisation with deep roots in Lebanese society. Founded in 1982 with Iranian assistance during the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, Hizballah evolved into a multi-faceted organisation including political, social and military components supported by Iran and Syria.

Within Lebanon, Hizballah represents the Lebanese Shia community, the country’s largest sect, and maintains a social welfare network that encompasses education and health services. Currently, it has two ministerial portfolios and constitutes an integral part of the ruling March 8 coalition.

As a fully-fledged political organisation, Hizballah engages with numerous international organisations and governments. For example, Hizballah liaises with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the context of the management of the cease-fire in southern Lebanon.

Hizballah also maintains a highly capable and well-resourced militia structured ostensibly to resist Israeli aggression, but also to defend and promote Shia interests in the context of Lebanon’s historical and ongoing sectarian divisions. In 2006 it fought against the Israeli Defence Force and since then has been arming itself in preparation for future conflict. Hizballah receives training, funding and military equipment from Iran and Syria and is a highly sophisticated military actor.

The ESO objectives

The External Security Organisation is a discrete branch within Lebanese Hizballah responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of terrorist attacks against Hizballah’s enemies outside of Lebanon. Since entering the Lebanese Parliament in 1992 and the Government in 1995, Hizballah has sought to strengthen its public image as a respected resistance movement and lessen its reputation as a terrorist group. This has seen the ESO operate independently of the parent body and become one of the best organised terrorist groups in the world.

The ESO was set up by Imad Mughniyah, who has been described variously as the head of Hizballah’s security section, a senior intelligence official and as one of the founders of Hizballah. After Imad Mughniyah fled to Iran following Hizballah’s 1983 attack on the US military in Beirut, the ‘international wing’ grew out of the military wing to become a separate branch under Mughniyah’s control. This is thought to be the genesis of Hizballah’s ‘international wing’, or the ESO.

The ESO was led by Mughniyah until his assassination in Damascus in 2008. There have been no major acts of terrorism specifically attributed to the ESO since 1994. Nevertheless, Hizballah has vowed to retaliate against Israel for Israel’s perceived role in Mughniyah’s assassination. The ESO is likely to be responsible for planning future terrorist attacks against Israeli interests to this end.

Leadership and membership

Little is known about the current structure or membership of the ESO. It remains a covert and highly secretive organisation that has been successful in restricting information about its organisational structure and membership. Its current leader is Talal Hamiyah.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

Neither Hizballah nor the ESO have publically admitted responsibility for any terrorist attacks outside Lebanon. Nevertheless, the ESO is widely considered responsible for at least two major attacks against Israeli/Jewish interests outside of Lebanon in the early 1990s: the attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, and the attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AIMA) in Buenos Aires in 1994.

  • On 17 March 1992, a truck laden with explosives was used to destroy the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aries, Argentina. 29 people were killed, and 242 injured. Although Hizballah denied involvement, responsibility for the attack was claimed in the name of the Islamic Jihad Organisation, which cited its motive as revenge for Israel’s assassination of Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi in February of that year. The Islamic Jihad Organisation is widely considered to be synonymous with the ESO. Argentinean authorities eventually issued an arrest warrant for then ESO leader Mughniyah for organising the attack.
  • On 18 July 1994, a van carrying explosives was detonated outside the AIMA, killing 85 people and injuring more than 300. In 1999, Argentine authorities issued an arrest warrant for Mughniyah for his alleged involvement. No group claimed responsibility for the attack and Hizballah has repeatedly denied accusations that it conducted the attack. However, the Argentinean authorities concluded that ESO was responsible.

Directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning terrorist acts

In January 2012 Thai authorities announced the arrest in Bangkok of an individual allegedly linked to Hizballah and in possession of explosive precursors. The individual denied being connected to Hizballah and it remains uncertain whether the explosive materials were intended for use in Thailand or for shipment elsewhere. Nonetheless, any Hizballah connection almost certainly would be through the ESO and points to ESO’s on-going interest in, and preparations for, terrorist activities outside Lebanon.

In addition, in 2008 alleged ESO operative Ali Karaki was arrested in Baku, Azerbaijan, and charged with plotting to bomb the Israeli Embassy.

Directly or indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts

Hizballah elements provide training, operational support and material to Palestinian extremist groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and HAMAS’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, both of which are proscribed entities, and Shia militia elements in Iraq. Although these activities are undertaken by units within Hizballah specifically created for these tasks, elements of the ESO are likely involved.

Conclusion

Due to the secretive nature of the ESO, it is difficult to gather detailed information about the group’s role and activities. However, there is no indication that the ESO’s role has changed in recent times, and considering Hizballah’s stated desire to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyah, and the recent arrest of a probable Hizballah operative in Bangkok, it is likely that the ESO retains its separate terrorist function within Hizballah’s overall organisational structure.

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses the ESO continues to directly and/or indirectly engage in conducting, preparing, planning, assisting, advocating or fostering the doing of terrorist acts, involving threats to life and serious property damage. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.

In the course of pursuing its objectives the ESO is known to have committed or threatened action:

  • that causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons or endanger a person’s life;
  • with the intention of advancing Hizballah’s political, religious or ideological causes; and
  • with the intention of intimidating the global public and sections of the global public.

Other relevant information

The United Kingdom and New Zealand have listed Hizballah’s ESO as a terrorist organisation under ‘Hizballah’s Military Wing’. Hizballah as a whole (including ESO) has been listed as a terrorist organisation by the governments of the United States and Canada.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan


(Also known as: IMU, Islamic Party of Turkestan, Islamic Movement of Turkestan)

Listed 11 April 2003, re-listed 11 April 2005, 31 March 2007, 14 March 2009 and 9 March 2012.

The following information is based on publicly available details about the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Objectives

The origins of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) date from the early 1990s, when Juma Namangani, a former Soviet Army soldier who fought in Afghanistan joined forces with Tahir Yuldashav (variant Yuldosh), an unofficial mullah and head of the Adolat (Justice) Party, with the aim to implement Sharia law in the city of Namangan in Uzbekistan’s part of the Ferghana Valley.

Alarmed by Adolat’s demands to transform Uzbekistan into an Islamist state, the government banned the Adolat Party in March 1992. A period of repression followed, forcing many Islamic militants to flee the Ferghana Valley. Namangani fled to Tajikistan, where he participated in the Tajik Civil War and established a base for his fighters in that country. Yuldashev travelled to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, establishing links to other Islamic militants. He also made clandestine trips to Uzbekistan, maintaining contact with his supporters and setting up underground cells. By the late 1990s, the IMU was officially formed.

The IMU’s stated goal, as posted on the internet in August 1999, is the ‘establishment of an Islamic state with the application of the Shariah’ in Uzbekistan.

The IMU expanded its territorial focus to encompass an area stretching from the Caucasus to China’s western province of Xinjiang, under the new banners of the Islamic Party of Turkestan in April 2001 and the Islamic Movement of Turkestan in May 2001. Despite the name changes, the group’s name continues to be reported as the IMU, and it is listed under this name by the US Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism as a foreign terrorist organisation.

By the end of the 1990s, the IMU had relocated to Afghanistan, due to the lack of support for the movement in Uzbekistan and the measures taken against it by the Uzbek government.

Leadership

The former chief and co-founder of the IMU, Tahir Yuldashev, was killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan, Pakistan, on 27 August 2009. Yuldashev’s death was confirmed by the IMU in August 2010. The new IMU leader, Usmon Odil, is a long time associate of Yuldashev and was named as successor before Yuldashev’s death.

Membership

The IMU has attracted supporters from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, principally Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Chechens and Uighurs. The IMU’s recruitment efforts have also been aimed at Germans, with a German member of the group, in a video released in 2010, inviting entire families to leave Germany to join the IMU in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The IMU continues to recruit fighters, and IMU members fight alongside the Taliban and al-Qa’ida against Coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistani forces in Pakistan. The Ferghana Valley, where the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik borders converge, is a fertile recruiting ground for the IMU, which has successfully exploited the widespread poverty in the region in its recruitment strategy.

The IMU’s losses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the defection of fighters to a splinter group, the Islamic Jihad Union, have not diminished the group’s capability and intent to conduct terrorist attacks.

During the latter part of 2009, the IMU claimed that its fighters had been engaged in four months of severe fighting in four northern provinces of Afghanistan and in northwest Pakistan, and that the ranks of the IMU were being filled on a daily basis by new volunteers.

Funding

Sources of funding for the IMU have included Uzbeks who migrated to Islamic countries in the 1920s, in particular Saudi Arabia’s Uzbek diaspora which numbers 300,000 people. Funds also come from a number of Turkish foundations and Islamist and pan-Turkic organisations, the Taliban, al-Qa’ida and sympathetic foundations and banks throughout the Arab world.

The IMU also generates funds through drug trafficking, racketeering and solicitation of donations abroad. In May 2008, French, German and Dutch authorities detained ten individuals suspected of running a network to funnel money to the IMU in Uzbekistan.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

Terrorist attacks for which the IMU has claimed responsibility, or which have been reliably attributed to the IMU include:

  • 19 September 2010: the IMU claimed responsibility for an ambush of Tajik troops in the Rasht Valley, east of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, killing 25 soldiers and wounding 20 others;
  • 3 September 2010: the Tajik government blamed the IMU for a suicide car bombing outside the office of the anti-organised crime police unit in Khujand, Tajikistan, killing two police officers and wounding 25 others;
  • 22 August 2010: six guards were killed during a prison break in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, during which 25 alleged IMU militants escaped;
  • 14 August 2010: IMU fighters attacked Ali Abad District police headquarters in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, killing one policeman;
  • 9 August 2009: according to Uzbek authorities, a cell linked to senior IMU figure Shaukat Makhmudov murdered Hasan Asadov, an Uzbek Interior Ministry anti terrorism and anti-corruption officer;
  • 31 July 2009: according to Uzbek authorities, a cell linked to senior IMU figure Shaukat Makhmudov murdered the chief Imam of the Kukeldash Mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan;
  • 20 July 2009: five IMU fighters were killed when they attacked a remote military checkpoint in Tajikistan near the Afghan border;
  • 16 July 2009: according to Uzbek authorities, a cell linked to senior IMU figure Shaukat Makhmudov murdered an assistant at the Kukeldash Mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan;
  • April 2009: the IMU claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in North Waziristan, Pakistan, that killed a Pakistani soldier and seven civilians;
  • 5 September 2008: according to Tajik authorities, an unidentified IMU member shot and wounded a police officer in Isfara, Tajikistan;
  • 28 August 2008: according to Tajik authorities, IMU elements fired upon two police officers in Isfara, Tajikistan;
  • May 2008: two IMU members in possession of explosives and hand grenades were arrested in Afghanistan. The two admitted to planting mines on a road and providing a base for militant activities;
  • Mid-2007: seven IMU militants were arrested while plant ing a mine on a road used by Coalition patrols in northern Afghanistan. The group admitted to carrying out rocket attacks, suicide missions and recruitment activities;
  • 27 September 2006: according to Tajik authorities, the IMU launched an attack against a vehicle carrying supporters of the Tajik President in Isfara, Tajikistan, wounding two civilians;
  • 12 May 2006: the IMU attacked border and customs posts in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan;
  • 25 January 2006: the IMU attacked a pre-trial detention centre in Kairakum, Tajikistan, killing the centre’s chief;
  • 31 January and 13 June 2005: the IMU exploded bombs outside the Ministry of Emergency Situations in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, killing one person and wounding at least 12 others;
  • 8 May 2003: the IMU bombed a currency exchange office in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, killing one person;
  • 27 December 2002: the IMU bombed a market in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, killing six people and wounding 40 others;
  • 12 August 2000: the IMU kidnapped four US mountain climbers;
  • 21 August 1999: the IMU kidnapped four Japanese geologists, their interpreter and the head of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Interior troops; and
  • 16 February 1999: the IMU exploded five car bombs in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, killing at least 16 people and wounding over 130 in an apparent attempt to assassinate President Karimov.

Directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning the doing of terrorist acts

On 10 March 2011, an alleged IMU commander was detained along with an unspecified number of suspected militants in Balkh Province, Afghanistan, while in the final stages of planning a suicide attack in Mazar-e Sharif.

On 23 July 2009, three IMU members were detained for planning an attack in eastern Tajikistan.

On 11 September 2006, the IMU leadership renewed its commitment to attack the governments of Central Asia and issued personal threats against the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik Presidents. This statement reinforced the IMU leadership’s commitment to al-Qaida’s ideology of global jihad and anti-Western and anti-Israeli rhetoric.

Directly or indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts

Western European Muslims have been trained by the IMU in camps in North Waziristan, Pakistan. German nationals of Turkish and Moroccan origin have been trained in IMU camps and have made threats against Germany.

In September 2009, Pakistani investigators discovered a ‘village’ of German insurgents, including Muslim converts, who were being trained in a camp controlled by the IMU in the Waziristan area of Pakistan. A number of Swedish converts were also located there.

Directly or indirectly fostering the doing of terrorist acts

The IMU maintains a media wing, known as Jundallah Studio, through which it releases video and audio statements. The IMU also has distributed video and audio tapes and propaganda documents to sympathetic communities in the Ferghana Valley.

On 17 March 2011, the IMU released a 21-minute video recording apparently showing a series of attacks on Coalition forces in July-August 2010 in the Chahar Dara District of Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province.

By late August 2010, Jundallah Studio had produced a 51-minute video compilation containing footage of operations and attacks conducted by militants, including Germans, from April to June 2010. These videos contained German introductions and German subtitles.

In December 2009, the IMU released English and German-subtitled videos showing a meeting between its former chief, Tahir Yuldashev, and the leader of Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Hakimullah Mahsud. The vid e o shows Tahir and Mahsud talking with each other, walking together and taking turns firing a gun. The video also shows Tahir reading a eulogy for slain TTP leader Baitullah Mahsud, stressing that jihad will not cease with the death of its leaders.

Conclusion

In view of the above information, ASIO assesses the IMU is directly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts. It is assessed that the acts attributable to the IMU are terrorist acts as they:

  • are done with the intention of advancing a political cause, namely, establishing of a radical Islamist caliphate across Central Asia;
  • are intended to coerce or influence by intimidation the governments of foreign countries, namely the states of Central Asia, as well as member countries of the Coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and/or intimidate a section(s) of the public; and
  • constitute acts which cause serious physical harm to persons, including death, as well as serious damage to property.

Other relevant information

Links to other terrorist groups or networks

The IMU has close ties with al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and other militant groups in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theatre. Senior IMU leaders have held positions in the al Qa’ida hierarchy. Current IMU chief Odil appeared in an October 2009 video with TTP leader Hakimullah Mahsud, shortly after both groups lost their leaders in US drone strikes.

Proscription by the UN and other countries

The IMU has been listed in the United Nations 1267 Committee’s consolidated list and as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.

 Islamic State


(Also known as: Also known as: Al-Qa’ida in Iraq; Al-Qa’ida in Iraq – Zarqawi; Al-Qa’ida of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers; Al-Tawhid; Al-Tawhid and al-Jihad; Brigades of Tawhid; Islamic State of Iraq; Dawla al-Islamiya; Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa as-Sham; Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham; Jama’at al-Tawhid wa’al-Jihad; Kateab al-Tawhid; Mujahidin Shura Council; Qaida of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; Tanzeem Qa’idat al Jihad Bilad al Raafidaini; Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn; The al-Zarqawi network;The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant; The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham; The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; The Islamic Caliphate; The Islamic Caliphate State; The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria; The Monotheism and Jihad Group; The Organisation Base of Jihad Country of the Two Rivers; The Organisation Base of Jihad Mesopotamia; The Organisation of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers; Unity and Holy Struggle; Unity and Holy War; Unity and Jihad Group)

Formerly listed as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – listed 14 December 2013.

Formerly listed as Al-Qa’ida in Iraq – listed 2 March 2005, re-listed 17 February 2007, 1 November 2008, 29 October 2010, 12 July 2013.

This statement is based on publicly available information about the Islamic State. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate, reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Details of the organisation

Objectives

The Islamic State is an Iraq and Syria-based Sunni extremist group and former al‑Qa’ida affiliate that adheres to the global jihadist ideology. The Islamic State follows an extreme interpretation of Islam which is anti-Western, promotes sectarian violence and targets those that do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. The Islamic State’s announcement of a caliphate claims the land from Aleppo in Syria to Diyala in Iraq, the Sunni-dominated areas of both countries. Eventually, it aims to establish a salafist-orientated Islamist state spanning Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Levant.

The group became an al-Qa’ida affiliate in October 2004 when its former leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, pledged allegiance to Usama bin Laden. In late 2011, the group established operations in Syria through its former subordinate organisation, Jabhat al‑Nusra. In April 2013, current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the creation of ISIL to subsume Jabhat al‑Nusra and consolidate operations across Iraq and Syria.

Jabhat al-Nusra leader Abu-Muhammad al-Jawlani attempted to annul the announcement by pledging allegiance to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. In June 2013, al-Zawahiri ruled that Jabhat al-Nusra was the only al-Qa’ida affiliate in Syria and annulled the creation of ISIL. However, al-Baghdadi refused to follow this ruling and confirmed the creation of ISIL. Now known as the Islamic State, it continues to operate in both Syria and Iraq as one consolidated organisation separate from Jabhat al-Nusra.

Since January 2014, the group has focussed on capturing and consolidating its control over areas of Iraq including Fallujah in Anbar Province and most of Ninawa Province— including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

Leadership

The Islamic State’s current leader and proclaimed caliph is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri. He has many aliases and is usually known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or Abu Du’a. Al-Baghdadi became the leader following the May 2010 death of his predecessor, Abu Hamza al‑Muhajir. He is currently located in either Syria or Iraq and leads the Islamic State in both countries. In August 2013, al-Baghdadi appointed Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al‑Shami as emir for Syria.

The Islamic State has a hierarchical structure, featuring an overall leadership council and provincial governments in both Iraq and Syria. Regional and specialist cells act with relative autonomy under general direction from senior leaders.

Membership

The Islamic State has several thousand members in Iraq, mostly young Iraqi Sunni men. Its numbers have been boosted in 2014 by its success in capturing Iraqi cities and coercing or convincing Sunni tribes to ally with the group. It has also claimed responsibility for several mass prison breaks throughout Iraq that have freed hundreds of its members, most of whom are still at large.

In Syria, the Islamic State has several thousand additional members drawn from both Syrian nationals and foreign fighters. Due to the Islamic State’s Iraqi origins, a large number of its Syria-based senior operatives and leadership are Iraqi nationals. Fighters in both countries are able to pass freely across the border, which is no longer recognised by the Islamic State.

Recruitment and funding

The Islamic State uses a combination of threats, incentives and ideology to recruit new members, including a sophisticated social media campaign in several languages. It mostly targets young Sunni men worldwide, exploiting anger at the Iraqi and Syrian governments’ perceived mistreatment of Sunni Muslims and encouraging them to join it in restoring an Islamic caliphate. It also aims to recruit Iraqi security force members to gather intelligence and undermine the performance of its enemies.

The group continues to attract a large number of foreign fighters, including Westerners. Although foreign fighters in Syria with an extremist mindset were initially drawn to Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic State’s effective social media messaging, willingness to accept members rejected by Jabhat al-Nusra and highly publicised military successes have resulted in a greater flow of international recruits to the Islamic State and the defection of some Jabhat al-Nusra members.

The Islamic State uses funds donated for operations in Syria to also fund its activities in Iraq and transfers weapons, fighters and resources between the two countries. It also sources funding through extortion, kidnapping, theft, black marketeering, smuggling and legitimate businesses.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

The Islamic State is one of the world’s deadliest and most active terrorist organisations and conducts daily attacks on security forces and civilians. It targets crowds and public gatherings during holidays and religious festivals to maximize casualties and publicity. It also conducts public executions and violent punishments in areas it controls.

The Islamic State’s operations in Iraq consist of military operations and daily attacks, mostly in central Iraq and the provinces to the north and west of Baghdad. Attacks in the Kurdish-majority northern provinces and the Shia-majority provinces in the south are less common. The Islamic State’s primary targets in Iraq are security forces; Shia civilians in public areas, including cafes, mosques and markets; political figures; community and tribal leaders who publicly condemn the Islamic State; and anti‑Islamic State militias. By attacking these targets, it hopes to undermine security force efforts to contain the group, destroy public confidence in the security forces and provoke a widespread revolt against the government. It also attacks and controls elements of infrastructure including bridges and dams, using them to cause major damage through flooding and to restrict Iraqi security forces’ freedom of movement.

The Islamic State’s operations in Syria consist of suicide bombings, sniping and small-arms attacks against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. It also attacks some other Syrian armed opposition groups, which it considers apostates and infidels. The Islamic State has also targeted Turkish and Kurdish militants in northern Syria, Syrian refugees and Kurdish organisations in Turkey, Hizballah-related targets in Lebanon and threatened attacks against the Government of Turkey.

Significant attacks either claimed by, or reliably attributed to, the Islamic State since the group was last proscribed (under the name Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in December 2013) include:

  • January 2014: the capture of Fallujah and other areas of Anbar Province in Iraq;
  • 2 January 2014: a claim of responsibility for a car bombing in Beirut that killed two people and wounds dozens of others; further attacks in Lebanon were threatened;
  • 5 April 2014: the capture of Fallujah Dam. The group uses control of the dam to cause flood damage upstream and block the electricity supply to areas downstream;
  • 1 May 2014: the public execution of seven people in the Syrian city of Ar-Raqqah; the bodies were displayed on crucifixes;
  • 6-11 June 2014: following a series of offensives, the capture of Mosul and Tikrit, along with other areas of Ninewa and Salah ad-Din Provinces in Iraq;
  • 7 June 2014: a claim of responsibility for five car bombings in Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad that killed 52 people;
  • 11 June 2014: an attack on the Turkish Consulate in Mosul in which 49 Turks, including the Consul-General and several children, were taken hostage; and
  • 14 June 2014: the publication of photographs of its members killing dozens of captured Iraqi security force personnel near Tikrit in Iraq. The group claims to have executed 1700 Iraqi Government soldiers.

Directly or indirectly fostering and/or advocating the doing of terrorist attacks

Several media statements have been issued by the group that advocate the doing of terrorist acts. These include:

  • 23 May 2014: the group’s Baghdad Division posted a message on its Twitter account claiming responsibility for killing more than 100 Iraqi security force personnel and Shia milita members. The statement threatened further attacks, stating, ‘We say again to the hate-filled Rawafidh [derogatory reference to Shia Muslims] and their Safavid [derogatory reference to the Iraqi Government] government: your headquarters and your gatherings are spread everywhere in Baghdad, and no effort will be spared, Allah permitting, to target them’; and
  • 28 April 2014: in a statement claiming responsibility for two suicide bombings on polling stations during Iraq’s national elections, the group threatened supporters of the Iraqi Government, stating, ‘We re-warn and re alert that every drop of blood that will be shed from the Sunnis will be avenged, and we will drip–Allah permitting–rivers of blood from the elements of their services of oppression and their parties and militias’.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses the Islamic State continues to be directly and/or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in and fostering the doing of terrorist acts and advocates the doing of terrorist acts, involving threats to human life and serious damage to property.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, the Islamic State is known to have engaged in acts that:

  • cause, or could cause, serious damage to property, or the death of persons, or endanger a person’s life or create a serious risk to a person’s safety;
  • are done with the intention of advancing the Islamic State’s political, religious or ideological causes;
  • are done with the intention of coercing or intimidating the government of a foreign country (be that Iraq or Syria); and
  • are done with the intention of intimidating sections of the public globally.

This assessment is corroborated by information from reliable and credible intelligence sources.

Other relevant information

Links to other terrorist groups or networks

The recent success of the Islamic State in Iraq has attracted the support of other terrorist groups around the world—including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, salafists in Gaza and al-Shabaab—and will be a motivating factor for individuals to participate in jihad. Likewise, the Islamic State has called on jihadists to support other terrorist organisations.

Proscription by the UN and other countries

The Islamic State is listed as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on the United Nations Security Council 1267 (al-Qa’ida) Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list as an alias of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. It is also listed as a proscribed terrorist organisation by Canada (al-Qa’ida in Iraq entry last updated in August 2012); by New Zealand under the name Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as an alias of al-Qa’ida in Iraq; and by the United States, which recognises al-Qa’ida in Iraq and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the same organisation, but also lists Jabhat al-Nusra as an alias.

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