Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Gama'a al-Islamiyya

aka al-Gama'at; Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya; GI; Islamic Gama'at; IG; Islamic Group

Description: Gama'a al-Islamiyya (IG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Once Egypt's largest militant group, IG was formed in the 1970s. In 2011, it formed the Construction and Development political party that competed in the 2011 parliamentary elections, winning 13 seats. Egypt-based members of IG released from prison prior to the 2011 revolution have renounced terrorism, although some members located overseas have worked with or joined al-Qa'ida (AQ). Hundreds of members, who may not have renounced violence, were released from prison in 2011. The external wing, composed of mainly exiled members in several countries, maintained that its primary goal was to replace the Egyptian government with an Islamic state. IG's "spiritual" leader, the "blind Sheikh," Omar Abd al-Rahman, is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Supporters of Abd al-Rahman have called for reprisal attacks in the event of his death in prison.

Activities: In the 1990s, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security, other government officials, and Coptic Christians. IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group also launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack. In 1999, part of the group publicly renounced violence. IG has not committed a known terrorist attack in recent years.

Strength: At its peak, IG likely commanded several thousand core members and a similar number of supporters. Security crackdowns following the 1997 attack in Luxor and the 1999 ceasefire, along with post-September 11 security measures and defections to AQ, have probably resulted in a substantial decrease in what is left of an organized group.

Location/Area of Operation: The IG is believed to have maintained a presence in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, the UK, Germany, and France.

Funding and External Aid: Unknown


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