This paper presents a coupling technique for integrating the element-free Galerkin method (EFGM) with the fractal finite element method (FFEM) for analyzing homogeneous, isotropic, and two-dimensional linear-elastic cracked structures subjected to mixed-mode (modes I and II) loading conditions. FFEM is adopted for discretization of the domain close to the crack tip and EFGM is adopted in the rest of the domain. In the transition region interface elements are employed. The shape functions within interface elements which comprise both the EFG and the finite element (FE) shape functions, satisfies the consistency condition thus ensuring convergence of the proposed coupled EFGM-FFEM. The proposed method combines the best features of EFGM and FFEM, in the sense that no special enriched basis functions or no structured mesh with special FEs are necessary and no post-processing (employing any path independent integrals) is needed to determine fracture parameters, such as stress-intensity factors (SIFs) and T-stress. The numerical results show that SIFs and T-stress obtained using the proposed method are in excellent agreement with the reference solutions for the structural and crack geometries considered in the present study. Also, a parametric study is carried out to examine the effects of the integration order, the similarity ratio, the number of transformation terms, and the crack length to width ratio on the quality of the numerical solutions. A numerical example on mixed-mode condition is presented to simulate crack propagation. As in the proposed coupled EFGM-FFEM at each increment during the crack propagation, the FFEM mesh (around the crack tip) is shifted as it is to the new updated position of the crack tip (such that FFEM mesh center coincides with the crack tip) and few meshless nodes are sprinkled in the location where the FFEM mesh was lying previously, crack-propagation analysis can be dramatically simplified. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.