Terrorism in Europe

Four overlapping segments exist within Northern Ireland. The majority of the unionist community are generally called Unionists and commit to

Terrorism in Europe


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“Terrorism in Europe”

















MINSK 2008



Introduction. General overview

1. Terrorism in Spain. ETA

1.1 Context

1.2 Goals

1.3 Structure

1.4 Tactics

1.5 Political Issues

1.6 History

1.7 Terrorism in Northern Ireland

1.8 Terrorism in Greece. November 17

1.9 Counter-terrorism




Terrorism in Europe. General overview


Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent alerts, violence, and threats worldwide, the war on terror has been at the forefront of international affairs. In 2001, Europe expressed its solidarity with the United States in the initiation of an international effort to curb the threat of terrorism throughout the world.

While in this work I have primary tried to focus on the more well-known and active groups, namely the IRA, the ETA, and 17 November, with a discussion of Islamic groups within Europe, these are by no means the only terrorist organizations currently operation within Europe. In reality, no region of Europe has been able to escape the direct effects of terrorism over the past 50 years. For instance, though the ETA is the most famous of the Spanish terrorist organization, the First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO) is a left-wing, anarchist, terrorist organization that has been operating in Spain for the past three decades. It came into the international spotlight in 1975, when four Spanish policemen were killed in retaliation for the execution of five GRAPO members. GRAPO was last active in November 2000, when they exploded a series of bombs in Vigo, Seville and Valencia.

In Italy, the Brigate Rosse, or Red Brigade, has been active sine the 1960s. This extreme left, Marxist-Leninist group aims at separating Italy from the Western alliance, by targeting government symbols all over Italy. The peak of activity for this group occurred in the 1970's and 1980's, in a series of bombings and attacks that terrorized the country, though the group has been in decline over the past decade. On 12 December 1969, an Italian bank was blown up, killing 16 people; 106 more casualties followed the next year when an Italian train was derailed by the anarchist group. However, the most notorious incident took place in 1978, when former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped, after which point he was brutally murdered. In December of 1983 that year, the Red Brigade took US Army Brigadier General James Dozier, but this time, a successful rescue operation prevented a repeat of the Moro incident. Other groups were active in Italy at the same time. In 1973, Italian neo-fascists detonated two bombs that killed 20 people, injuring many more. Then, on 1 August 1980, 385 casualties resulted from an explosion in Bologna, linked to right-wing terrorists in the nation. Later on, Pope John Paul II suffered an unsuccessful assassination attempt in Rome in 1981, an action executed by the Grey Wolves, a Turkish terrorist group that was subsequently linked to Middle East terrorist organizations and Soviet intelligence. In October 1983, Italian right-wingers claimed 130 casualties by exploding another train bomb. And, in 1988, five members of the US Navy were killed by a Japanese Red Army attack in Naples.

France too has been exposed to a variety of threats. The Organisation Armee Secrete, or Secret Army Organisation (OAS), comprised of French nationals, army personnel, and foreign legion members was a group dedicated to keeping Algeria as a French colony. On 9 September 1961, the group attempted to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle in France. The attack launched by that group in January 1962 at the foreign ministry was more successful, claiming 14 casualties; many more joined that number in 12 further attacks between 1962 and 1965. Another organization, Action Directe, a Marxist-Leninist group affiliated with the International Revolutionary Movement Group (GARI), founded in the 1970's and devoted to the destruction of the existing government, attacked a Parisian restaurant in 1982, killing six civilians in the process. In January 1985, the head of French international arms sales was killed in Paris by the Red Army Faction of the same group, a splinter force with links to the Baader-Meinhof Gang. Then, in 1986, Action Directe struck again in its most famous action, killing the president of Renault in Paris.

In 1983, 63 casualties were claimed after an Armenian terrorist group planted a bomb at the Orly airport. 1986 initiated a 10-month long series of attacks all over France that were linked to the Armenian terrorists, in conjunction with Lebanese groups. Most recently, in 2000, a bomb planted in a French McDonald's by the Breton Revolutionary Army (ARB), a pro-independence group in Brittany, killed one woman.

Germany has also had to face a wide-ranging terrorist threat, starting with the 1970 formation of the notorious Baader-Meinhof Gang. That year the German leftist Ulrike Meinhof organized Andreas Baader's escape from a Berlin prison; the two then formed the terrorist gang that would launch a series of attacks throughout Germany in the next 30 years. Within a year, they would be knows as the Red Army Faction (RAF), a strategic renaming aimed at creating a sense of a much larger organization, as opposed to a small German splinter group. In May and June 1972, two separate attacks were carried out on US Army headquarters in Frankfurt and Heidelberg, claiming 17 casualties. Then, on 5 September 1975, the Baader-Meinhof Gang kidnapped Hans Martin Schleyer, a German businessman, subsequently killing him. An almost-successful assassination attempt on NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Haig was carried out in 1979. Though the organization has now ceased to exist, the precedent for terrorism in Germany has been set.


1. Terrorism in Spain. ETA


Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, is a Basque paramilitary group that seeks to create an independent socialist state for the Basque people, separate from Spain and France, the countries in which Basque-populated areas currently lie. ETA is considered by Spain, France, the European Union and the United States to be a terrorist organization . The name Euskadi Ta Askatasuna is in the Basque language, and translates as "Basque Country and Liberty". ETA's motto is Bietan jarrai ("Keep up on both"). This refers to the two figures in the ETA symbol, the snake (symbolising secrecy and astuteness) wrapped around an axe (representing strength).

The organization was founded in 1959 and evolved rapidly from a group advocating traditional cultural ways to an armed resistance movement.


1.1 Context


ETA forms part of what is known as the Basque National Liberation Movement (Movimiento de Liberaciуn Nacional Vasco, MLNV in Spanish). This comprises several distinct organizations promoting a type of left Basque nationalism often referred to by the Basque-language term ezker abertzale or by the mixed Spanish and Basque izquierda abertzale. These include ETA, Batasuna, Euskal Herritarrok, Herri Batasuna, and the associated youth group Haika (formed by Jarrai and Gazteriak, and Segi), the union LAB, Gestoras pro Amnistнa and others.

ETA is believed to be financed principally by a so-called "revolutionary tax", paid by many businesses in the Basque Country and in the rest of Spain and enforced by the threat of assassination. They also kidnap people for ransom and have occasionally burgled or robbed storehouses of explosives. They have often maintained large caches of explosives, often in France rather than within the borders of Spain.

As of the end of 2004, ETA had killed 817 people, of which 339 were civilians, including children.

During the Franco era, ETA had considerable public support (even beyond the Basque populace), but Spain's transition to democracy and ETA's progressive radicalization have resulted in a steady loss of support, which became especially apparent at the time of their 1997 kidnapping and assassination of Miguel Бngel Blanco. Their loss of sympathizers has been reflected in an erosion of support for the political parties identified with the MLNV.

In recent years, ETA supporters have become a minority in the Basque region. A Euskobarуmetro poll (conducted by the Universidad del Paнs Vasco) in the Basque Country in May 2004, found that a significant number of Basques supported some or all of ETA's goals (33% favored Basque independence, 31% federalism, 32% autonomy, 2% centralism. However, few supported their violent methods (87% agreed that "today in Euskadi it is possible to defend all political aspirations and objectives without the necessity of resorting to violence")

The poll did not cover Navarre or the Basque areas of France, where Basque nationalism is weaker.


1.2 Goals


ETA's focus has been on two demands:

That an independent socialist government be created in Basque-inhabited areas of Spain and France (Euskal Herria). (In Spain, these are known collectively as the Basque Country and include both the Comunidad Autуnoma Vasca ("Autonomous Basque Community"

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