Terrorists to some, freedom fighters to others. Most organisations who are accused of being a "terrorist organization" will deny using terrorism as a military tactic to achieve their goals, and there is no international consensus on the bureaucratic definition of terrorism. Therefore, this list is of organisations who are, or have been in the past, proscribed as "terrorist organizations" by other organizations, including the United Nations and national governments, where the proscription has a significant impact on the group's activities.

This listing does not include States or governmental organisations which are considered under State terrorism.

Religious Terrorists

It has often been argued that the oldest form of terrorism is religious terrorism. The targets of religious terrorism have been the heretic and sinners -- those who deviate from or fail to abide by orthodoxy. Adulterers have been stoned to death, while heretics have been burned at the stake.

Reference is often made to the Assassins (more properly, the Hashshashin), an unusual group of Islamic origin that flourished in the thirteenth century.

Religious terrorism is a form of religious violence. As with other forms of terrorism, there is no real consensus as to its definition. Groups are frequently classified as practitioners of religious terrorism for any one of the following reasons:

* The group itself is defined by religion rather than by other factors (such as ideology or ethnicity).

* Religion plays some part in defining or determining the objectives or methods of the group.

* The ultimate objective of the group is religiously defined.

Controversy concerning classification is often found because:

* Religion and ethnicity frequently coincide. Ethnic conflict may thus appear as religious, or religious conflict may appear as ethnic.

* Religious groups, like other groups, frequently pursue political goals. In such cases it is often not clear which is uppermost, the political goal or the religious motivation.

Groups which have used principal religious motives for their terrorist acts and were deemed as such by supranational organizations and governments are listed here.


* Shiv Sena: A violent Hindu political group, Shiv Sena or "The Army of Shiva". Activities involve attacking shops selling valentine's day cards.

* Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) An organisation behind some of the religious violence in India.

* Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) an offshoot of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

However, they abide by the laws of the land and are hence not banned in the countrry.


* Abu Sayyaf (1991-present; Islamist separatists; the Philippines)

o Based in the southern islands of Jolo, Basilan, and Mindanao.

o Branched off of the Moro National Liberation Front.

o Allegedly partnered with Jemaah Islamiyah and Al-Qaeda.

* Aden-Abyan Islamic Army (Yemen)

* Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Late 1970s-present; Islamists; Egypt)

o Seeks to establish Islamist state in Egypt. Usually targets secular establishments, government buildings, police, the military, minorities, tourists, and “morally offensive” buildings.

* Armed Islamic Group (1992-present; Islamists; Algeria)

o Seeks to establish Islamist state in Algeria. Began operations in 1992 after the Algerian government ignored election results that gave victory to Islamist political parties.

* Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades

* Ansar al-Islam (December 2001-present; Islamists; Iraq)

o In Arabic, "Supporters of Islam."

o Also known as "Partisans of Islam or Helpers of Islam."

* Al-Qaeda (1988-present; Islamists; Afghanistan, Pakistan, and worldwide)

o In Arabic, "the foundation" or "the base."

o Also known as Qa‘idat al-Jihad, Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, Islamic Salvation Foundation, and the Osama bin Laden Network.

o Related: Alneda (former web site), As-Sahab (affiliated public relations organization),

o Cells: Buffalo six, Hamburg cell,

* Asbat al-Ansar (early 1990s-present; Lebanese Sunni Islamists; southern Lebanon)

o In Arabic, "the League of the Followers."

o Acronym for "Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya," or Islamic Resistance Movement.

* Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'al-Jihad/Al-Qaeda in Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Sunni network, operating in Iraq

o on U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations

* Egyptian Islamic Jihad - Egypt (active since the late 1970s)

* Hamas - Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip. Listed as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Israel, and the United States

* Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM) - Pakistan and Kashmir

* Hezbollah - Lebanon;

* Hizbul Mujahideen - Pakistan and Kashmir

* Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain - Defunct

* Islamic Movement of Central Asia - Central Asia

* Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan - Uzbekistan

* Jaish-e-Mohammed - Pakistan

* Jaish Ansar al-Sunna - Iraq

* Jemaah Islamiyah - Southeast Asia

* Jihad Rite - Australia (linked with Al Qaeda. Founded in 2001)

* Lashkar-e-Jhangvi - Pakistan

* Lashkar-e-Toiba - Pakistan

* Lord's Resistance Army Christian/Pagan/Muslim terrorist group that operates in northern Uganda, it seeks to overthrow the Ugandan government and create a country based on the ten commandments.[15]

* Maktab al-Khadamat - Afghanistan - Defunct

* Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group - Morocco and Spain

* Moro Islamic Liberation Front - (Islamic separatists; the Philippines)

* Muslim Brotherhood - international

* Palestinian Islamic Jihad - Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip

* People Against Gangsterism and Drugs - South Africa

* Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat - Algeria

* Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan - Pakistan

* Takfir wal-Hijra - Egypt/Sudan/Algeria

* Kurdish-Hizbullah - Turkey

* Hofstad Network - Netherlands

Islamist Fronts

* Al-Barakaat (Al-Qaida front)

* Al-Wafa Humanitarian Organization (Al-Qaida front)

* Benevolence International Foundation (Al-Qaida front)

* Global Relief Foundation (Al-Qaida front)

* Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (Hamas)

* Konsojaya Trading Company (Jemaah Islamiyah front)


* Army of God

* Freedomites (1902-present) Active in Canada, notable for their longevity

* Nagaland Rebels (1947-present) Active in predominantly Christian state in Hindu majority India. Involved in several bombings in 2004. Goal: Independence from India after annexing parts of neighboring Indian states and Burma if it has Christian majority.

* National Liberation Front of Tripura (1989-present) A group that seeks the independence of Tripura from India to create a Christian Tripura.

* Lord's Resistance Army Christian/Pagan/Muslim terrorist group that operates in northern Uganda, it seeks to overthrow the Ugandan government and create a country based on the ten commandments.

* God's Army A terrorist group in Myanmar.

* Ku Klux Klan a white supremist organization, designated terrorist by Charleston, South Carolina, USA


* Kach and Kahane Chai -

* Gush Emunim Underground: (1979-1984) [citation needed]

* Jewish Defense League - designated by US FBI

* Irgun: (1931-1948)

* Lehi: (1940-1948)


* Babbar Khalsa

* Bhinderanwala Tiger Force of Khalistan

* International Sikh Youth Federation

* Khalistan Zindabad Force

* Saheed Khalsa Force

* Khalistan Liberation Force

* Khalistan Commando Force

* Khalistan Liberation Front

* Khalistan National Army

* Dashmesh Regiment

All of these groups demand a Khalistan (Land of the Pure) in the Indian state of Punjab and adjoining areas for Sikhs. Most have a variable amount of support from Sikhs abroad and have been in existence since the 1980s. Many have been weakened and have cut down on activities, yet they continue. The militancy in Punjab has claimed approximately 100,000 lives, according to estimates put forward by Amnesty International: this figure involves killings by both Sikh militants and the Indian forces. With the exception of the first two, the other groups have only been proscribed in India.

Other religious terrorists

* Aum Supreme Truth (Aum Shinrikyo) - Japan (homicidal religious cult)

Nationalistic Terrorist Organizations

Irish Nationalists (Northern Ireland)

* Irish Republican Army (1922-1969)split into- 'Official IRA' and 'Provisional IRA'.

* Official IRA (defunct)

* Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) (1969–2002)

o Supporters of the PIRA split from 'Official' Sinn Féin to form Provisional Sinn Féin. Provisional Sinn Féin was later known simply as Sinn Féin (while 'Official' Sinn Féin eventually became the Workers' Party).

o Under ceasefire since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998

o Ended armed campaign in September 2005.

o Splinter groups:

+ Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) (1986-present)

# Also known as the "Continuity Army Council" and "Óglaigh na hÉireann" (Gaelic for 'Volunteers of Ireland')

+ Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) (1997-present)*

# Also known as the True IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann (Gaelic for Volunteers of Ireland).

# Does not recognize Good Friday Agreement.

* Irish National Liberation Army (1974-present)

o Splinter group:

+ Irish People's Liberation Organisation (1986-1992, defunct)


* Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (Amanullah Khan) -- (Note: The JKLF faction headed by Yasin Malik has renounced all violence since 1995)

* Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) -- Banned by Indian Government in 2002. Recently, it has been accused of helping Pakistani based terrorists organization organize bomb blasts in Mumbai, India.

Northern Irish Loyalists (Northern Ireland)

* Ulster Defence Association (UDA) (1971-present)**

o Also called the "Ulster Freedom Fighters," or UFF.

o On February 22, 2003, announced a "complete and utter cessation" of all acts of violence for one year. It said it will review its ceasefire every three months, although in February 2006, the Independent Monitoring Commission reported that the UDA continued its paramilitary activities, as well as involvement in organized crime, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, extortion, money laundering and robbery

o Splinter group:

+ Red Hand Defenders (1998-present)**

# UDA splinter group. Opposes ceasefire.

* Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) (May 1966-present)

o Very closely linked with the Red Hand Commandos (1972-present).

* Loyalist Volunteer Force (1996-2005)

* Orange Volunteers (1998-present)

* Red Branch Knights (1992)


* Hamas

* Abu Nidal

* Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades

* Baloch Mujahideen

* Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)

* Irgun (1931-1948) - regarded as a terrorist group by the British authorities and the mainstream Zionist organizations.

* Lehi (1940-1948) - regarded as a terrorist group by the British authorities.

* Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

* Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)

* Palestine Liberation Front

* Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (until 1988) - On December 14, 1988, the PLO renounced the use of terrorist tactics, and as of 2006, the PLO is no longer considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the U.N., or Israel.

Pre-Independence Irish Nationalists

* Fenian Brotherhood (19th century, disbanded)

* Irish Republican Army (1916-1922)

Sri Lanka

* Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, aka Tamil Tigers)- Sri Lanka. One of the largest groups with an estimated 24,000 Tamil cadres who fight for separation from Sri Lanka. The group has carried out 240+ suicide bombings since the early 80s in the process which they describe as their freedom struggle. Members of the group were convicted for the suicide bomber assassinations of Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa (1988-1993) and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. UNHCR has reported that this organisation recruits under-aged children by force.

* TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal LTTE splinter group led by one Karuna Amman and allegedly proped up by the government. Currently under consideration by the EU to be banned as a terrorist organisation.

Other nationalist terrorists

* an gof - Cornwall - (inactive)

* Abkhaz Separatists - Georgia

* East Turkestan Islamic Movement - Central Asia and China

* East Turkistan Liberation Organization (China)

* ETA (Basque Fatherland and Liberty) - Spain and southern France (founded 1959)

* Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA) - Scotland (defunct)

* Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood - Yugoslavia (disbanded)

* Front de Libération du Quebec - Canada (founded 1963)

o Cells: Chenier Cell, Liberation Cell,

* Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK/KADEK/KONGRA-GEL) - Turkey

* Los Macheteros - Puerto Rico (founded 1976)

* National Front for the Liberation of Corsica (FLNC) - France

* African National Congress (historical) - South Africa

* Armed Islamic Group (GIA) - France, Algeria

* Algerian National Movement (MNA) - France, Algeria (disbanded)

* National Liberation Front (FLN) - France, Algeria

* Organisation de l'Armée Secrète (OAS) - France, Algeria (disbanded)

* Olmecs Terrorist Army - Mexico

* Sons of Liberty (18th century) - United States

* VMO (1950-1970 and 1971-1983) - Flanders


* Anti-State Justice

* Black Star

* The Angry Brigade

* New Revolutionary Alternative

* Squamish Five

Communist, Socialist, Maoist and Marxist

* Action Directe - France

* African National Congress - South Africa (renounced violence)

* Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) - Lebanon, Armenia and the USA

* CCC - Belgium

* Chukaku-Ha - Japan

* Communist League September 23rd - Mexico

* Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) - Nepal

* Ejército de Liberación Nacional - Colombia

* Popular Forces 25 April (FP-25 Abril) (Portuguese:Forças Populares 25 de Abril) - Portugal (disbanded)

* GRAPO - Spain

* Japanese Red Army (Sekigun) - Japan

* June 2 Movement - West Germany (disbanded)

* Khmer Rouge - Cambodia (disbanded)

* Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front - Chile

* Montoneros - Argentina (disbanded)

* National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam - South Vietnam

* National Socialist Council of Nagaland - India

* Naxals or Naxalites - India

* NPA or New People's Army - Philippines

* Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) - Greece

* Pan-Africanist Congress - South Africa (renounced violence)

* Pathet Lao - Laos

* People's War Group - India

* Red Army Faction (popularly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang) - Germany (founded 1967, disbanded)

* Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse) - Italy (founded 1969)

* Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - Colombia

* Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP & DHKP/C) - Turkey

* Sandinista National Liberation Front - Nicaragua

* Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) - Peru (active since the late 1960s)

* Symbionese Liberation Army - USA (disbanded)

* Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) - Peru

* United Freedom Front - USA (founded in 1976, now disbanded)

* United Liberation Front of Assam - India

* Weathermen - USA (founded in 1969, now disbanded)

o Spin-off: May 19th Communist Movement (active 1978-85)

Ethnic terrorists (including neo-Nazis and white-supremacists)

* Army for the Liberation of Rwanda - Rwanda (Hutu emancipatory;genocidal)

* Aryan Nations - United States

* Black Panthers - United States

* Boeremag - South Africa

* Combat 18 - United Kingdom

* Column 88 - United Kingdom


* Creativity Movement - USA

* Ku Klux Klan - USA (founded in 1865 and revived several times since). A tiny British KKK also came into being recently.

* Mouvement d'Action et Défense Masada - France (disbanded). This was a French neo-Nazi organization, disguised as a Zionist extremist group, which attacked Arab targets.

* National Socialist Movement - United Kingdom

* The Order - USA (disbanded)

* White Aryan Resistance - United States


* Alianza Anticomunista Argentina - Argentina

* Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia - Colombia

* Ranvir Sena - India

Contra- Nicaragua


These groups are active on environmental issues, using sabotage (monkeywrenching) as their means of struggle. They have a commitment for property damage only, and not harming life (human or animal).

* Animal Liberation Front (ALF) - UK and US. Property damage and animal release, related to animal rights issues. Listed as one of the top domestic threats by United States Department of Homeland Security, FBI and ATF.

* Earth Liberation Front - Founded 1992; operates in US, Canada, and UK. Property destruction, related to environmental issues. Listed as one of the top domestic threats by United States Department of Homeland Security, FBI and ATF. It is to be noted that PETA has lent financial support to both ALF and ELF arrestees, in the way of paying for legal fees.

* Environmental Life Force - Disbanded in 1972. Used explosive and incendiary devices in defense of the environment.


* Buffalo Battalion - Mozambique

* Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) - Haiti

* Interahamwe - Rwanda

* Janjaweed - Sudan

* Mungiki - Kenya

* National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti - Haiti

* Quantrill's Raiders led by William Quantrill - USA (pro-Confederate guerillas)

* Revolutionary United Front - Sierra Leonean rebels

* Tonton Macoutes - Haiti


spy bestseller
espionage bestseller
best spy thriller
best spy thriller

king of thrillers

best thriller writer

best thriller

book review

spy terms

best thriller


© Jack King