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We hear so often of
Suicide Bombings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The terrorist group Hamas, often claims responsibility for these attacks. But Who and What is Hamas?
Take an inside look at one of the most malicious terror organizations in the world.
Hamas is the Palestinians’ major Muslim fundamentalist movement. With an extensive social service network and a terrorist wing that plots suicide
bombings in Israel, it is the main opposition to Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority, a determined foe of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and a major
player in the current Middle East crisis. In Arabic, the word “hamas” means zeal. But it’s also an Arabic acronym for “Harakat al-Muqawama
al-Islamiya,” or Islamic Resistance Movement. Many have commonly mistaken Hamas as part of The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is
headed by Arafat, and Islamic Jihad. The PLO is not a fundamentalist group, but the main secular, nationalist organization of Palestinian politics.
After the Signing of a peace deal between Israel and The PLO in 1993, Arafat founded the Palestinian Authority (PA), a new, Palestinian-led government
for the West Bank and Gaza.
Hamas and the PA sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete, and sometimes clash. Hamas has cut deals with the PA, but it accuses Arafat’s regime of being
corrupt and of selling out to Israel and America by participating in the peace process. Islamic Jihad, on the other hand, is a much smaller, less
organized group of Islamist radicals with closer ties to Iran. Unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad has no network of schools, clinics, or mosques, and it
focuses entirely on terrorism.
Hamas beliefs combine the ideas of Religious Fundamentalism and Palestinian Nationalism. It’s founding
pledges the group to carry out armed struggle, try to destroy Israel and replace
Arafat’s government with an Islamist state on the West Bank and Gaza, and raise “the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.” Here are some
stand out Quotes:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement
Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "
"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time
and vain endeavors."
"After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will
aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof
of what we are saying."
Hamas’ main tactical terror is Suicide Bombers. The military wing of Hamas - known as the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades - has carried out a series of
bloody attacks against Israeli targets. Among those targeted are public buses, cafes, shopping malls, and other public interests. Hamas has been known
to target Israeli civilians, rather than the Israeli Military.
The typical suicide bomber:
Since the signing of the Oslo Agreements in 1993, Palestinian terrorist organizations have sent more than 70 suicide bombers on missions against
Israeli targets. Fortunately, not all succeeded in their missions like Hotary. Last month Yediot Aharonot presented a profile of the typical suicide
47% of the suicide bombers have an academic education and an additional 29% have at least a high school education.
83% of the suicide bombers are single.
64% of the suicide bombers are between the ages 18-23; most of the rest are under 30.
68% of the suicide bombers have come from the Gaza Strip.
According to Islamic Tradition "he who gives his life for an Islamic cause will have his sins forgiven and a place reserved in paradise." According
to a poll conducted among Palestinian adults from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem at the end of May by Dr. Nabil Kukali and
the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), "a substantial majority (76.1%) support suicidal attacks like that of Netanya [in May], whereas
12.5% oppose, and 11.4% express no opinion."(1)
Thousands Rally for Suicide Bombers (2)
Hamas operates out of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority govern the population in most of these areas; most of the
land is either partly or mostly controlled by Israel. Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza during the
Six Day War
in 1967. Since 1993, when Israel and the PLO signed a peace treaty, the
major Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Gaza have been turned over to the Arafat-run Palestinian Authority.
Sheik Ahmed Yasin
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Firebrand and spiritual leader of Hamas, Yasin describes himself as a "soldier of Hamas" but disavows any knowledge of any specific attack plans to
be undertaken by the militants. In and out of jail on several occasions, Yasin is well known to be more militant than Yassar Arafat and PLO political
operatives. Yasin reportedly wields considerable influence over Hamas' overall tactics, according to several counter-terrorist experts.
Sheik Ahmed Yasin is the Political groups founder. He is a cleric from the Gaza Strip who has been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a
childhood sports injury. The following is an excerpt from The New York
When he speaks of Israel, it is an almost rhythmic recitation of grievances, the voice rising ever higher in controlled fury. "The Israelis are
killing our children, our women and our elders. Why are the Israelis killing us? Why are they destroying our homes? Why are they kicking us out to
live in the streets? Why is Israel confiscating our land? Why are they arresting hundreds of people without any reason? The Israelis are choking the
Palestinian people and preventing them from living. This is slow murder."
Hamas will not abandon its "military operations," Yasin declared, though he indicated the attacks could be called off if such a move was expedient.
"If the movement concludes that the atmosphere is ready, then the movement moves," he said. "If not, it stays quiet. If they find that it is in the
interest of the Palestinian people to stay quiet, they keep quiet. If they find it is for the benefit of the Palestinian people to strike, we
"We are in one trench against one enemy," Yasin said. "We have not weakened the Authority because we are not fighting the Authority. We do not want
the Government. We want this land; we want to remove the occupier from the land. We have different views on how to liberate our land, but this is the
only difference between us. We are brothers, in one trench, against one enemy."
The 64-year-old quadriplegic was released from prison in Israel in 1997, as King Hussein of Jordan's price for freeing Israeli Mossad agents after a
bungled attempt to assassinate Hamas leader in Jordan, Khaled Meshal. After his release, he devoted his energies to repairing damage to Hamas'
educational and charitable institutions inflicted during the 1996 crackdown against the movement.
"The Engineer"- Yahya Ayyash
In light of recent developments in Israel and the Middle-East, much interest has been generated in the "The Engineer". Yahya Ayyash allegedly led
the military wing of Hamas and was well known for his proficiency as a "bomb maker". He was killed on Jan 5, 1996 by improvised explosive device
contained within his cellular telephone. Israeli security officials have neither confirmed nor denied their involvement in Ayyash's death, but it is
known that he was #1 on their most wanted list.
Ramadan Abullah Shalah
Shalah is reported to be the new operational leader of the Islamic Holy War group. Islamic Holy War or Jihad is an off-shoot of Hamas, although they
may not be under direct operational control of them. Shalah and his group claimed that it was one of their members that undertook at least one of the
recent suicide bus bombings in Jerusalem. Shalah was last reported to be living in Syria.
Dief is believed to have assumed command of the military brigades of Hamas following the death of Ayyash. He reportedly leads from a small house on
the Gaza Strip, although he is known to travel frequently to both Lebanon and Syria. Mohammed Deif, who was considered Israel's most wanted man until
he was arrested by Palestinian police in May, 2000. Deif is alleged to be the mastermind behind a 1996 Jerusalem bus bombing that killed 26 people as
well as other terrorist acts. (3)
Much of Hamas’ funding comes from Palestinian expatriates, as well as from private donors in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf states. Iran
also provides significant support, which some diplomats say could amount to between $20-$30 million per year. Moreover, some Muslim charities in the
United States, Canada, and Western Europe funnel money into Hamas-backed social service groups. In December 2001, the Bush administration seized the
assets of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Muslim charity in the United States, for allegedly funding Hamas.
Major Source for this Article:
I have taken most of the information from this site. I have found Terrorism Answers to be one of the best sources of information available .
(1)Taken FromIsraeli Insider
(2)Picture Taken From
Hamas Founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin Assassinated
[*Edited from ATS to fit in Terror Analysis]
[Edited on 22-3-2004 by TrickmastertricK]