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.