The State Department's annual terrorism report called the Middle East the region of "greatest concern" in the global war against terror.
The report noted that several prominent terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Iraq-based Ansar al-Islam, were active in the region in 2003.
The report maintained the State Department's designation of Iran, Libya and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism. It also said that the Palestinian Authority did not take sufficient steps to stop terrorist operations and adds Lebanon remained "problematic" by hosting militant groups like Hezbollah.
The report noted that Saudi Arabia experienced two waves of terrorist attacks which claimed a total of more than 50 lives.
However, the State Department said several Middle Eastern and North African governments took important steps to combat terrorist activity in 2003. It cited the arrest by Saudi Arabia of more than 600 terrorism suspects and what it called Morocco's "stepping-up" of its anti-terrorist actions, following deadly suicide bombings in Casablanca last May.
... Payvand News - 4/30/04 ... --