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  Hamas (1)


Other Hamas Symbols:
  Description: Two Palestinian flags form a circular frame around the Al Aksa Mosque in the center. On the flags, in Arabic, is the Islamic declaration of faith: the right flag translates as "There is no God but God" and the left translates as "Muhammad is His prophet." Beneath crossed swords is the word "Palestine." The full name of the group appears on the white banner at the bottom. At the top, center, there is a map of Israel and the territories in white.

Explanation: The Al Aksa Mosque is the third holiest shrine in Islam, and is regarded by Muslims as the spot from which Muhammad ascended to heaven. The image evokes Hamas's nationalist and religious aims, as do the Palestinian flags imprinted with Islam's declaration of faith. The crossed swords evoke jihad (holy war) and represent Hamas's dedication to violent struggle; they are also meant to allude to the emblem of the Muslim Brotherhood. The map of Israel and the territories is a symbol of Hamas's desire to rule the entirety of Israel.

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

Name Variations
  • Hamas is an Arabic acronym for "'Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya" (The Islamic Resistance Movement . The word Hamas also means "zeal" in Arabic.
  • The Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades is Hamas's military wing. (Izzedine al-Qassam was a militant Muslim in early 20th century Palestine who was killed in 1935.)
Hamas was founded in 1987 by Palestinian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas considers violent jihad against Israel to be a religious obligation and advances its ideology through the preaching of affiliated clerics across the West Bank and Gaza. Since 1993 the group has carried out more than 350 attacks - many of them suicide bombings - against civilians in Israeli shopping malls, cafes and passenger buses and against military targets. Funded by Islamic charities, Iran, Palestinian expatriates and private donors in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Hamas is politically active in Gaza and runs extensive social welfare programs there and in the West Bank - ensuring the group's popularity on "the street."

Focus of Operations
West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Syria

Major Attacks
  • September 9, 2003: Suicide bombing at Tzrifin hitchhiking post: 8 killed, 30 wounded.
  • March 27, 2002: Suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover: 30 killed, 140 injured (al-Qassam Brigades).
  • August 9, 2001: Suicide bombing at Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem: 15 killed, 130 injured.
  • June 1, 2001: Suicide bombing at Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel-Aviv: 21 killed, 120 injured.
  • Former spiritual leader: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (killed)
  • Former leader: Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi (killed)
  • Political Bureau Chief: Khalid Mishaal (in Damascus)
  • Deputy Political Bureau Chief: Mousa Abu Marzook
Militant Islamic fundamentalism

  • Destruction of Israel
  • Establishment of an Islamic state "over every inch of Palestine"
Suicide bombings and paramilitary operations against civilian and military targets.

Syria. Hamas also receives funding from private donors and organizations within Saudi Arabia, Iran and various Gulf states.

U.S.-Related Activities
  • April 2005, three brothers from a Dallas suburb were convicted in the U.S. of supporting terrorism by funneling money to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
  • In November 2004, Mohammad Salah, a U.S. citizen and Hamas operative, was found liable for the death of U.S. citizen David Boim, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank. Earlier, in August 2004, Salah was indicted in the U.S. for allegedly funneling money to Hamas.
  • In July 2004, members of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), some of whom are U.S. citizens, were indicted in the U.S. for fundraising to support Hamas's terrorist activities. On December 4, 2001, HLF was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity by the U.S. government.
  • In 2004, federal authorities convicted four brothers who ran a Texas computer company on numerous counts of money laundering, illegal shipments of computer equipment to Syria and Libya (both designated by U.S. as state sponsors of terror) and financial dealings with Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
  • In February 2002, a U.S. District Court ordered Iran to pay $183 million to the family of Ira Weinstein, an American citizen killed in a 1996 suicide bus bombing for which Hamas claimed responsibility.
  • Designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

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