A detachment of the BAT.
|Active||1977 (re-organized in 1990)|
|Branch||Romanian Intelligence Service|
Brigada Antiteroristă (Romanian pronunciation: [briˈɡada antiteroˈristə], the Counter-terrorism Brigade, BAT) is a tactical special operations unit of the Romanian Intelligence Service (Serviciul Român de Informaţii).
The unit was established on December 15, 1977 under the name of Unitatea Specială de Luptă Antiteroristă (Special Counter-terrorism Unit, USLA) as a result of the emergence of terrorist threats that were directly or indirectly aimed at Romania.
USLA confronted attempts by members or sympathizers of different terrorist organizations to enter Romania. These organizations did not limit themselves to precursory acts of preparing violent actions, but they also tried to organize terrorist attacks, the targets generally being foreign official representatives in Bucharest.
On May 26, 1985, two Arab terrorists placed explosive devices under the cars belonging to Syrian students' leaders, in the Grozăveşti Campus parking lot in Bucharest. Two USLA officers were killed by the blast of the device while trying to defuse it.
USLA units were involved in the violent crackdown of anti-communist demonstrations during the December 1989 Romanian Revolution, first in the city of Timişoara, then in the capital Bucharest. Between December 16 and December 20 USLA troops secretly infiltrated among Army troops (called up in Timişoara to quell the revolt) and fired on the peaceful demonstrators. On December 21, 1989, and the following night, the USLA together with the Army and the Securitate troops tried several times and finally succeeded in clearing out the center of Bucharest of non-violent anti-communist protesters. The result of the operation was 49 dead, 463 wounded and 698 arrested.
On December 24, 1989, the USLA was called upon by the new Defence Minister Nicolae Militaru to protect the site of the Ministry of Defence from alleged terrorist attacks. The tanks guarding the site opened fire and killed eight officers, while the other six survivors were arrested and one fled. This deadly hoax was used by the new authorities to claim that the terrorist threat really existed.
On the December 26, 1989, the USLA was attached to the Romanian Ministry of Defence. On July 1, 1990, the name of the unit was changed to Brigada Antiteroristă and incorporated into the newly created Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
On August 20, 1991, four Sikh terrorists attempted to assassinate the Indian ambassador while he walked with his wife on the Aviatorilor Blvd. in Bucharest. The quick intervention of anti-terrorist officers guarding the ambassador resulted in failure for the terrorists: one was killed on the spot, another was captured, the third was injured and the fourth person vanished. The criminal investigation revealed that the four terrorists belonged to an Indian Sikh extremist-terrorist group.
At present, there is an increased flow of information shared with partner-foreign services tasked with fighting terrorism. Backed up by state-of-the-art equipment and counter-terrorism tactics, the unit is always on the alert.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the Inspectorate for Preventing and Fighting Terrorism was confronted with new challenges. To tackle the new terrorist threats, specialized units of the Romanian Intelligence Service implemented special plans designed for such circumstances.
- "ÎCCJ a desecretizat jurnalul Revoluţiei din 1989 de la Timişoara: Securitatea a tras în manifestanţi" Realitatea TV, July 09, 2008
- "49 de morti, 463 de raniti, 698 de arestati" Jurnalul National, April 22, 2002
- Mafia statală: 13. Rădăcina busuiocului, Dezvăluiri.ro
- (Romanian) History of the Counter-terrorist Brigade on the SRI website
- (English) Unofficial site
- (English) Information on Romania's counter-terrorism [ dead link ]
- (English) Qualifications required to be a member of USLA [ dead link ]
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