The Palestinian Islamic Jihad

The Latest Round of Escalation in the Gaza Strip: What Next? (Initial Assessment)

The most recent round of escalation is the eighth significant round since the return marches began on March 30, 2018 (see the Appendix). An analysis of the previous rounds of escalation revealed that the most recent one was different in three main aspects
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Spotlight on Iran (November 3, 2019 – November 17, 2019)

Iran vociferously condemned the IDF’s targeted killing of the senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad Commander, Bahaa’ Abu al-‘Ata. In early November, Iran and Syria signed an agreement on cooperation in the electricity sector, which includes the expansion and rehabilitation of Syria’s electrical grid by Iranian firms. Iran is working to mediate between the Shi’ite factions in the Iraqi parliament to end the ongoing crisis.
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The Escalation in the Gaza Strip (An overview updated to 15:00, November 13, 2019)

Massive rocket fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip continues. Since the beginning of the events, between 300 and 350 rockets have been fired (as of noon, November 13, 2019). Most of the rockets were fired at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip and at Israel's south. According to the IDF spokesman, 90% of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. About 60% fell in open areas.
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Escalation in the Gaza Strip: Massive rocket fire at Israel after the targeted killing of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad military commander (Updated to 14:00, November 12, 2019)

Before dawn on November 12, 2019, Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked a building in the Sajaiya neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip. Bahaa Abu al-Atta, the commander of the northern brigade of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and his wife were killed in the attack.( For a portrait of Bahaa Abu al-Atta, see Appendix A).
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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (October 30 – November 5, 2019)

This past week events focused on two rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip targeting the southern Israeli town of Sderot and the western Negev According to Israeli security sources quoted by the media, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was responsible for the rocket attacks. Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, gave a belligerent speech in which he described at length the military capabilities of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.
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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (October 7 – 23, 2019)

The return marches in the Gaza Strip held on October 11 and 18, 2019, were characterized by varying levels of violence. A delegation of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) figures headed by its leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah paid a visit to Egypt and met with senior officials in Egyptian General Intelligence. In Judea and Samaria there was an attempted vehicular attack of Israeli security forces operating in the al-Am'ari refugee camp (near Ramallah). The contradictory reactions of Hamas and the PIJ to the Turkish invasion of Syria illustrates their different orientations.
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The Palestinian Islamic Jihad

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is the second largest and most important terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. It was established in the Gaza Strip in the late 1970s by students studying in Egypt, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and headed by Dr. Fathi Shqaqi, a physician from Rafah, and Sheikh Abd al-Aziz Awda, a preacher from the Jebaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has a radical fundamentalist Sunni Muslim ideology. It seeks the immediate “liberation” of Palestine through jihad (holy war) and the establishment of a Muslim Palestinian state. Fathi Shqaqi was eliminated in Malta in 1995, and was succeeded by Dr. Ramadan Shalah, who is also one of the organization’s founding members.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad rejects any arrangement or agreement with Israel. According to its ideology, jihad is an obligation that should be implemented immediately rather than be postponed until after the establishment of an Islamic state. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has a military arm, Quds Brigades, equipped with various weapons, which fires rockets from the Gaza Strip and instigates carrying out terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria. During the Second Intifada, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad “specialized” in carrying out suicide bombing attacks in Israeli territory.

Of all Palestinian terrorist organizations, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is the closest to Iran and more than any other organization, it receives extensive support from Iran.

Like other terrorist organizations, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has been designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.