Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a Palestinian Islamist terrorist group sponsored by Iran and Syria. Founded in 1979 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, PIJ is the second-largest terrorist group in Gaza today (after Hamas). The U.S. State Department claims that PIJ has fewer than 1,000 members, though in 2011 the group claimed to have at least 8,000 battle-ready fighters in Gaza.
PIJ is dedicated to eradicating Israel and establishing an autonomous Islamic Palestinian state in the lands currently comprising Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. PIJ believes that the land of Palestine is consecrated for Islam, that Israel usurped Palestine, and, therefore, that Israel is an affront to God and Islam and that Palestine’s re-conquest is a holy task. Accordingly, PIJ refuses to negotiate with Israel, rejects a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and carries out numerous terror attacks against Israeli targets and interests. Unlike Hamas, PIJ does not participate in the political process or provide social services.
PIJ’s primary sponsor is Iran, which has provided the group with millions of dollars in direct funding, as well as training and weapons. PIJ has partnered with Iranian- and Syrian-sponsored Hezbollah in carrying out joint operations.
Based in Gaza until 1987, PIJ’s leadership was then exiled to Lebanon, where it reportedly began cooperating with Hezbollah and began receiving training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984. PIJ’s leadership relocated to Syria in 1989, but left a small group in Lebanon that launched joint attacks with Hezbollah in the 1990s.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984. Syria has also provided military aid and sanctuary to PIJ, allowing the terrorist group’s leadership to occupy a Syrian Army base from 1989 until 2012.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224829.htm.
According to the U.S. State Department, PIJ’s senior leadership continues to reside in Syria and some other leaders live in Lebanon, though most PIJ members live in Gaza.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224829.htm. International Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported in 2012 that PIJ’s Syria-based leadership had relocated to Iran but continued to enjoy positive ties with their Syrian patrons. However, a PIJ official denied that report, claiming “relations between [PIJ] and the Syrian government are excellent, unlike Hamas,”“Islamic Jihad Leadership Relocates to Iran,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), July 22, 2012, http://www.aawsat.net/2012/07/article55241265. whose leadership left Syria after refusing to support the Assad regime during the Syrian civil war. Official representatives of the group are also stationed elsewhere in the Middle East,“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224829.htm. including Iran.Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Hamas Isolated as Iran Boosts Ties with Islamic Jihad, Fatah,” Al-Monitor, February 12, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulseen/originals/2014/02/islamic-jihad-fatah-hamas-iran-palestinians.html; “Islamic Jihad: Israeli Attacks on Gaza Backfired,” Tasnim News Agency, July 15, 2014, http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/432079.
PIJ seeks to create a state based on sharia (Islamic law) in all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River—including Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Like Hamas, PIJ portrays the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a religious clash, not merely a territorial dispute. PIJ believes that the land of Palestine is consecrated for Islam and that, therefore, Israel usurped Palestine. Consequently, Israel’s very existence is an affront to God and Islam, and destroying Israel and reconquering Palestine are religious obligations.
In PIJ’s ideology, an Islamic state of Palestine can be established only through jihad (holy war) and the destruction of Israel. According to the “Manifesto of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine,” a document discovered by federal authorities investigating a Florida man with suspected PIJ ties, the group rejects “any peaceful solution to the Palestinian cause” and affirms “the Jihad solution and the martyrdom style as the only choice for liberation.”“Statement of the Attorney General Indictments,” U.S. Department of Justice, February 20, 2003, http://www.justice.gov/archive/ag/speeches/2003/02202003pressconference.htm. Accordingly, PIJ completely rejects negotiations with Israel or a two-state solution.
PIJ’s founders, Fathi Shaqaqi and Abd al-Aziz Awda, drew initial inspiration from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. However, both men left the Brotherhood in the late 1970s, feeling the group had become too moderate and did not focus enough on the plight of the Palestinians.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984. Inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution in Iran, Shaqaqi and Awda founded PIJ on the principles Khomeini advocated, with the goal of creating an Islamic state within the land that constituted the Palestine mandate prior to Israel’s creation in 1948.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
PIJ is dedicated singularly to violent jihad. While Hamas has engaged in indirect talks with Israel (including on prisoner exchanges and ceasefires), PIJ refuses to negotiate with Israel (though the group has participated in pan-Palestinian ceasefires negotiated by Egypt). Also unlike Hamas, PIJ generally does not provide social services.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984. However, in 2013, when Iran and Hamas were estranged due to Hamas’s abandonment of the Iranian-allied Assad regime in Syria’s civil war, Iran tasked PIJ with distributing $2 million in Iranian food aid in Gaza from the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, a Beirut-based Iranian charity. The New York Times interpreted the move as an attempt to extend Iran’s influence in Gaza while undermining Hamas and strengthening the rival PIJ.Fares Akram, “In Gaza, Iran Finds an Ally More Agreeable Than Hamas,” New York Times, July 31, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/world/middleeast/in-gaza-iran-finds-a-closer-ally-than-hamas.html.
Ramadan Shallah served as PIJ’s secretary-general from 1995 until 2018. That September, PIJ’s leadership council elected Ziad al-Nakhalah to be the new secretary-general.Susan Aschoff, “Jihad Leader Emerged from Shadows of USF,” St. Petersburg Times, February 21, 2003, http://www.sptimes.com/2003/02/21/TampaBay/Jihad_leader_emerged_.shtml; Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad names new leader,” Associated Press, September 28, 2018, https://apnews.com/d14e7e6a4a68481980b6db8052853f03. PIJ is governed by a leadership council. PIJ elected nine new members to the council in September 2018 in the group’s first international elections since 1980. The political council is made up of 15 members, nine of whom are elected by balloted voting. The secretary-general appoints two members, and the remaining four are approved by the council. The council represents PIJ members in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israeli prisons, and abroad. Elections are reportedly to be held every four years.Ahmad Abu Amer, “Has Iran’s influence increased in Palestinian arena?” Al-Monitor, October 16, 2018, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/10/palestinian-islamic-jihad-elections-iran-influence.html.
PIJ’s leadership has operated from Syria since 1989, when they relocated from Lebanon after Israel expelled them a year earlier. In 2012, rumors circulated that the group’s leadership had relocated to Iran, but a PIJ official denied that.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984; “Islamic Jihad Leadership Relocates to Iran,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), July 22, 2012, https://eng-archive.aawsat.com/theaawsat/news-middle-east/islamic-jihad-leadership-relocates-to-iran. According to the U.S. State Department, PIJ operates primarily in the Gaza Strip but its leaders also live in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2017,” U.S. Department of State, September 2018, 322, https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/283100.pdf.
The al-Quds Brigades, PIJ’s armed wing, carries out violent attacks against Israel. The Brigades has regional staff commands. Each member within a command oversees a cell within that command’s region. The PIJ leadership issues orders and staff commanders carry out PIJ operations and coordinate cells.“Terrorist Organization Profile: Al-Quds Brigades,” START: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, accessed June 28, 2014, http://www.start.umd.edu/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4430. The U.S. State Department claims that PIJ has fewer than 1,000 members,“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6. Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224829.htm. though the group claimed in 2011 to have at least 8,000 battle-ready fighters in Gaza.Crispian Balmer and Nidal al-Mughrabi, “Islamist Jihad Ready for All-Out War with Israel,” Reuters, November 3, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/03/us-palestinians-israel-islamicjihad-idUSTRE7A24RR20111103.
Iran is PIJ’s primary source of financial support, according to the U.S. State Department.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6. Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224829.htm. A 1998 lawsuit against Iran in U.S. federal court revealed that the Islamic Republic allocated $2 million in its annual budget to PIJ.Richard Sisk, “Terror Victim’s Dad Wins $247M Lawsuit Vs. Iran,” New York Daily News, March 12, 1998, http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/terror-victim-dad-wins-247m-lawsuit-iran-article-1.789077. That number has since skyrocketed—in late 2013, PIJ sources revealed that the terror group received about $3 million per month from Iran.Hazem Balousha, “Islamic Jihad May Respond If Israel Enters Syria War,” Al-Monitor, September 2, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/islamic-jihad-syria-us-strike.html. During the 2012 war between Israel and Hamas, PIJ fired rockets into Israeli territory and hung banners across Gaza streets with the phrase, “Thank you, Iran.”Hazem Balousha, “Islamic Jihad May Respond If Israel Enters Syria War,” Al-Monitor, September 2, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/islamic-jihad-syria-us-strike.html. A February 2014 report by Ali Nourizadeh, director of the Center for Iranian Studies in London, stated that Iran provides PIJ with $100 to $150 million annually.“Expert: Hamas Received $2 Billion from Iran; Islamic Jihad Gets $150 Million Annually,” Algemeiner, February 11, 2014, http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/02/11/expert-hamas-received-2-billion-from-iran-islamic-jihad-gets-150-million-annually/.
In mid-2015, a senior PIJ leader said the group was suffering from its worst financial crisis in history. One PIJ leader attributed the crisis to Egypt’s closure of the smuggling tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border. The same source also said Iran had cut back its funding to the group.Hazem Balousha, “Islamic Jihad’s coffers run dry,” Al-Monitor, June 2, 2015, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/06/palestine-islamic-jihad-financial-crisis-money-iran-hezbolla.html. Iran reportedly cut funding because PIJ refused to issue a statement supporting Iran in its conflict against Saudi Arabia in Yemen.Khaled Abu Toameh, “Report: Iran stops cash flow to Islamic Jihad organization,” Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2015, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Iran-stops-cash-flow-to-Islamic-Jihad-organization-403727. Iran had reportedly cut PIJ’s funding by 90 percent as of January 2016. The loss in funding allegedly forced PIJ to slash salaries of its employees. According to media reports, Iran still considered PIJ a “friend” but one the country is unable to continue to support financially. PIJ’s leaders insisted the group still had good relations with Iran.“Iran cuts 90% of support for Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Middle East Monitor, January 11, 2016, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/23278-iran-cuts-90-of-support-for-palestinian-islamic-jihad.
In May 2016, the Iranian government reportedly restored its relations with PIJ with an annual allocation of $70 million. The allocation followed visit to Tehran by a PIJ delegation the previous month.“Iran resumes funding for Palestinian Islamic Jihad: report,” i24 News, May 25, 2016, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/114490-160525-iran-resumes-funding-for-palestinian-islamic-jihad-group-report. As of August 2018, Iran reportedly transferred $30 million annually to PIJ and $70 million to Hamas.Elior Levy, “Iran's $100 million aid to Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Ynet News, August 3, 2018, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5321985,00.html. In February 2019, PIJ spokesman Abu Hamza told Iran’s Al-Alam TV that “since the day of its establishment, the Islamic Republic [of Iran] has been supporting the Palestinian fighters financially, militarily, in raining, and in all aspects.”“Islamic Jihad shows off tunnels, rocket workshop on Iran TV,” Times of Israel, March 1, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-shows-off-tunnels-rocket-workshop-on-iran-tv/.
A U.S. lawsuit filed in June 2020 alleged Qatar provided funding to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) through three Qatari financial institutions, the Qatar Charity, Masraf Al Rayan, and Qatar National Bank. The Qatar Charity is a member of the U.S.-sanctioned Union of Good charity network. All three institutions have links to members of the Qatari royal family. The plaintiffs are friends and family members of 10 victims who died in terror attacks in Israel carried out by Hamas and PIJ. The lawsuit accuses Qatar of coopting “several institutions that it dominates and controls to funnel coveted U.S. dollars (the chosen currency of Middle East terrorist networks) to Hamas and PIJ under the false guise of charitable donations.”Ray Hanania, “Lawsuit names Qatar’s royal family in killings of 10 Americans in Israel,” Arab News, June 11, 2020, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1688051/middle-east; Adam Kredo, “Lawsuit Alleges Qatar Secretly Financed Terror Attacks that Killed Americans,” Washington Free Beacon, June 10, 2020, https://freebeacon.com/national-security/lawsuit-alleges-qatar-secretly-financed-terror-attacks-that-killed-americans/.
Recruitment and Training:
Fathi Shaqaqi founded PIJ after being jailed for his involvement in the Palestine Liberation Force.Stephen E. Atkins, Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004), 239. Original PIJ recruits included ex-prisoners Shaqaqi met in jail, upon their return to the Gaza Strip.Stephen E. Atkins, Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004), 239. Shaqaqi was also able to recruit in the early 1980s through early PIJ member Abdul Aziz Awda, a popular preacher and professor of Islamic law. Awda attracted many to the PIJ cause through his sermons at one of Gaza’s largest mosques.Stephen E. Atkins, Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004), 239.
Since PIJ’s goal has always been to execute strategic military operations against Israel, the group has focused on targeted recruiting rather than simply gaining a large membership. For example, PIJ recruited students to demonstrate at Bir Zeit University in the early 1980s. An April 1987 incident resulted in Israeli forces opening fire on demonstrators, resulting in the death of one student.Stephen E. Atkins, Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004), 239.
PIJ’s leadership began recruiting suicide bombers in the early 1990s and originally did not permit women to serve in that role. However, PIJ officially began recruiting female suicide bombers in 2003, justifying women bombers as defending their honor against Israeli invaders. PIJ’s first female suicide bomber, a 19-year-old student named Hiba Daraghmeh, attacked a shopping mall, killing three.Debra D. Zedalis, “Female Suicide Bombers,” Strategic Studies Institute, June 2004, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub408.pdf. The next such bomber, Hanadi Jaradat, a 29-year-old lawyer, blew herself up in a restaurant in October 2003, killing 21.Debra D. Zedalis, “Female Suicide Bombers,” Strategic Studies Institute, June 2004, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub408.pdf. Selection and persuasion methods for women suicide bombers are similar to those employed for men. Recruiters of female suicide bombers “take advantage of the candidates’ innocence, enthusiasm, personal distress, and thirst for revenge,” according to U.S. Army civilian professional Debra Zedalis.Debra D. Zedalis, “Female Suicide Bombers,” Strategic Studies Institute, June 2004, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub408.pdf.
In 2015, PIJ reportedly recruited 200 men between the ages of 19 and 22. According to a 2018 estimate by the U.S. State Department, PIJ has almost 1,000 members.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2017,” U.S. Department of State, September 2018, 322, https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/283100.pdf.
Like other violent Islamist groups, PIJ uses training methods and tactics such as exercises in suicide operations and battlefield tactics against Israeli soldiers. PIJ has boasted of opening its ranks to children as young as six years old. PIJ “summer camps” draw as many as 10,000 participants per session.Harriet Sherwood, “Playing Politics: Summer Camp for Gaza’s Children,” Guardian (London), July 29, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/29/gaza-children-militant-summer-camps. The camps’ activities include wielding AK-47s, planting land mines, and mock operations to kidnap Israeli soldiers.“Following Hamas Lead, PIJ Opens Camps to Train Child Soldiers,” Tower, June 13, 2013, http://www.thetower.org/following-hamas-lead-palestinian-islamic-jihad-opens-camps-to-train-child-soldiers/. PIJ spokesman Daoud Shihab describes such training of children as a way to ensure “a generation strong [in] resistance.”“Following Hamas Lead, PIJ Opens Camps to Train Child Soldiers,” Tower, June 13, 2013, http://www.thetower.org/following-hamas-lead-palestinian-islamic-jihad-opens-camps-to-train-child-soldiers/.
These “Generation of Faith” camps are not restricted to combat training, however. Recruits are “educated intellectually, militarily, and politically.”Hazem Balousha, “Islamic Jihad, Hamas Hold Military Training Camps for Children,” Al-Monitor, June 21, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/06/gaza-summer-camps-children-islamic-jihad.html#. Ahmad al-Moudalal, a PIJ leader who helps to train children fighters, explained, “We are resistance movements. It is therefore normal for us to want to attract young people, instill the culture of resistance in their minds and prepare them to bear arms against the Israeli enemy.”Hazem Balousha, “Islamic Jihad, Hamas Hold Military Training Camps for Children,” Al-Monitor, June 21, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/06/gaza-summer-camps-children-islamic-jihad.html#.
According to the U.S. State Department, members recruited in 2015 were subjected to training programs between 36 days and six months.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2017,” U.S. Department of State, September 2018, 322, https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/283100.pdf.
Also Known As:
Co-founder, former secretary-general (deceased)
Abd al-Aziz Awda
A key component of PIJ’s doctrine is the belief in violent jihad in order to liberate Palestine. PIJ has been responsible for numerous suicide attacks and hundreds of rockets against Israeli civilian centers, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians and soldiers. While PIJ has signed on to wider Palestinian ceasefires with Israel, it is highly unlikely the group will ever renounce terrorism, which has become an integral part of PIJ’s raison d’etre. PIJ believes its goal of creating an Islamic Palestine can be achieved only through the destruction of Israel, and so jihad has become a central tenant of PIJ’s ideology. In pursuit of its jihadist ideology, PIJ has launched numerous bombing attacks against Israeli civilian targets.
- August 2022:
- August 1: Israeli forces enter Jenin in the West Bank and arrest Bassem Saadi, PIJ’s West Bank commander, along with his son-in-law and aide, Ashraf al-Jada. Israeli forces seize a gun, ammunition, and cash during the raid. A local PIJ cell opens fire on the Israeli soldiers, who return fire and reportedly wound several of the PIJ gunmen. A 17-year-old member of PIJ, identified as Dirar al-Kafrayni, is killed during the raid. In response to the arrests, PIJ declares a state of “alertness” and that it is raising its fighters’ “readiness.” Israel closes schools within 50 miles of the border.Emanuel Fabian, “IDF arrests senior PIJ member in Jenin; Palestinian teen from PIJ killed in the raid,” Times of Israel, August 2, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-teen-killed-during-idf-raid-of-jenin-to-arrest-senior-pij-member/.
- August 5: Israel launches Operation “Breaking Dawn,” striking PIJ targets in Gaza. At least 10 people are killed, including a 5-year-old girl, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. PIJ commander Tayseer al-Jabari is also among the fatalities. Nakhalah tells Iran’s al-Mayadeen TV network PIJ is “starting the fight” and the “fighters of the Palestinian resistance have to stand together to confront this aggression.” Nakhalah warns there will be no red lines against Israel and PIJ is “going into battle.” PIJ launches dozens of missiles toward Israeli civilian centers. No Israeli casualties are reported.Fares Akram and Joseph Krauss, “Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 8, including senior militant,” Associated Press, August 5, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/israel-strikes-gaza-rising-tensions-4539de5f30c605b3423d3472351cd638; “Islamic Jihad’s leader, currently in Tehran, vows: ‘We are going into battle,’” Times of Israel, August 5, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/islamic-jihads-leader-currently-in-tehran-vows-we-are-going-into-battle/; Steve Hendrix, Hazem Balousha and Shira Rubin, “Israeli strikes in Gaza kill senior militant leader and at least 9 others,” Washington Post, August 5, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/08/05/israel-gaza-idf-strike/.
- August 6: An Israeli strike kills Khaled Mansour, PIJ’s southern Gaza commander, in an apartment building in Rafah in southern Gaza. According to the Israeli military, Mansour was responsible for years’ worth of rocket and mortar strikes against Israel and was plotting an attack against Israel using anti-tank missiles and rockets. The strike reportedly also kills two other militants and five civilians. A PIJ rocket misfires, killing six in the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. PIJ targets Ashkelon with rockets.Fares Akram and Tia Goldenberg, “Cease-fire between Palestinians, Israel takes effect in Gaza,” Associated Press, August 8, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-militant-groups-gaza-strip-0c1565488cc2dc03f80200edcdd49a56; Isabel Kershner, “Khaled Mansour, the slain militant commander, was behind a string of attacks, the Israeli military said.,” New York Times, August 7, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/07/world/middleeast/khaled-mansour-islamic-jihad.html; Tia Goldenberg and Joseph Krauss, “Misfired rockets may have killed over a dozen in Gaza battle,” Associated Press, August 7, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-tel-aviv-403d37366347e0f2446e2f90a9b0d02f.
- August 7: Israel arrests 20 PIJ members in the West Bank overnight and strikes suspected rocket launching sites in Gaza. An Egypt-negotiated ceasefire goes into effect at 11:30 p.m. The United Nations, Qatar, United States, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority also aid in the negotiations. Israel denies reports it had agreed to release Saadi and Palestinian security prisoner Khalil Awawdeh as part of the ceasefire. Nakhalah calls the conflict a victory for PIJ because Israel failed to destroy it completely. He also threatens to resume violence if Awawdeh and Saadi are not released. According to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry, the three days of conflict killed 46 Palestinians, including 15 children, and wounded 360. At least 70 Israelis were wounded but no fatalities were reported. PIJ says 12 of its fighters were killed and a smaller armed group says one of its fighters was killed. Israel says some of the fatalities were caused by misfired Palestinian rockets. Videos emerge of PIJ rockets misfiring and striking Palestinian towns. The Israeli military says Gaza militants fired at least 1,100 rockets over the course of three days while Israel launched 147 airstrikes in Gaza. At least two PIJ rockets had been fired toward Jerusalem but were shot down. About 380 rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, while approximately 200 failed to clear the border and landed inside Gaza, possibly killing one-third of the conflict’s casualties. Hamas does not participate in the conflict, though two Hamas-affiliated policemen not involved in the fighting were also killed.Fares Akram and Tia Goldenberg, “Cease-fire between Palestinians, Israel takes effect in Gaza,” Associated Press, August 8, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-militant-groups-gaza-strip-0c1565488cc2dc03f80200edcdd49a56; Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner, “Israel and Palestinian Militants Reach a Cease-Fire,” New York Times, August 7, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/07/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-cease-fire-jihad.html; Gaza Report, Twitter post, August 7, 2022, 2:56 p.m., https://twitter.com/gaza_report/status/1556353667988611075?s=20&t=GsBOZIbX89Hx3XlvDTWRtg; Lahav Harkov, “‘Israel did not agree to free Islamic Jihad prisoners in Gaza ceasefire,’” Jerusalem Post, August 8, 2022, https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-714168; Mohammed al-Hajjar, Lubna Masarwa, and Huthifa Fayyad, “Israel and Palestinians agree ceasefire following days of Gaza bombardment,” Middle East Eye, August 7, 2022, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestinians-gaza-agree-ceasefire-days-bombardment; “As Gaza ceasefire holds, Israel lifts all security restrictions,” Times of Israel, August 8, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-starts-rolling-back-security-restrictions-as-gaza-ceasefire-holds/; Tia Goldenberg and Joseph Krauss, “Misfired rockets may have killed over a dozen in Gaza battle,” Associated Press, August 7, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-tel-aviv-403d37366347e0f2446e2f90a9b0d02f; “Fresh Israel-Palestinian Islamic Jihad truce prevents ‘full-scale war,’” U.N. News, August 8, 2022, https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/08/1124212; Agence France-Presse, “Israel Arrests 20 Members Of Islamic Jihad Group In West Bank: Army,” Barron’s, August 7, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/news/israel-arrests-20-members-of-islamic-jihad-group-in-west-bank-army-01659848707?tesla=y.
- August 8, 2022: PIJ spokesman Khaled About Hait tells Al Jazeera the ceasefire is contingent on Israel releasing Saadi and Awawda within two weeks. Hait says an Israeli refusal to release the two prisoners would break the ceasefire agreement.“Palestinian Islamic Jihad says no ceasefire if members not freed,” Al Jazeera, August 8, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/8/palestinian-islamic-jihad-says-no-ceasefire-if-members-not-freed.
- April 28, 2022: PIJ releases a propaganda video of its Jenin aerial drones dropping an explosive device on an Israeli military jeep in September 2019. Spokesman Abu Hamza warns “the enemy” to “think carefully and reflect: what are our drones like today, and how are their capabilities three years after that operation?” The Israeli military vehicle was not damaged in the 2019 drone strike. Abu Hamza further warns Israel that PIJ and other terror groups will one day turn the country into a “mass of fire and flame.”Aaron Boxerman, “Islamic Jihad threatens Israel over Al Aqsa in new video to mark Quds Day,” Times of Israel, April 28, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/islamic-jihad-threatens-israel-over-al-aqsa-in-new-video-to-mark-quds-day/.
- April 25, 2022: Israel’s Shin Bet security service breaks up a PIJ cell in the West Bank allegedly under the direction of senior PIJ official Jihad Shaker Diab Ganam in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. According to the Shin Bet, Ganam directed Rafah-based PIJ operative Ahmad Nabil Ahmad Judeh to recruit Palestinians around Jenin in the West Bank with the intention of launching violent attacks. Among those arrested is Yasmeen Shaaban, a mother of four from the village of Jalama near Jenin, who allegedly helped transfer weapons and money to the West Bank operatives. Shaaban had previously been arrested for aiding in a suicide bombing. Israeli security officials accuse PIJ militants of launching recent rockets from Gaza under orders from PIJ leadership in Lebanon.Amos Harel, “Analysis | Hamas Likely Behind the Rocket Fire From Lebanon to Israel. A Wide-scale Conflict Is Still Far Off,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), April 25, 2022, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-hamas-likely-behind-lebanon-rocket-fire-to-israel-a-major-conflict-is-still-far-off-1.10761870; Emanuel Fabian, “Shin Bet says it busted West Bank terror cell that planned bomb attack,” Times of Israel, April 25, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/shin-bet-says-it-busted-west-bank-terror-cell-in-that-planned-bomb-attack/.
- April 2022:
- April 15: Israeli police storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, after reportedly coming under attack from fireworks and stones. Police clash with stone-throwing protesters and arrest more than 400 people. Hamas calls for “popular mobilization” at the mosque against Israel.“Hamas calls for popular mobilization to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas, April 15, 2022, https://hamas.ps/en/post/4000/Hamas-calls-for-popular-mobilization-to-defend-Al-Aqsa-Mosque; “Jerusalem: Over 150 hurt in clashes at al-Aqsa Mosque compound,” BBC News, April 15, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-61105497.
- During the convergence of Easter Sunday, Passover, and Ramadan, a group of Israeli rightwing activists gather at the Temple Mount and Israeli police enter the compound in response to ensuing clashes and further allegations of Palestinians storing weapons in the mosque. Hamas condemns Israel for attacking Palestinian worshippers.“Hamas condemns attacking Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa,” Hamas, April 17, 2022, https://hamas.ps/en/post/4006/Hamas-condemns-attacking-Palestinian-worshippers-at-Al-Aqsa; “Tensions flare as Israeli police enter Al-Aqsa Mosque again,” Al Jazeera, April 17, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/17/israel-police-enter-al-aqsa-mosque-arrest-two.
- April 18: Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepts a rocket launched from Gaza. Neither Hamas nor PIJ claim responsibility for the attack.Joseph Krauss, “Gaza militants fire rocket into Israel as tensions soar,” Associated Press, April 18, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-jerusalem-israel-west-bank-d7a308e3c0872ac01a51d745626e7303; “Jerusalem Calms After Israeli-Palestinian Clashes at Holy Site,” New York Times, April 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/04/15/world/jerusalem-al-aqsa-mosque#al-aqsa-mosque-clashes.
- April 19: Israeli jets strike a Hamas “weapons manufacturing site” in Gaza. There are no reported casualties. Nakhalah warns Israel’s blockade of Gaza will not silence the Palestinians. Media reports circulate of PIJ fighters preparing underground tunnels for incursions into Israel. A PIJ official tells Agence France-Presse the group has defensive and offensive tunnel systems for use in “taking Israeli soldiers captive, repelling Israeli ground offensives and carrying out various field operations.” Thanking Iran, PIJ spokesman Abu Hamza says PIJ has replenished its supply of rockets since the May 2021 conflict with Israel. Another PIJ fighter says he and others have received orders to mobilize “and be on high alert to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.” Hamas publishes video of its members firing surface-to-air missiles at Israeli jets the night before. Israel reports the missiles caused no damage.Agence France-Presse, “Gaza militants prepare tunnels as next conflict looms,” France 24, April 19, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220419-gaza-militants-prepare-tunnels-as-next-conflict-looms; Emanuel Fabian, “Hamas shows off attempt to knock down Israeli jets,” Times of Israel, April 19, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/hamas-shows-off-attempt-to-knock-down-israeli-jets/.
- April 20-21: During a meeting of Hamas leaders, Hamas deputy leader Yahya Sinwar calls for the prevention of “independent” initiatives such as the April 18 rocket attack. Sinwar says any action must be coordinated by all of Gaza’s factions as well as its political leadership. Israeli police stop a group of Israeli rightwing activists from marching through Jerusalem’s Old City. Hamas calls the march a provocation. At approximately 10:30 p.m., militants in Gaza launch a rocket toward the southern Israeli town of Sderot, striking a parked car and a wall near a home. There are no reported casualties. Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepts antiaircraft fire. After midnight, Israeli jets target a Hamas air defense military post and an underground site used for the storage of chemical materials for rocket engines. Later in the morning, Gaza militants attempt to launch another rocket into Israel but it lands inside Gaza. No groups claim responsibility for the overnight rockets but Israeli security officials reportedly suspect PIJ.Jack Koury, “Hamas Asks Gaza Factions to Avoid ‘Independent’ Rocket Fire at Israel, Sources Say,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), April 19, 2022, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-hamas-asks-gaza-factions-to-avoid-independet-rocket-fire-at-israel-sources-say-1.10751678; Dov Lieber, Anas Baba, and Fatima AbdulKarim, “Israel Airstrikes Target Gaza After Rocket Fire Amid Jerusalem Tensions,” Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/israeli-police-block-jewish-marchers-from-jerusalem-flashpoints-11650478517; Emanuel Fabian and staff, “IDF hits Hamas sites during pair of overnight raids in response to Gaza rocket fire,” Times of Israel, April 21, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-said-to-strike-hamas-targets-in-gaza-in-response-to-second-rocket-in-48-hours/.
- April 22, 2022: Militants fire two rockets from Gaza toward southern Israel. One of the rockets lands near a residential building in northern Gaza while the second reaches Israeli territory but causes no damage. On April 24, Israel closes the main Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel to pressure Hamas to rein in militants. Hamas condemns the move as collective punishment.Rina Bassist, “Rockets launched at Israel from Lebanon, Gaza,” Al-Monitor, April 25, 2022, https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/04/rockets-launched-israel-lebanon-gaza; Steve Hendrix and Sarah Dadouch, “Israel shells Lebanon after rocket attack in western Galilee,” Washington Post, April 25, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/25/israel-rocket-lebanon-aqsa-palestinian-jerusalem-galilee-unrest/.
- May 2021:
- April 2-5, 2022: During a predawn operation on April 2, Israeli security forces intercept three PIJ gunmen from Jenin on their way to carry out an attack in Israel. Israeli forces kill the three gunmen in an ensuing firefight. On April 5, Israeli media reports PIJ wanted to launch the rockets in revenge for the killings but Hamas exerted pressure because it did not want to provide an excuse for a larger Israeli operation into Gaza.“Hamas said to have stopped Islamic Jihad from firing rockets to avenge dead members,” Times of Israel, April 5, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-said-to-have-stopped-islamic-jihad-from-firing-rockets-to-avenge-dead-members/; Emanuel Fabian, “Bennett says troops foiled ‘ticking time bomb’ in raid on Islamic Jihad cell,” Times of Israel, April 2, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/bennett-says-troops-foiled-ticking-time-bomb-in-raid-on-islamic-jihad-cell/.
- January 1, 2022: Militants in Gaza launch two rockets toward the Mediterranean Sea, which explode off the coast of Tel Aviv. Palestinian armed factions in Gaza claim inclement weather caused the rockets to inadvertently launch. PIJ reportedly evacuates in Gaza and raises its alert level in preparation for Israeli retaliation. Israel launches retaliatory airstrikes against Hamas security posts and a training camp. Hamas’s Aqsa TV reports militants fired two surface-to-air missiles toward Israeli planes in retaliation for the airstrikes. Israel’s military confirms the launch of one missile at one of its planes but reports it did not inflict damage. There are no casualties reported on either side.“Palestinian rockets explode off Tel Aviv coast, military says,” Reuters, January 2, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/palestinian-rockets-explode-off-tel-aviv-coast-military-says-2022-01-01/; Emanuel Fabian and staff, “Islamic Jihad said on alert, evacuates bases after Gaza rockets land off Tel Aviv,” Times of Israel, January 1, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-said-on-alert-evacuates-bases-after-gaza-rockets-land-off-tel-aviv/.
- January 1, 2022: PIJ demands Israel release Hisham Abu Hawash, who has been on a hunger strike for 135 days in protest of his detention in Israel. PIJ claims Abu Hawah “is being subjected to a process of assassination, of elimination,” and threatens violent retribution against Israel if Abu Hawash dies in prison. PIJ’s military wing reportedly receives instructions to be ready to respond in the event of Abu Hawash’s death.Aaron Boxerman, “Islamic Jihad, PA demand release of hunger-striking Palestinian detainee,” Times of Israel, January 1, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-pa-demand-release-of-hunger-striking-palestinian-detainee/; Emanuel Fabian and staff, “Islamic Jihad said on alert, evacuates bases after Gaza rockets land off Tel Aviv,” Times of Israel, January 1, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-said-on-alert-evacuates-bases-after-gaza-rockets-land-off-tel-aviv/.
- December 28, 2021: Media reports emerge of a joint PIJ and Hamas week-long joint military drill, called “Rukn a-Shadid 2,” to practice confronting Israeli forces. According to Palestinian media reports, the drills are meant to “convey political and military messages to Israel and the other mediators” that Hamas and other Gaza terror groups are losing patience with efforts to reach a long-term ceasefire with Israel. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Resistance Committees also participate in the drills.Shahar Klaiman, “Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad stage military drill in Gaza,” Jewish News Syndicate, December 28, 2021, https://www.jns.org/hamas-palestinian-islamic-jihad-stage-military-drill-in-gaza/.
- May 20: IRGC Quds Force commander Ismail Ghaani writes to Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif to praise Hamas’s actions during the conflict. Ghaani addresses Deif as a “living martyr” and writes he is confident of Hamas’s victory. After an eight-hour lull in rocket fire overnight, Hamas and PIJ renew their campaign with salvos targeting Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, and neighboring communities. Rockets strike homes in Ashkelon and Ashdod, wounding one. An anti-tank missile strikes an empty military bus in southern Israel, wounding one. The Israeli military claims to strike at least three homes in Gaza’s Khan Younis and Rafah belonging to Hamas commanders. As of May 20, Hamas and PIJ have launched more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel. Hamas and PIJ claim only 20 of their fighters have been killed in the fighting while Israel claims it has killed 130 fighters from both groups. An Egyptian intelligence official says a ceasefire is likely by the end of the week. Israel’s security cabinet approves a truce for “quiet in exchange for quiet.” A Hamas official confirms a truce will go into effect at 2 a.m. the following day.Seth J. Frantzman, “IRGC head praises Hamas commander Deif as ‘living martyr’ – analysis,” Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/irgc-head-praises-hamas-commander-deif-as-living-martyr-analysis-668656; Fares Akram and Joseph Krauss, “Israel unleashes strikes as expectations for truce rise,” Associated Press, May 20, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/gaza-israel-middle-east-israel-palestinian-conflict-caac81bc36fe9be67ac2f7c27000c74b; Anna Ahronheim, “Rocket fire continues despite talk of an imminent ceasefire,” Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/rocket-strikes-ashkelon-house-leaving-26-year-old-with-light-injuries-668657; “Hamas says Gaza truce with Israel to begin at 2 a.m on Friday,” Reuters, May 20, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-cabinet-approves-gaza-truce-yedioth-ahronoth-reporter-says-2021-05-20/.
- May 18-19: After a six-hour lull in rocket fire, Gaza militants continue to launch rockets toward Israeli cities. Hamas threatens to strike Tel Aviv. On May 18, a mortar shell strikes a packing house in Israel’s Eshkol region, killing two Thai foreign workers and wounding 10 others. Rockets also target the Erez pedestrian crossing and Keren Shalom crossing into Gaza, wounding one Israeli soldier and forcing both crossings to close. The crossings are used to bring food and aid into Gaza. Hamas claims to fire multiple rockets toward six Israeli air force bases overnight. The Israeli military says there is no indication any of its bases were struck by rockets. At least 50 rockets are fired toward Israel, 10 of which fall within Gaza. The military strikes a PIJ cell preparing a rocket attack from central Gaza. The IDF claims to kill at least 10 members of Hamas and PIJ in overnight airstrikes in Khan Younis and Rafah in Gaza. The IDF also strikes several targets overnight in the upscale Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, where many Hamas commanders reportedly live. Israeli planes also target Hamas’s network of underground tunnels in Gaza. As of May 19, Hamas and PIJ have launched almost 3,700 rockets since the beginning of the conflict. The fighting kills at least 217 in Gaza and wounds 1,400, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. The Israeli military says at least 160 Hamas and PIJ operatives have been killed since the start of the fighting. According to Israel’s Magen David Adom, the fighting has killed 12 in Israel and wounded more than 330.Fares Akram and Ravi Nessman, “Palestinians go on strike as Israel-Hamas fighting rages,” Associated Press, May 18, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-gaza-middle-east-israel-israel-palestinian-conflict-ab0bfc2b25d2a03756fb0c084fca1a3d; Judah Ari Gross and Staff, “Hamas says it targeted air force bases in barrages toward south, central Israel,” Times of Israel, May 19, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-says-it-targeted-air-force-bases-in-barrages-toward-south-central-israel/; Jackie Northam, “Israeli Warplanes Pound Hamas Tunnels In Gaza,” NPR, May 19, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/05/19/998152164/israeli-warplanes-pound-hamas-tunnels-in-gaza; Anna Ahronheim, “IDF plans ‘intensive’ strikes against Hamas tunnel network,” Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/rocket-barrage-renews-after-night-of-quiet-idf-continues-striking-hamas-668391; Anna Ahronheim, “Israel says 160 terrorists killed in Gaza since beginning of operation,” Jerusalem Post, May 18, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/idf-ships-eliminate-targets-off-coast-of-gaza-strip-report-668385.
- May 17: The French and Egyptian governments issue a joint call for a ceasefire. U.S. officials reportedly tell Israeli leaders to begin winding down operations in Gaza. Israel kills Hussam Abu Harbeed, PIJ’s northern division commander, in Gaza.Agence France-Presse, “Macron, El-Sisi agree ‘absolutely necessary’ to end Israel-Gaza hostilities: Elysee,” Arab News, May 17, 2021, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1860071/middle-east; Ellen Knickmeyer, Aamer Madhani, and Lisa Mascaro, “AP source: US encouraging Israel to wind down Gaza offensive,” Associated Press, May 19, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/europe-middle-east-israel-palestinian-conflict-government-and-politics-d313985ade629d9c33e9147e07712180; “Israeli air strike kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza,” Reuters, May 17, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-air-strike-kills-islamic-jihad-commander-gaza-militant-group-says-2021-05-17/.
- May 16: Militants fire at least 150 rockets toward southern Israel, striking buildings in Ashkelon and Ashdod, including a synagogue. At least 66 people are wounded in the strikes. Two rockets destroy five cars and a house in Ashkelon, while another lands near a supermarket in Beersheba. No injuries are reported in those strikes. Israeli airstrikes on Gaza continue, killing at least two and wounding 25, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. Israeli airstrikes target a Hamas tunnel system, which collapses and brings down houses above, killing 42. Israel says civilian casualties are unintentional. Since the beginning of the conflict, at least 192 have been killed in Gaza and 1,125 injured. Hamas and PIJ have launched more than 2,000 rockets and missiles since the beginning of the conflict. The United States and United Nations say they are working on a ceasefire agreement.Ibrahim Dahman, Abeer Salman, Kareem Khadder, Mohammad Tawfeeq, Ben Wedeman, and Hadas Gold, “Israeli strikes hit home in Gaza refugee camp, media offices as conflict intensifies,” CNN, last updated May 16, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/15/middleeast/israel-palestinian-conflict-intl/index.html; Lahav Harkov, “Israel showed US ‘smoking gun’ on Hamas in AP office tower, officials say,” Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-showed-us-smoking-gun-on-hamas-in-ap-office-tower-officials-say-668303; “Wide scale Hamas rocket barrage scores direct hits in Ashkelon, Ashdod,” Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/rocket-barrages-from-gaza-continue-to-slam-into-israel-sunday-668287; Tovah Lazaroff, “Guterres to UNSC: We’re working on a Gaza ceasefire, violence must stop,” Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/guterres-to-unsc-were-working-on-a-gaza-cease-fire-violence-must-stop-66831; Nidal Al-mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller, “Israel air strikes kill 42 Palestinians, rockets fired from Gaza,” Reuters, May 16, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-bombs-hamas-gaza-chiefs-home-fighting-enters-seventh-day-2021-05-15/.
- May 15: Hamas and PIJ continue to launch missiles toward Israeli cities. An Israeli airstrike destroys a building in Gaza hosting the offices of the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and other media outlets. Israel accuses Hamas of using civilian infrastructure, including the building hosting press offices, as shields. Israel presents evidence that Hamas military intelligence units were operating in the building. Hamas launches dozens of missiles and rockets towards Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Ashdod, and Sderot, killing one in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan and raising the death toll in Israel to 10. Militants fire at least 120 rockets that night at southern Israel. Almost 300 rockets are fired throughout the day, about 40 of which fall inside Gaza.Ibrahim Dahman, Abeer Salman, Kareem Khadder, Mohammad Tawfeeq, Ben Wedeman, and Hadas Gold, “Israeli strikes hit home in Gaza refugee camp, media offices as conflict intensifies,” CNN, last updated May 16, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/15/middleeast/israel-palestinian-conflict-intl/index.html; “Wide scale Hamas rocket barrage scores direct hits in Ashkelon, Ashdod,” Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/rocket-barrages-from-gaza-continue-to-slam-into-israel-sunday-668287; Nidal Al-mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller, “Israel air strikes kill 42 Palestinians, rockets fired from Gaza,” Reuters, May 16, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-bombs-hamas-gaza-chiefs-home-fighting-enters-seventh-day-2021-05-15/.
- May 14: Rioters from Lebanon approach the Israeli border and are repelled by Israeli forces. The rockets are fired from Syria, one falls into the sea or open areas of the Golan. There are no injuries or immediate claims of responsibility. IDF aircraft target a PIJ anti-tank missile operative, two Hamas anti-tank missile positions, and a Hamas surface-to-surface rocket position in Gaza. As of nightfall on May 14, more than 2,000 rockets have been fired toward Israel in five days of fighting. Approximately half of those projectiles are intercepted while 350 fall inside of Gaza. The Hamas-run health ministry claims 126 Palestinians have been killed in five days of fighting, including 31 minors, while 950 are wounded. Israeli casualties rise to eight dead, including two children. Hamas reportedly passes messages to Israel that it is interested in a ceasefire. Israeli media reports increasing chances of a ceasefire over the weekend.Judah Ari Gross, “IDF: Overnight bombardment targeted Hamas’s tunnel network under Gaza City,” Times of Israel, May 14, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-overnight-bombardment-targeted-hamass-tunnel-network-under-gaza-city/; “450 bombs in 35 minutes: This is how the IDF tricked Hamas,” Arutz Sheva, May 14, 2021, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/306223; Israel Defense Forces, Twitter post, May 14, 2021, 1:46 a.m., https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1393082846324088833; Israel Defense Forces, Twitter post, May 14, 2021, 9:01 a.m., https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1393189744771837952; Israel Defense Forces, Twitter post, Israel Defense Forces, Twitter post, May 14, 2021, 3:15 p.m., https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1393283891000119300; Israel Defense Forces, Twitter post, May 14, 2021, 3:38 p.m., https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1393289683153600516; “3 projectiles from Syria fall in open area in Golan Heights; none injured,” Times of Israel, May 14, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/3-projectiles-from-syria-fall-in-open-area-in-golan-heights-none-injured/; Emanuel Fabian, “Gaza health ministry says 126 Palestinians killed in conflict,” Times of Israel, May 14, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/gaza-health-ministry-says-126-palestinians-have-been-killed-in-operation-guardian-of-the-walls/; Jacob Magid, “Gaza ceasefire appears increasingly likely over weekend — diplomatic sources,” Times of Israel, May 14, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/a-ceasefire-seeming-increasingly-likely-over-weekend-diplomatic-sources/; Nidal Al-mughrabi and Stephen Farrell, “Israel pounds Gaza to curb Palestinian militants but rockets still fly,” Reuters, May 14, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-fires-artillery-into-gaza-amid-persistent-palestinian-rocket-attacks-2021-05-13/.
- May 13-14: Israel strikes at least five Hamas cells preparing to launch anti-tank guided missiles. A rocket strikes a building in Tel Aviv, wounding five Israeli civilians. Rocket fire kills an Israeli soldier and a 5-year-old in Israel. As of May 13, at least 46 Israelis are wounded and seven are killed since the beginning of the conflict. In Gaza, the death toll reaches at least 109. Hamas and PIJ confirm 20 deaths between the two groups. Israel claims to have struck almost 1,000 militant targets in Gaza. Hamas begins sending armed drones into Israel while continuing to target southern Israel, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem with rockets. The drones are either shot down or blown up in the air. That night, Israel mobilizes air and ground forces to strike inside Gaza. The Israeli military denies it is an invasion and that its forces are firing artillery from the Israeli side of the border. Egypt sends mediators to Israel to discuss a ceasefire. Hamas rejects a proposal for a three-hour lull in the fighting to further discussions and calls an Israeli invasion would be an opportunity to capture Israeli soldiers. Overnight, Israel conducts airstrikes on some 150 targets around Gaza while infantry near the Gaza-Israel border—but staying on the Israeli side—strike nearby Hamas positions. The IDF claims to damage several kilometers of Hamas’s underground tunnels. According to some reports, Israel intentionally leaked misinformation of a ground invasion to draw Hamas into positions around and beneath the border for aerial bombardment.Anna Ahronheim and Tzvi Joffre, “Soldier killed as cabinet okays more attacks,” Jerusalem Post, May 13, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/four-dead-from-latest-wave-of-rockets-aimed-at-central-israel-667902; Anna Ahronheim and Tzvi Joffre, “IDF strikes four anti-tank missile cells in Gaza as rockets pound Tel Aviv,” Jerusalem Post, May 13, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-striking-gaza-in-response-to-rocket-barrage-directed-at-jerusalem-667776; Nidal Al-mughrabi and Rami Ayyub, “Gaza conflict intensifies with rocket barrages and air strikes,” Reuters, May 13, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/biden-expects-spiralling-israel-gaza-conflict-end-soon-2021-05-12/; Anna Ahronheim, “IDF: Air and ground troops attacking in Gaza Strip,” Jerusalem Post, May 14, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-striking-gaza-in-response-to-rocket-barrage-directed-at-jerusalem-667776; Nidal Al-mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller, “Israel fires artillery into Gaza, Palestinian rocket attacks persist,” Reuters, May 13, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-fires-artillery-into-gaza-amid-persistent-palestinian-rocket-attacks-2021-05-13/; Josef Federman and Fares Akram, “Israel threatens Gaza ground invasion despite truce efforts,” Associated Press, May 13, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/israel-palestinians-conflict-violence-spreads-1ad9613de6ad16c4d248da9934cf0412.
- May 12: Hamas and PIJ continue to fire rockets toward Israeli cities. Rockets target Sderot and other Israeli communities near the Gaza border. Hassan Abu al-Ata, deputy commander of PIJ’s Gaza Brigade, is killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza. PIJ promises a harsh response. A rocket strikes a home in Sderot, wounding three. A Kornet anti-tank guided missile strikes a Jeep in Israel’s Netiv Ha’Asara, north of Gaza, killing a soldier and wounding three others. Israeli media reports more than 1,200 rockets have been launched at Israel since the start of fighting on Monday, though 200 fell within Gaza. Israel’s missile defense systems reportedly intercept 80 to 90 percent of the rockets.“Hamas says it fired 130 rockets into Israel in latest barrage,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/hamas-says-it-fired-130-rockets-into-israel-in-latest-barrage/; “3 hurt, one seriously as rocket hits home in Sderot; another hits Ashkelon house,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/3-hurt-one-seriously-as-rocket-hits-home-in-sderot-another-hits-ashkelon-house/; “Military issues names and photos of 6 Hamas commanders killed in airstrikes,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/military-issues-names-and-photos-of-6-hamas-commanders-killed-in-airstrikes/; “TV: Some 1,200 rockets have been launched from Gaza so far,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/tv-some-1200-rockets-have-been-launched-from-gaza-so-far/; Staff and Aaron Boxerman, “Hamas official tells Russia: We’re ready for ceasefire with Israel,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-official-tells-russia-were-ready-for-ceasefire-with-israel/.
- May 11: Hamas claims to launch 137 rockets within a five-minute span toward the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, just south of Tel Aviv. Israel claims one-third of the rockets from Gaza had fallen short and landed inside the coastal enclave, resulting in increased Palestinian casualties. An Israeli strike in Gaza kills a Hamas commander and three PIJ commanders. The strike primarily targets Sameh Fahim Al-Mamlouk, a senior PIJ military commander. The other two PIJ fighters killed are field commanders who oversaw the group’s rocket attacks. Rockets strike homes in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, killing two and wounding dozens of others, marking the first Israeli fatalities in the conflict. A rocket strike outside a home in Rishon Lezion kills one inside and a neighbor dies from a heart attack after the strike.Aaron Boxerman, “IDF kills 4 Islamic Jihad, Hamas commanders in targeted strikes in Gaza,” Times of Israel, May 11, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-military-kills-3-islamic-jihad-commanders-in-targeted-strike/; Nidal Al-mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller, “Israel strikes kill senior Hamas commander, Palestinians fire rockets,” Reuters, May 12, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/35-killed-gaza-3-israel-violence-escalates-2021-05-12/; Judah Ari Gross and Aaron Boxerman, “2 women killed by rockets in Ashkelon amid massive barrages from Gaza,” Times of Israel, May 11, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/2-killed-by-rockets-in-ashkelon-amid-massive-barrages-from-gaza/.
- May 10: Palestinians in Jerusalem throw rocks at an Israeli car, causing the driver to lose control. PIJ joins Hamas in launching hundreds of rockets towards Israeli border communities, with some reaching as far as Jerusalem. One rocket strikes a house near Jerusalem, lightly wounding those inside. Hamas claims the rocket fire is “in retaliation to [Israel’s] crimes and aggression on the holy city and brutality against our people in Sheikh Jarrah and Al Aqsa Mosque.” Hamas demands Israel remove its forces from both the Temple Mount and the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood and sets a deadline of that evening. PIJ posts a video online of an anti-tank missile striking an Israeli car near Gaza, wounding one. In response, Israel launches airstrikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. At least nine people are killed and two wounded in Gaza. Israeli authorities claim the strikes killed eight Hamas operatives while the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza claimed the Israeli strikes killed 21 people, including 10 children. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls for an immediate end to rocket attacks on Israel. Rocket attacks from Gaza continue into May 11 as the death toll rises to two Israelis and 26 in Gaza. At least 30 are wounded in southern Israel.Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber, “Israel Strikes Hamas Targets After Rockets Fired at Jerusalem,” Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/israeli-military-says-rockets-fired-from-gaza-toward-jerusalem-11620646448; “Islamic Jihad releases footage of anti-tank missile attack,” Times of Israel, May 10, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/islamic-jihad-releases-footage-of-anti-tank-missile-attack/; “Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi Before Their Meeting,” U.S. Department of State, May 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-and-jordanian-foreign-minister-ayman-safadi-before-their-meeting/; Nidal Al-mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller, “Israel airstrikes kill 20 in Gaza, Palestinians say, after militants fire rockets at Jerusalem,” Reuters, May 10, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-airstrikes-kill-20-gaza-palestinians-say-after-militants-fire-rockets-2021-05-10/.
- May 9: As Israelis rally in Jerusalem to mark Jerusalem Day, celebrating the 1967 capture of east Jerusalem from Jordan, riots break out on the Temple Mount as hundreds of Palestinians reportedly throw rocks and firecrackers at security forces. Israeli police storm the Temple Mount in response. The protests coincide with an expected Israeli supreme court decision on the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The decision is delayed because of the rioting.Tzvi Joffre, “Jerusalem Day festivities shaken by rockets, violent riots,” Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/jerusalem-day-riots-break-out-on-temple-mount-667735; “Palestinians say nine killed in Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip,” Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-striking-gaza-in-response-to-rocket-barrage-directed-at-jerusalem-667776; “Hamas chief writes to Leader, asks Muslim world to support al-Quds,” Tehran Times, May 9, 2021, https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/460758/Hamas-chief-writes-to-Leader-asks-Muslim-world-to-support-al-Quds.
- December 2020:On December 29, PIJ announces widescale military drills, reportedly organized by Iran, in preparation for a future conflict with Israel. PIJ launches eight rockets into the sea off of Gaza’s coast. The drill includes Hamas and smaller armed groups.Nidal al-Mughrabi, “Gaza militants fire rockets into the sea in first joint exercise,” Reuters, December 29, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east-africa/gaza-militants-fire-rockets-into-sea-first-joint-exercise-2020-12-29/.
- February 2020: On February 19, a PIJ sniper team fires on a group of Israeli soldiers and police officers along the Gaza-Israel border. There are no casualties. The IDF returns fire and “identified a hit,” though the Palestinians report no casualties. On February 23, Israeli forces kill a PIJ member attempting to plant explosives along the Gaza-Israel border fence. PIJ launches more than 21 rockets into Israel from Gaza in retaliation. In response to the rocket fire, Israeli forces strike multiple PIJ targets in Syria, killing at least two PIJ members. On February 24, PIJ continues to launch dozens of rockets toward Israel’s southern communities in response. Israel’s defense systems intercept most of the rockets but there are reports of damage to homes and minor injuries. Israel launches airstrikes on PIJ rocket positions in Gaza. PIJ pledges to fire on Tel Aviv.Judah Ari Gross, “IDF: Islamic Jihad snipers fire at troops on Gaza border; none injured,” Times of Israel, February 19, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-islamic-jihad-snipers-fire-at-troops-on-gaza-border-none-injured/; “Israel strikes Islamic Jihad sites in Gaza and Syria after rocket attacks,” BBC News, February 24, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51608786; Anna Ahronheim, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad bombards South after clash near Gaza border,” Jerusalem Post, February 24, 2020, https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/IDF-fires-mortar-shells-at-terrorists-in-southern-Gaza-Strip-report-618454.
- November 2019: PIJ declares it is going to war and launches more than 350 rockets into Israel beginning on November 12 after Israel assassinates Baha Abu al-Ata, PIJ’s military commander in northern Gaza. Israel responds with airstrikes targeting rocket positions along the Gaza border. At least 23 Palestinians are killed, including PIJ field commander Khaled Moawad Faraj. Israel reports injuries but no fatalities. The PIJ-Hamas joint command issues a statement that it will not allow Israel to return to a policy of targeted assassinations. Nakhalah reportedly arrives in Egypt on November 13 for ceasefire talks.Adam Rasgon and Jacob Magid, “Islamic Jihad declares ‘We’re going to war,’ after IDF kills its strongman,” Times of Israel, November 12, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-declares-were-going-to-war-after-idf-kills-its-strongman/; Anna Ahronheim, “IDF hits anti-tank missile team; Gaza dead at 23, mostly terrorists,” Jerusalem Post, November 13, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Massive-barrage-towards-southern-and-central-Israel-shatters-quiet-607709; Maayan Lubell and Nidal al-Mughrabi, “Gaza death toll reaches 23 in second day of escalation,” Reuters, November 13, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-violence/gaza-death-toll-reaches-23-in-second-day-of-escalation-idUSKBN1XN0FR; “Israel kills top Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant in Gaza,” BBC News, November 12, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50386164; “Islamic Jihad chief said to arrive in Cairo amid reported ceasefire efforts,” Times of Israel, November 13, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-chief-said-to-arrive-in-cairo-amid-reported-ceasefire-efforts/.
- May 3-5, 2019: On May 3, PIJ snipers wound two Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border during weekly protests. Israeli forces retaliate with a strike on a Hamas post near the border, killing two. PIJ and Hamas launch almost 700 rockets into Israel over the course of three days, killing at least four Israeli civilians and wounding dozens more. Most of the rockets are intercepted or fall in open areas, but at least 50 rockets reportedly hit Israeli population centers. Israel retaliates with airstrikes on more than 350 targets in Gaza. The airstrikes kill at least 29, including fighters from Hamas and PIJ, as well as civilians, according to Hamas, though Israeli military officials say some Palestinian civilians were actually killed by misfired Hamas rockets. It is reportedly the most violent conflict between the two sides since the 2014 war. PIJ threatens to launch a full-scale war with Israel. On May 5, Israel restarts its tactic of targeted assassinations after a five-year lull and kills Hamed Ahmed al-Khodary, a senior Hamas finance official accused of funneling Iranian money to PIJ and Hamas. Egypt negotiates a new ceasefire that goes into effect that night. Hamas claims that though this round of violence is over, the conflict will continue.Jacob Magid, “Two soldiers wounded by gunfire on Gaza border; IDF hits Hamas post, killing 2 ,” Times of Israel, May 3, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-nabs-gazan-armed-with-knife-who-breached-border-fence-into-israel/; “As ceasefire goes into effect, Netanyahu says Gaza campaign not over,” Times of Israel, May 6, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-ceasefire-goes-into-effect-netanyahu-says-gaza-campaign-not-over/; “Islamic Jihad threatens to escalate Gaza violence to all-out war,” Times of Israel, May 5, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/islamic-jihad-threatens-to-escalate-gaza-violence-to-all-out-war/; Felicia Schwartz, “Gaza, Israel Reach Cease-Fire After Days of Deadly Clashes,” Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/gaza-israel-reach-cease-fire-after-days-of-deadly-clashes-11557133042?mod=hp_lead_pos5; Richard Spencer, “Israel and Gaza reach ceasefire after days of violence,” The Times (London), May 6, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/israel-on-brink-of-war-after-gaza-rocket-strikes-g3mh57md9; “The Latest: Hamas says it doesn’t want a new war with Israel,” Associated Press, May 5, 2019, https://www.apnews.com/7965a592ba4b4e79ad93276ff97a1159.
- November 12-14, 2018: PIJ and Hamas fire more than 450 rockets into Israel, killing one and wounding dozens. After Israel responds with airstrikes in Gaza, the groups agree to a ceasefire on November 13. PIJ claims victory after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigns on November 14 in protest of the ceasefire.Oren Liebermann, “Biggest Israel-Gaza firefight since 2014 ends in ceasefire,” CNN, November 13, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/13/middleeast/israel-gaza-tesnions-escalate-intl/index.html; Judah Ari Gross and Raoul Wootliff, “Hamas claims Liberman’s resignation as a ‘victory for Gaza,’” Times of Israel, November 14, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-claims-libermans-resignation-as-a-victory-for-gaza/.
- October 26-27, 2018: PIJ fires dozens of rockets into Israel. Israel responds by bombing multiple targets in Gaza. There are no casualties reported on either side.Raf Sanchez, “Islamic Jihad vows revenge after three Palestinian teenagers killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza,” Telegraph (London), October 29, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/29/islamic-jihad-vows-revenge-three-palestinian-teenagers-killed/; Reuters, “Israel Bombs Dozens of Gaza Targets After Palestinian Islamic Jihad Group Fires Rockets Over Border,” Newsweek, October 27, 2018, https://www.newsweek.com/israel-bombs-dozens-gaza-targets-after-palestinian-islamic-jihad-group-fires-1190308.
- May 28, 2018: PIJ fires 28 mortars at Israel from Gaza. The Israeli military intercepts most of the rockets but one lands outside of a kindergarten causing damage but no injuries.Amos Harel, Almog Ben Zikri, Yaniv Kubovich, and Jack Khoury, “Barrage of 28 Mortars Fired From Gaza to Israel; Kindergarten's Yard Hit,” Haaretz, May 29, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/rocket-sirens-heard-near-the-gaza-strip-border-1.6131162.
- December 29, 2017: PIJ fires three mortar shells into southern Israel. Two of the mortars are intercepted while the third strikes the Israeli community of Sha’ar Hanegev, causing minor damage to a building. The IDF assesses that the mortars used in the attack and in the November 30, 2017, barrage were Iranian made.Judah Ari Gross, “Islamic Jihad was behind Friday’s mortar barrage, IDF assesses,” Times of Israel, January 3, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-was-behind-fridays-mortar-barrage-idf-assesses/.
- December 12, 2017: Two PIJ operatives are killed “while carrying out a jihadist mission,” according to a PIJ statement. Palestinian media reports initially blame an Israeli drone strike, which the Israeli military denies.Anna Ahronheim, “Two Palestinian Islamic Jihad Militants Killed in Gaza,” Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2017, https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Palestinian-media-IDF-forces-kill-two-militants-in-Gaza-Strip-517819.
- November 30, 2017: PIJ fires 12 mortar shells from northern Gaza at an Israeli army post northeast of Gaza, causing minimal damage and no casualties.Judah Ari Gross, “Mortar barrage fired at IDF on Gaza border, in retaliation for destroyed tunnel,” Times of Israel, November 30, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-fire-shells-at-troops-on-gaza-border-idf-retaliates/.
- October 30, 2017: Israel destroys a tunnel beneath the Gaza-Israel border, killing 14 militants, including the head of PIJ’s armed wing in central Gaza. PIJ promises revenge. PIJ admits that the tunnel was meant for “kidnapping soldiers in order to free prisoners [from Israeli prisons].”Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams, “Seven killed as Israel destroys tunnel dug under Gaza border,” Reuters, October 30, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-israel-tunnel/seven-killed-as-israel-destroys-tunnel-dug-under-gaza-border-idUSKBN1CZ1SL; Judah Ari Gross, “Mortar barrage fired at IDF on Gaza border, in retaliation for destroyed tunnel,” Times of Israel, November 30, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-fire-shells-at-troops-on-gaza-border-idf-retaliates/.
- December 1, 2015: Palestinian Authority police arrest a six-member PIJ cell transporting grenades, firearms, and other explosives in the West Bank. The cell reportedly planned to use the weaponry to attack the IDF.Tamar Pileggi, “PA busts Islamic Jihad cell planning attacks on IDF,” Times of Israel, December 2, 2015, http://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-busts-islamic-jihad-cell-planning-attacks-on-idf/.
- October 3, 2015: PIJ claims responsibility after 19-year-old Mohannad Halabi stabs two Israeli men to death in Jerusalem’s Old City. Police shot him dead. Israeli authorities demolished Halabi’s house on January 9, 2016. A Palestinian campaign to rebuild the house raised $60,000 and lauded Halabi as the “initiator of the Jerusalem intifada.”Agence France-Presse, “Palestinians collect $60,000 to rebuild dead attacker’s home,” Yahoo News, January 12, 2016, http://news.yahoo.com/palestinians-collect-60-000-rebuild-dead-attackers-home-204948996.html.
- August 20, 2015: Four rockets land inside Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, causing no injuries. Israel accuses PIJ of firing the rockets with Iranian support. PIJ denies the charge.Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Nidal al-Mughrabi, and Dan Williams, “Israel launches strikes into Syria after rocket attack,” August 20, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/21/us-israel-lebanon-rockets-idUSKCN0QP1OR20150821.
- October 29, 2014: Moataz Hejazi shoots and critically wounds prominent right-wing Israeli activist Yehuda Glick in Jerusalem, Israel. After the shooting, police track Hejazi to his home and he dies in a shootout.Daniel K. Eisenbud, “Police and Shin Bet kill suspect in shooting of right-wing activist Yehuda Glick,” Jerusalem Post, October 30, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Suspect-in-right-wing-activist-Yehuda-Glicks-shooting-killed-by-police-380238. The following day, PIJ publishes an obituary for Hijazi on its website, saying that he had been a member of the organization.“Nir Hasson, “Israeli police kill Palestinian suspect in Jerusalem assassination attempt,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), October 30, 2014, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.623528.
- September 4, 2014: After the 2014 Israel-Gaza war ends, Al Jazeera broadcasts a video of PIJ’s tunnel systems. In the video, a PIJ militant declares that the group is preparing for its next war with Israel and that the tunnels will be used to launch attacks and fire mortars on Israel.“Video shows Islamic Jihad’s new Gaza tunnels,” i24 News, September 9, 2014, http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/43188-140909-video-shows-islamic-jihad-s-new-gaza-tunnels;“#4478-Palestinian Islamic Jihad Digs New Tunnels in Gaza,” Middle East Media Research Institute, September 4, 2014, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/4478.htm.
- August 20, 2014: According to Iran’s state-run network Press TV, PIJ has fired 3,000 rockets at Israel during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war.“Islamic Jihad fired 3,000 rockets on Israeli cities,” Press TV, August 30, 2014, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/08/30/377060/gaza-fires-3000-rockets-into-israel/.
- August 8, 2014: After a three-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expires, PIJ fires three Grad rockets at Ashkelon and promises to continue firing until Israel accedes to all of Hamas’s demands.Ola Attalah, “Islamic Jihad Claims Rocket Barrage at Israel,” Daily Star (Beirut), August 8, 2014, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Aug-08/266473-islamic-jihad-claims-rocket-barrage-at-israel.ashx#axzz3A3RYuBbz.
- August 5, 2014: An Egyptian-negotiated 72-hour ceasefire takes hold. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators head to Cairo to discuss a longer truce. Representatives of Fatah, Hamas, and PIJ are part of the Palestinian delegation.“Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire Holding, Truce Talks to Open in Cairo,” Voice of America, August 5, 2014, http://www.voanews.com/content/israel-hamas-begin-72-hour-truce-gaza/1971724.htm; “Rory Jones, “Israel, Hamas Agree to Gaza Policing Plan,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/articles/israel-hamas-agree-to-gaza-policing-plan-1407372983.
- July 28, 2014: Seven Palestinian children die after a rocket strikes a playground in Gaza’s al-Shati refugee camp, while another rocket hits al-Shifa Hospital. Palestinians initially blamed Israel, but the strikes were the result of misfired rockets by PIJ.Yifa Yaakov, “IDF: Terrorists’ Rockets Hit Gaza Hospital, Refugee Camp,” Times of Israel, July 28, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-terrorists-rockets-hit-gaza-hospital-refugee-camp/.
- July 8, 2014: Israel launches Operation Protective Edge, aimed at striking Hamas and ending rocket fire from Hamas and PIJ in Gaza.“Operation Protective Edge: Israel bombs Gaza in retaliation for rockets,” Guardian (London), July 8, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/operation-protective-edge-israel-bombs-gaza-in-retaliation-for-rockets. PIJ takes credit for firing 60 rockets in recent days and claims it has begun an operation called Stable Building.Spencer Ho and Yifa Yaakov, “Israel Hits Hamas, Islamic Jihad Leaders after Rockets Land North of Tel Aviv,” Times of Israel, July 8, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-pounds-dozens-of-gaza-targets-in-major-counteroffensive/. Some analysts argue PIJ has been strengthened by the latest conflict.
- March 2014: PIJ fires a round of mortars from Gaza into Israel, prompting an Israeli strike that kills three PIJ commanders. In retaliation, PIJ launches at least 130 locally made rockets into Israel as part of a military operation called Breaking the Silence.JC Finley, “US & UN Condemn Islamic Jihad Rocket Attack on Israel,” United Press International, March 12, 2014, http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/03/12/US-UN-condemn-Gaza-rocket-attacks-on-Israel/8791394656512/; “Rasha Abou Jalal, “Islamic Jihad gains support in Gaza as Hamas declines,” Al-Monitor, April 10, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/04/islamic-jihad-support-gaza-expense-hamas.html. The operation is reportedly in coordination with Hamas.Hani Ibrahim, “Hamas’ Growing Rivalry with Islamic Jihad,” Al Akhbar English (Beirut), April 16, 2014, http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/hamas%E2%80%99-growing-rivalry-islamic-jihad.
- December 22, 2013: An Israeli police sapper is injured when a bomb he was trying to defuse on a Bat Yam bus explodes.“Disaster Averted as Bomb Explodes on Bus after Passengers Evacuated,” Times of Israel, December 22, 2013, http://www.timesofisrael.com/i-injured-in-explosion-on-bat-yam-bus/. Four PIJ members are arrested a month later for coordinating the attack.““Bat Yam Bus Bombers Caught, Were Planning Larger Blast in Tel Aviv,” Times of Israel, January 2, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/four-islamic-jihad-members-arrested-over-bat-yam-bus-bombing/.
- June 24, 2013: Six rockets fired from Gaza explode in southern Israel. No casualties are reported. Israeli intelligence believes PIJ fired the rockets as an act of defiance against the Hamas authorities in Gaza.“Six Rockets Fired from Gaza Explode in Southern Israel,” Times of Israel, June 24, 2013, http://www.timesofisrael.com/three-rockets-fired-from-gaza-explode-in-south/.
- November 2012: PIJ takes credit for a rocket fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv. The rocket explodes in an open field, causing no casualties.“Gaza Terrorists Fire Two Rockets at Tel Aviv,” Jerusalem Post, November 16, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Gaza-terrorists-fire-two-rockets-at-Tel-Aviv.
- November 2012: Hamas and PIJ are credited for bombing a Tel Aviv bus that wounds at least 30 people.Gil Cohen, “Israel Arrests Hamas, Islamic Jihad Cell behind Tel Aviv Bus Bomb,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), November 22, 2012, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-arrests-hamas-islamic-jihad-cell-behind-tel-aviv-bus-bomb-1.479958.
- March 2012: PIJ fires almost 200 missiles into Israel from Gaza.Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Islamic Jihad Movement Maintains Popularity in Gaza,” Al-Monitor, May 7, 2013 http://www.al-monitor.com/pulseen/originals/2013/05/islamic-jihad-movement-gaza-palestine.html.
- October 29, 2011: PIJ fires a number of rockets into southern Israel, killing one civilian and wounding two.“Palestinian Islamic Jihad | Australian National Security,” Australian Government, accessed July 7, 2014, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/PalestinianIslamicJihad.aspx.
- August 20, 2011: PIJ fires a volley of rockets into southern Israel, killing one civilian and wounding seven.“Palestinian Islamic Jihad | Australian National Security,” Australian Government, accessed July 7, 2014, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/PalestinianIslamicJihad.aspx.
- January 8, 2011: PIJ fires two mortars into southern Israel, killing two Thai nationals.“Palestinian Islamic Jihad | Australian National Security,” Australian Government, accessed July 7, 2014, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/PalestinianIslamicJihad.aspx.
- June 2008: PIJ claims responsibility for firing a Grad rocket that hit a shopping mall in Ashkelon, Israel, wounding 15. Israeli authorities accuse Iran of providing PIJ with Grad rockets.“15 Wounded as Grad Rocket Strikes Ashkelon Shopping Mall,” Jerusalem Post, March 14, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/Israel/15-wounded-as-Grad-rocket-strikes-Ashkelon-shopping-mall.
- April 2008: PIJ fires 216 rockets and mortar shells at various Israeli towns.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2008: Chapter 6. Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2009, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2008/122449.htm.
- March 2008: PIJ and Hamas jointly claim responsibility for an explosion that killed two IDF soldiers patrolling the security fence in the central Gaza Strip.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2008: Chapter 6. Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2009, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2008/122449.htm.
- January 2007: A suicide attack at an Eilat bakery kills three. PIJ and the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade claim responsibility.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
- April 17, 2006: PIJ and the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade claim responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 11 people at a sandwich stand near Tel Aviv’s old central bus station.“TIMELINE: Recent Bomb and Shooting Attacks against Israelis,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), November 21, 2012, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/timeline-recent-bomb-and-shooting-attacks-against-israelis-1.479592.
- October 26, 2005: A bombing at a market in Hadera, Israel kills five people. PIJ claims responsibility.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
- October 4, 2003: A PIJ suicide bomber blows himself up at Maxim restaurant in Haifa, killing 22 and injuring 60.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
- June 5, 2002: A PIJ suicide attack at Israel’s Megiddo Junction kills 18 and injures 50.“Car Bomb Kills 17 on Bus in Israel,” CNN.com, June 5, 2002, http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/06/05/mideast.bomb/index.html.
- November 29, 2001: A suicide bomber blows himself up on board a bus on a main highway in northern Israel, killing three passengers. PIJ and Fatah claim responsibility.“Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (Sept. 1993),” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accessed March 10, 2015, http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/terrorism/palestinian/pages/suicide%20and%20other%20bombing%20attacks%20in%20israel%20since.aspx.
- March 27, 2001: A car bomb explodes in the Talpiot industrial/commercial zone in Jerusalem, wounding three people. PIJ claims responsibility.“3 Injured in Jerusalem Car Bomb,” CNN.com, March 27, 2001, http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/03/27/mideast.02/; J.K. Dineen, Express Wire, Services, “Fury in Israel: Jerusalem Seethes as 2 Blasts Follow Infant’s Killing,” New York Daily News, March 27, 2001, http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/fury-israel-jerusalem-seethes-2-blasts-follow-infant-killing-article-1.916685; “Incident Summary for GTDID: 200103270008,” Global Terrorism Database, accessed March 10, 2015, http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=200103270008.
- November 2, 2000: Two people are killed in a car bomb explosion near the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. PIJ claims responsibility.“Recent Attacks Thrust Islamic Jihad Back into the Headlines,” CNN.com, November 2, 2000, http://www-cgi.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/02/islamic.jihad/index.html.
- October 26, 2000: PIJ claims responsibility for a suicide bombing in the Kisufim settlement, which wounds one soldier.Anthony H. Cordesman, The Israeli-Palestinian War: Escalating to Nowhere (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005), 211. The attack marked the fifth anniversary of PIJ leader Fathi Shaqaqi’s death and was the first suicide bombing of the second intifada.
- November 6, 1998: Two PIJ suicide bombers blow themselves up in the crowded Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, wounding about 20 people.Deborah Sontag, “24 in Jerusalem Injured by Blast from Car Bomb,” New York Times, November 7, 1998, http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/07/world/24-in-jerusalem-injured-by-blast-from-car-bomb.html; Anthony H. Cordesman, The Israeli-Palestinian War: Escalating to Nowhere (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005), 27.
- March 4, 1996: A PIJ suicide bomber kills 13 and injures 75 at a Tel Aviv shopping mall.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
- April 9, 1995: A PIJ suicide bomber blows up his vehicle next to an Israeli bus in the Gaza Strip, killing seven Israeli soldiers and 20-year-old American college student Alisa Flatow.David Stout, “American Slain In Gaza Is mourned,” New York Times, April 13, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/13/world/american-slain-in-gaza-is-mourned.html.
- January 22, 1995: Two consecutive bombs explode at the Beit Lid junction near Netanya, Israel, killing 18 Israeli soldiers and one civilian. PIJ claims responsibility.Clyde Haberman, “Suicide Bombs Kill 19 in Israel; Shadow Cast over Peace Talks,” New York Times, January 23, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/23/world/suicide-bombs-kill-19-in-israel-shadow-cast-over-peace-talks.html.
- November 11, 1994: A Palestinian riding a bicycle detonates explosives strapped to his body at an Israeli army checkpoint at Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip, killing three Israeli soldiers and wounding six Israeli soldiers and six Palestinians. PIJ claims responsibility, stating the attack was in retaliation for a November 2 car bomb that killed PIJ leader Hani Abed.Mary Curtius, “Suicide Bomber Kills 3 Israeli Soldiers in Gaza,” Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1994, http://articles.latimes.com/1994-11-12/news/mn-61608_1_israelis-gaza-soldiers.
- September 4, 1994: A PIJ drive-by shooting in Gaza kills one and injures several others.“Statement of the Attorney General, Indictments,” U.S. Department of Justice, February 20, 2003, http://www.justice.gov/archive/ag/speeches/2003/02202003pressconference.htm.
- April 6, 1994: PIJ militants explode a car bomb next to a public bus in Afula, Israel, killing nine and injuring 50.“Statement of the Attorney General, Indictments,” U.S. Department of Justice, February 20, 2003, http://www.justice.gov/archive/ag/speeches/2003/02202003pressconference.htm.
- December 1993: A PIJ shooting kills Israeli army reservist David Mashrati aboard a bus.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
- February 1990: PIJ terrorists attack an Israeli tour bus in Egypt, killing 11 people, including nine Israelis, and injuring 17.“Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1990: Middle East Overview,” Federation of American Scientists, April 30, 1991, http://fas.org/irp/threat/terror_90/mideast.html.
- August 1987: The commander of Israel’s military police is shot to death by PIJ in the Gaza Strip.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
- April 14: Hamas issues a call for Palestinians to mobilize at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to “protect it from the colonial settler extremist groups” allegedly planning to hold animal sacrifices there over the Passover holiday.“Hamas calls for popular mobilization to thwart Zionist “animal slaughter” at Al-Aqsa,” Hamas, April 14, 2022, https://hamas.ps/en/post/3997/Hamas-calls-for-popular-mobilization-to-thwart-Zionist-animal-slaughter-at-Al-Aqsa.
Designations by the U.S. Government:
- October 8, 1997: Secretary of State designates Palestine Islamic Jihad - Shaqaqi Faction as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.“Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, May 30, 2013, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2012/209989.htm.
Designations by Foreign Governments and Organizations:
- Australia—listed PIJ as a terrorist organization on December 21, 2001.“Consolidated list,” Australian Government, accessed March 2, 2015, http://www.dfat.gov.au/sanctions/consolidated-list.html.
- Canada—listed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as a terrorist entity on November 27, 2002.“Currently Listed Entities,” Public Safety Canada, accessed March 3, 2015, http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx#http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx#2040.
- EU—listed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as groups and entities involved in terrorist acts on December 27, 2001.“Council Common Position of 27 December 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism,” EUR-LEX, accessed March 3, 2015, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32001E0931&from=EN.
- New Zealand—listed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as a terrorist entity on October 11, 2010.“Lists associated with Resolution 1373,” New Zealand Police, accessed March 3, 2015, http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/personal-community/counterterrorism/designated-entities/lists-associated-with-resolution-1373.
- United Kingdom—listed Palestinian Islamic Jihad - Shaqaqi (PIJ) as an organization believed to be concerned in terrorism in March 2001.“Proscribed Terrorist Organizations,” UK Home Office, last updated February 3, 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/400902/Proscription-20150123.pdf.
Ties to Extremist Entities designated by the U.S. or foreign governments:
- Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)
PIJ’s founders modeled the group’s Islamist objectives under the influence of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran is PIJ’s primary source of financial support, according to the U.S. State Department.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984. A 1998 lawsuit against Iran in U.S. federal court revealed that the Islamic Republic allocated $2 million in its annual budget to PIJ.Richard Sisk, “Terror Victim’s Dad Wins $247M Lawsuit Vs. Iran,” New York Daily News, March 12, 1998, http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/terror-victim-dad-wins-247m-lawsuit-iran-article-1.789077. That number has since skyrocketed—in late 2013, PIJ sources revealed that the terror group received about $3 million per month from Iran.Hazem Balousha, “Islamic Jihad May Respond If Israel Enters Syria War,” Al-Monitor, September 2, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/islamic-jihad-syria-us-strike.html. A February 2014 report by Ali Nourizadeh, director of the Center for Iranian Studies in London, stated that Iran provides PIJ with $100 to $150 million annually.Joshua Levitt, “Expert: Hamas Received $2 Billion from Iran; Islamic Jihad Gets $150 Million Annually,” Algemeiner, February 11, 2014, http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/02/11/expert-hamas-received-2-billion-from-iran-islamic-jihad-gets-150-million-annually/.
According to PIJ spokesman Daoud Shihab, “all of the weapons in Gaza are provided by Iran,” and “everyone knows that Iran is financing” PIJ.Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Iran Supplies All Weapons in Gaza,” Al-Monitor, May 14, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/gaza-islamic-jihad-and-iranian-arms.html. In February 2014, a group of PIJ leaders, including Ramadan Shallah, made what Shihab called a “routine visit” to Tehran, which “still supports resistance factions.”Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Hamas Isolated as Iran Boosts Ties with Islamic Jihad, Fatah,” Al-Monitor, February 12, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/islamic-jihad-fatah-hamas-iran-palestinians.html.
PIJ also receives aid through Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984. The IRGC is Iran’s primary instrument for spreading the Islamic Revolution abroad and has acted as a conduit between the Iranian regime and PIJ. The IRGC provides PIJ with weapons, training, and funding. It reportedly began sending support after the PIJ was exiled to Lebanon in 1987.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
Since the beginning of the 2011 Syrian civil war, Iran has reportedly increased its support of PIJ at the expense of Hamas. Unlike Hamas, Iran supports Syria’s Assad regime and PIJ has noticeably maintained its base in Damascus, Syria (although PIJ otherwise appears to be neutral).Fares Akram, “In Gaza, Iran Finds an Ally More Agreeable Than Hamas,” New York Times, July 31, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/world/middleeast/in-gaza-iran-finds-a-closer-ally-than-hamas.html; Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Iran Supplies All Weapons in Gaza,” Al-Monitor, May 14, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulseen/originals/2013/05/gaza-islamic-jihad-and-iranian-arms.html. In 2013, Iran sent $2 million worth of food aid to Gaza during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, entrusting members of PIJ with distribution. This aid bore stamps with the Palestinian flag alongside the PIJ logo and the Iranian flag.Fares Akram, “In Gaza, Iran Finds an Ally More Agreeable Than Hamas,” New York Times, July 31, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/world/middleeast/in-gaza-iran-finds-a-closer-ally-than-hamas.html.
International Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported in 2012 that PIJ’s Syria-based leadership had relocated to Iran but continued to enjoy positive ties with their Syrian patrons. However, a PIJ official denied that report, claiming “relations between [PIJ] and the Syrian government are excellent, unlike Hamas,”“Islamic Jihad Leadership Relocates to Iran,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), July 22, 2012, http://www.aawsat.net/2012/07/article55241265. whose leadership left Syria after refusing to support the Assad regime during the Syrian civil war. Official representatives of the group are also stationed elsewhere in the Middle East,“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224829.htm. including Iran.Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Hamas Isolated as Iran Boosts Ties with Islamic Jihad, Fatah,” Al-Monitor, February 12, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/islamic-jihad-fatah-hamas-iran-palestinians.html; “Islamic Jihad: Israeli Attacks on Gaza Backfired,” Tasnim News Agency, July 15, 2014, http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/432079l.
After a year of decreased funding, the IRGC reportedly restored its relations with PIJ in May 2016 with an annual allocation of $70 million. The allocation followed a visit to Tehran by a PIJ delegation the previous month. As part of the agreement, Qasem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, reportedly appointed Khaled Mansour commander of PIJ’s Quds Brigades in Gaza.“Iran resumes funding for Palestinian Islamic Jihad: report,” i24 News, May 25, 2016, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/114490-160525-iran-resumes-funding-for-palestinian-islamic-jihad-group-report.
PIJ and Hamas collaborate militarily in order to fight Israel. During the first and second Palestinian intifadas, Hamas and PIJ claimed joint responsibility for a handful of attacks, including an April 9, 1995 suicide bombing that killed seven Israeli soldiers and an American.“Major Bomb Attacks Since 1993 Peace Accord,” Fox News, December 2, 2001, http://www.foxnews.com/story/2001/12/02/major-bomb-attacks-since-13-peace-accord/. The groups continued coordinated attacks after the end of the second intifada and after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. In November 2012, for example, PIJ and Hamas jointly bombed a Tel Aviv bus, wounding 29 people.Gil Cohen, “Israel Arrests Hamas, Islamic Jihad Cell behind Tel Aviv Bus Bomb,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), November 22, 2012, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-arrests-hamas-islamic-jihad-cell-behind-tel-aviv-bus-bomb-1.479958.
After Hamas’s falling out with Iran in 2012, relations between Hamas and PIJ also degraded. Fighters from the two organizations clashed amid accusations that Hamas was targeting PIJ. In September 2013, however, the two terror groups announced plans to form a new joint command to create a better political atmosphere in Gaza.Elhanan Miller, “Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Form Joint Command,” Times of Israel, September 17, 2013, http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-and-islamic-jihad-to-form-joint-command/.
In March 2014, PIJ fired a round of mortars into Israel, prompting an Israeli strike that killed three PIJ commanders. In retaliation, PIJ launched at least 130 locally made rockets into Israel as part of a military operation called Breaking the Silence, reportedly in coordination with Hamas.Hani Ibrahim, “Hamas’ Growing Rivalry with Islamic Jihad,” Al Akhbar English (Beirut), April 16, 2014, http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/hamas%E2%80%99-growing-rivalry-islamic-jihad. PIJ and Hamas also jointly launched rockets at Israel during Israel’s summer 2014 conflict with Hamas.“Hamas, Jihad claim joint attacks on Israeli cities,” Ma’an News Agency, July 15, 2014, http://www.maannews.com/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?id=713412. PIJ and Hamas have since continued to coordinate politically and militarily.Yaniv Kubovich, “Analysis Iran's Fighting Force in Gaza, Calling and Firing the Shots: This Is Islamic Jihad in Palestine,” Haaretz, June 17, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/iran/.premium-what-is-islamic-jihad-in-palestine-iran-s-fighting-force-in-gaza-calling-and-firing-the-shots-1.6158730; “Hamas meets with Islamic Jihad’s leadership, concludes with unified stances,” Hamas, November 2, 2018, http://hamas.ps/en/post/1660/hamas-meets-with-islamic-jihad%E2%80%99s-leadership-concludes-with-unified-stances. The two groups announced in December 2019 they would join forces against Israel in the next round of conflict with the Jewish state.Khaled Abu Toameh, “Hamas, Islamic Jihad agree to stand together in future fight with Israel,” Jerusalem Post, December 20, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-PIJ-agree-to-stand-together-in-future-confrontation-with-Israel-611458.
Between August 5 and August 7, 2022, PIJ fired 580 rockets toward Israel, which in return struck PIJ targets in Gaza. The three-day conflict concluded with an Egypt-negotiated ceasefire. According to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry, the conflict killed 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and wounded 311. Nonetheless, Hamas did not join PIJ in launching rockets at Israel.Fares Akram and Tia Goldenberg, “Cease-fire between Palestinians, Israel takes effect in Gaza,” Associated Press, August 8, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-militant-groups-gaza-strip-0c1565488cc2dc03f80200edcdd49a56; Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner, “Israel and Palestinian Militants Reach a Cease-Fire,” New York Times, August 7, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/07/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-cease-fire-jihad.html.
In 1987, PIJ was exiled from Gaza to Lebanon. There, the group reportedly began cooperating with Hezbollah and began training under Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
In July 2014, masked members of PIJ were filmed thanking Hezbollah, particularly its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, for Hezbollah’s “stance and support, be it with financial, military or moral support.”“Palestinian Islamic Jihad Thanks Iran and Hezbollah,” Iran English Radio, July 14, 2014, http://english.irib.ir/galleries/item/191912.
- Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade
PIJ and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed faction of Fatah, have carried out a handful of joint terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Examples include an April 2006 suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv sandwich stand that killed 11 people“TIMELINE: Recent Bomb and Shooting Attacks against Israelis,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), November 21, 2012, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/timeline-recent-bomb-and-shooting-attacks-against-israelis-1.479592. and a January 2007 suicide attack on an Eilat bakery that killed three.Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.
Ties to other entities:
PIJ has been based in Damascus since 1989. An anonymous PIJ source told London’s Asharq Al-Awsat in July 2012 that the PIJ leadership fled Syria for Iran,“Islamic Jihad Leadership Relocates to Iran,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), July 22, 2012, http://www.aawsat.net/2012/07/article55241265. though PIJ officially denied that it had abandoned its base in Syria.“Islamic Jihad Leadership Relocates to Iran,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), July 22, 2012, http://www.aawsat.net/2012/07/article55241265. Despite Iranian support for PIJ and Syria, PIJ has otherwise appeared to remain neutral in the Syrian civil war.Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Iran Supplies All Weapons in Gaza,” Al-Monitor, May 14, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulseen/originals/2013/05/gaza-islamic-jihad-and-iranian-arms.html. According to PIJ spokesperson Daoud Shihab, “Palestine is greater than all axes, and we do not accept to be part of the [Syria] conflict.”Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Iran Supplies All Weapons in Gaza,” Al-Monitor, May 14, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulseen/originals/2013/05/gaza-islamic-jihad-and-iranian-arms.html. PIJ has, however, threatened to respond if Israel involves itself in the Syrian civil war.Hazem Balousha, “Islamic Jihad May Respond If Israel Enters Syria War,” Al-Monitor, September 2, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/islamic-jihad-syria-us-strike.html.
A U.S. lawsuit filed in June 2020 alleged Qatar provided funding to PIJ and Hamas through three Qatari financial institutions, the Qatar Charity, Masraf Al Rayan, and Qatar National Bank. The Qatar Charity is a member of the U.S.-sanctioned Union of Good charity network. All three institutions have links to members of the Qatari royal family. The plaintiffs are friends and family members of 10 U.S. citizens who died in terror attacks in Israel carried out by PIJ and Hamas. The lawsuit alleges Qatar Charity allegedly worked with Masraf Al Rayan bank and Qatar National Bank to forward Hamas and PIJ millions of dollars. It further accuses the Qatari government of coopting “several institutions that it dominates and controls to funnel coveted U.S. dollars (the chosen currency of Middle East terrorist networks) to Hamas and PIJ under the false guise of charitable donations.”Ray Hanania, “Lawsuit names Qatar’s royal family in killings of 10 Americans in Israel,” Arab News, June 11, 2020, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1688051/middle-east; Adam Kredo, “Lawsuit Alleges Qatar Secretly Financed Terror Attacks that Killed Americans,” Washington Free Beacon, June 10, 2020, https://freebeacon.com/national-security/lawsuit-alleges-qatar-secretly-financed-terror-attacks-that-killed-americans/.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On September 30, 2017, there was a small explosion at Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo, Egypt, though there were no casualties. Hasm later claimed responsibility for the attack, the militant group’s first on a civilian target, saying it was a warning in response to the Myanmar’s military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.
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