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 Terrorism

  INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST SYMBOLS DATABASE
  Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

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  Description: A picture of the Al Aqsa Mosque is at center. Beginning below the mosque two elongated Palestinian flags wrap around the entire image. Above the dome of the mosque two black rifles cross; a green grenade is nestled between the tips of the rifles. A Koranic inscription above the rifle says: "Fight, Allah will punish them by your hand, he will smother them in humiliation, and help you rise above them, and heal the bosom of believers." Along the bottom, the Arabic says "Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade."

Explanation: The Al Aqsa Mosque - the group's namesake - symbolizes the organization's Palestinian nationalism. Above the mosque are two M-16 rifles crossed over guarding the mosque, symbolizing the readiness to use force in defense of faith and culture. Wrapped around and underneath the image are two elongated Palestinian flags that symbolize the land in which this faith and culture exists. The Koranic writing and the very name of the group implies a sense of religious duty and justification for their willingness to commit violent acts. This emblem may be seen on flags, but it is also shown on videos put out by the brigades, and printed on face masks.


| Name Variations | Overview | Focus of Operations | Major Attacks | Leaders | Ideology | Goals | Methods | Sponsors | U.S.- Related Activities |

Name Variations
Palestinian National Liberation Movement Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Al Aqsa Brigades, Al Mujahedun Al Aqsa

Overview
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was formed as the military arm of Yasser Arafat's political party, al Fatah (Palestinian Authority), shortly after the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000. Financed in part by the Palestinian Authority, it has conducted some of the deadliest and most destructive attacks on Israeli civilians. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is comprised primarily of veterans of older militant groups. Like al Fatah, it is a secular organization whose ideology is centered on Palestinian nationalism. Several of its leaders were killed or arrested during the second intifada which began in 2000, but the organization remains a major force. Its operation and activity has become more decentralized, carried out by local cells throughout the territories. After a violet dispute with Hamas in 2007 following Hamas' electoral victory in Gaza, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militants were defeated and most survivors fled from Gaza.

In recent years the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has worked with various other militant Palestinian groups, claiming joint responsibility for attacks with groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Focus of Operations
West Bank, Gaza, Israel

Major Attacks
  • January 2007:  Suicide bombing in Eilat. 3 people killed (attack also claimed by with Palestinian Islamic Jihad).
  •  March 2004: Suicide bombing at a checkpoint at the Port of Ashdod. 10 people killed (attack also claimed by Hamas).
  • January 2004: Attack on a bus in Jerusalem.  11 people killed.
  • January 5, 2003: Twin suicide bombings in downtown Tel Aviv. 23 people killed, approximately 100 injured.
  • March 9, 2002:  Suicide bombing in a Jerusalem café. 11 killed, over 50 injured.
  • January, 27 2002: Dispatched first female suicide bomber, who detonated twenty pounds of explosives in central Jerusalem. 1 person killed, over 100 injured.
Leaders
  • Marwan Barghouti (serving five consecutive life terms in Israel for terrorist activity)
  • Naif Abu-Sharah: local commander in Nablus (killed by IDF forces in June 2004).
  • Fadi Kafisha: former head of the Tanzim (a Palestinian militant group) in Nablus.
  • Zakaria Zubeidi: local commander in Jenin.
Ideology
Secular Palestinian nationalism

Goals
Establishment of a Palestinian state through armed uprising.

Methods
Suicide bombings, paramilitary operations against civilian and military targets.

Sponsors
Iran, Palestinian Authority- although since 2002 the Palestinian Authority has distanced itself from the Brigades.

U.S.-Related Activities
Designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2002
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