HAMAS–the acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement)
—is the largest and most capable militant group in the Palestinian territories and one of the territories’ two major political parties. HAMAS
emerged in 1987 during the first Palestinian uprising, or intifada, as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. The group is committed to armed resistance against Israel and the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel’s place. HAMAS
has been the de facto governing body in the Gaza Strip since 2007, when it ousted the Palestinian Authority from power.
Primarily in Gaza; also maintains a presence in the West Bank; Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon; and key regional capitals, such as Doha, Qatar, and Cairo, Egypt.
Between 20,000 and 25,000
TACTICS AND TARGETS
uses improvised explosive devices, short- and long-range rockets and mortars, small arms, kidnapping operations, rocket-propelled grenades, man-portable air defense systems, antitank missiles, and unmanned aircraft systems in attacks against Israeli military forces and civilians, as well as against ISIS and other Salafist armed group members based in Gaza. The group also uses cyber espionage and computer network exploitation operations.
FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION
The US State Department designated HAMAS
as a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997.
Political Bureau chief since May 2017; has operated from Doha, Qatar, since 2020
Political Bureau deputy chief since 2017
Yahya Al Sinwar
Gaza Political Bureau chief since 2017
Political Bureau External Region chief since early 2021; Political Bureau chief from April 1996 to May 2017
29 APRIL 2022
military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, claims full responsibility for the shooting of an Israeli guard in the West Bank. Other Palestinian militants also claim responsibility for the attack.
23 NOVEMBER 2021
member kills an Israeli tour guide and wounds several civilians and Israeli police officers.
Gaza Strip and Israel
launches more than 4,000 rockets at Israel during 11 days of hostilities; Israel responds with widespread air and artillery strikes on HAMAS
targets in Gaza. The conflict results in 260 deaths in Gaza and 13 deaths in Israel.
1 OCTOBER 2015
Near Palestinian village of Beit Furik, West Bank
gunmen kill an American-Israeli citizen and his wife in their car.