Country Reports on Terrorism 2008: Foreign Terrorist Organizations

[U.S. State Department] Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade - Loose cells of Palestinian militants loyal to, but not under the direct control of, the Fatah movement. In 2008, the majority of al-Aqsa attacks were rocket and mortar attacks into southern Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza. Current strength - a few hundred. Iran has exploited al-Aqsa's lack of resources and formal leadership by providing funds and other aid, mostly through Hizbullah facilitators. Hamas - Includes military and political wings and was formed in 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The armed element, called the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, conducts anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilian targets inside Israel. Hamas also manages a broad, mostly Gaza-based network of "Dawa" activities that include charities, schools, clinics, youth camps, fund-raising, and political activities. A Shura council based in Damascus, Syria, sets overall policy. Hamas has several thousand operatives in the al-Qassam Brigades, along with its 9,000-man Executive Force. Hamas has an operational presence in every major city in the Palestinian territories and could potentially activate operations in Lebanon. Hamas is increasing its presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon with the goal of eclipsing Fatah's long-time dominance there and seizing control of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Hamas receives some funding, weapons, and training from Iran. Hizbullah - This Lebanese-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and follows the religious guidance of the late Ayatollah Khomeini's successor, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Hizbullah is closely allied with Iran and often acts at its behest. Hizbullah also has helped Syria advance its political objectives in the region. Since at least 2004, Hizbullah has provided training to Iraqi Shia militants, including in the construction and use of shaped charge IEDs that can penetrate heavily-armored vehicles, which it developed in southern Lebanon in the late 1990s. A senior Hizbullah operative, Ali Mussa Daqduq, was captured in Iraq in 2007 while facilitating Hizbullah training of Iraqi Shia militants. Palestine Islamic Jihad - Committed to the creation of an Islamic state in all of historic Palestine, including present day Israel, and the destruction of Israel through attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets. In April 2008 alone, PIJ fired 216 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza at various Israeli towns in southern Israel. The group's senior leadership resides in Syria. It receives financial assistance and training primarily from Iran.

2009-05-01 06:00:00

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