Established By: Fazlur Rehman Khalil, Qari Saifullah Akhtar
Also Known As: HuJI
Country Of Origin: Pakistan
Leaders: Shah Sahib
Key Members: Shah Sahib
Operational Area: Pakistan, Bangladesh
Number Of Members: Unknown
Involved In: Assasinations, Terrorist attacks, Suicide bomb attacks, Armed attacks, Bomb attacks
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Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami is an Islamic fundamentalist organisation most active in South Asian countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh since the early 1990s. It was banned in Bangladesh in 2005. The operational commander of HuJI, Ilyas Kashmiri, was killed in a US drone strike using a Predator drone in South Waziristan on 4 June 2011.
He was linked to the 13 February 2010 bombing of a German bakery in Pune. A statement was released soon after the attack which claimed to be from Kashmiri; it threatened other cities and major sporting events in India. A local Taliban commander named Shah Sahib was named as Kashmiri’s successor.
HuJI or HJI was formed in 1984, during the Soviet–Afghan War, by Fazlur Rehman Khalil and Qari Saifullah Akhtar. It was the first Pakistani-based jihadist group. Khalil later broke away to form his own group, Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), which became the most feared militant organisation in Kashmir. This group would later re-form as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), when HuA was banned by the United States in 1997.
HuJI first limited its operations in Afghanistan to defeating the Communists, but after the Soviets retreated, the organisation exported jihad to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. HuJI’s influence expanded into Bangladesh when the Bangladesh unit was established in 1992, with direct assistance from Osama bin Laden.
Plot to overthrow Benazir government:
In September 1995, the group was connected with Islamist elements in the Pakistan Army when the group’s leader, Saifullah Akhtar, was implicated in a coup plot. A customs guard inspection of a car outside Kohat revealed a huge arms cache hidden in the back. Subsequent investigations unearthed a conspiracy.
Those weapons were directed to Islamist Army officers, Major General Zahirul Islam Abbasi, and Brigadier Mustansar Billah, who had plans to first overthrow the-then Army leadership at the next corps commander meeting and then bring Islamic revolution in the country by overthrowing the Benazir Bhutto government. Both generals conspired to eliminate the top military and civilian leadership and establish an ‘Islamic dictatorship’ in the country.
Activities in Bangladesh:
In the 1990s, the training for these recruits was given in the hilly areas of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar. Later on, members of the group made an attempt on the life of Shamsur Rahman, the liberal poet in January 1999. HuJi claimed responsibility for the 2001 Ramna Batamul bombings, which killed 10 people. A member of the suicide squad of HuJi also died.
Committed to establishing an Islamic rule, HuJI was the prime suspect in a scheme to assassinate the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in the year 2000, and has been blamed for a number of bombings in 2005. In October 2005, it was officially banned by the government of Bangladesh. The group has been condemned by Islamist groups such as the Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh.
Activities in India:
Government of India has declared and banned it as a terrorist organisation. In April 2006, the state police Special Task Force in India uncovered a plot by six HuJI terrorists, including the mastermind behind the 2006 Varanasi bombings, involving the destruction of two Hindu temples in the Indian city of Varanasi. Maps of their plans were recovered during their arrest.
Pakistani passports had been in the possession of the arrested. Huji has claimed responsibility for blasts at the Delhi High Court which claimed the lives of 10 and injured around 60. Vikar Ahmed, a member of an Islamist group, and connected to HuJI, has been accused of murdering police officers in Hyderabad. He is also a suspect in the Mecca Masjid bombing.
Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami has claimed responsibility for the 2011 Delhi bombing. However, this has not been confirmed by the National Investigation Agency. At least 14 people were killed and 94 people were injured in the bomb blast. Police have released two sketches of the suspects. Here is the Embedded video link for this latest attack. This link has English news video clip. This is in Hindi Language. Also as clear in the video links, they have also made threats to target other Indian cities.
Designation as a terrorist organisation:
Countries and organisations below have officially listed Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) as a terrorist organisation.
– United Kingdom (14 October 2005)
– India (29 December 2004)
– Bangladesh (17 October 2005)
– Israel (2005)
– New Zealand (15 December 2010)
– United States (6 August 2010)
On 6 August 2010, the United Nations designated Harakat-ul Jihad al-Islami as a foreign terror group and blacklisted its commander Ilyas Kashmiri. State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin asserted that the actions taken demonstrated the global community’s resolve to counter the group’s threat. “The linkages between HUJI and Al-Qaeda are clear, and today’s designations convey the operational relationship between these organizations,” Benjamin said.
Militant attacks claimed by or attributed to HuJI:
– 1999, Bangladesh – Failed attempt to assassinate the humanist poet Shamsur Rahman
– 2000, Bangladesh – Alleged failed scheme to assassinate the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina
– 14 April 2001, Bangladesh – Pahela Baishakh attack on Ramna Batamul
– 2003, India – Role in assassination of the former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya.
– 2002 January, India – Terror attack near the American Centre in Kolkata, executed in collaboration with the Dawood-linked mafioso Aftab Ansari
– 2004, Bangladesh– Dhaka grenade attack attempt to assassinate Sheikh Hasina
– 2005 June, India – Bombing of the Delhi-Patna Shramjeevi Express at Jaunpur
– 2005, India – Suicide bombing of the headquarters of the Andhra Pradesh Police’s counter-terrorism Special Task Force. A Bangladeshi national, Mohatasin Bilal, had carried out the bombing
– March 2006, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India – Bombing of the Sankat Mochan temple, which was traced to HuJI’s Bangladesh-based cells
– 25 August 2007, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India – 25 August 2007 Hyderabad bombings (suspected, but no evidence revealed as of early September)
– 25 August 2007 Hyderabad bombings (suspected, but no evidence revealed as of early September)
– 13 May 2008, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India – 13 May 2008 Jaipur bombings (suspected; evidence pending.)
– 25 July 2008, Bangalore, India – 2008 Bengaluru serial blasts (suspected; evidence pending.)
– 26 July 2008, Ahmadabad, India – 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts (suspected; evidence pending.)
– 13 September 2008, Delhi, India – 2008 Delhi serial blasts (suspected; evidence pending.)
– 20 September 2008, Islamabad, Pakistan – 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing (claimed by HuJI; evidence pending.)
– 1 October 2008, Agartala, Tripura, India – 2008 Agartala bombings (HuJI suspected; evidence pending.)
– 30 October 2008, Guwahati, Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, India – 2008 Assam bombings (HuJI suspected; evidence pending.)
– 7 September 2011, New Delhi, India – 2011 Delhi bombing (claimed by HuJI; evidence pending.)