Hamas is a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim organization founded in the Gaza Strip in 1987 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It seeks to establish an Islamic state on the entire territory of the State of Israel and does not recognize Israel's right to exist.
The Hamas leadership has two branches: the internal leadership, which controls the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, responsible for the day-to-day activities of governing the Gaza Strip population; and the external leadership, Hamas' political bureau, located beyond the borders of the Gaza Strip (primarily in Syria). The external leadership maintains relations with various countries and bodies, and deals mainly with raising money and finding other resources for Hamas.
According to the Hamas charter, the document on which its policies and propaganda are based, the only way the movement can achieve its ends, i.e., the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state, is through an armed terrorist campaign to achieve the destruction Israel. Hamas' military-terrorist wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, carries out terrorist attacks against Israel, including rocket, mortar and suicide bombing attacks.
Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Over the years Hamas has challenged the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, causing conflicts between the sides, culminating in June 2007 with Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip and the suppression of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.