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Palestinian Islamic Jihad

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad -Palestinian Islamic Jihad Logo Or the The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (Arabic: حركة الجهاد الإسلامي في فلسطين‎, - Harakat al-Jihad al-Islami fi Filastīn or al Jihad al Islami) (PIJ) is an Islamist Palestinian militant group, designated by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel. Their goal is the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamist state as enunciated by their founding leader, Fathi Shkaki. ref 

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad emblem shows two fists extending from the "Mosque of Omar" (Dome of the Rock) in Jerusalem, with an overlay of a map of all of Mandatory Palestine in the foreground and two rifles in the background.  The military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is the Al Quds brigades.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is primarily interested in a Jihad for destroying Israel, but it also opposes many other Arab governments, whom they see as being insufficiently Islamic and too Western. Palestinian Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks in Israel, including suicide bombings. Palestinian Islamic Jihad is among those responsible for the Qassam rocket and mortar  barrages at Israeli towns that have killed and injured civilians, and cause widespread hardship in communities in Israel's western Negev.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a small organization with under a thousand members and enjoys the support of 3-5% of the Palestinian population. It is evidently a protege of Iran at present and is funded by Iran through the Hezbollah. Islamic Jihad also reportedly distributed funds or salary to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and commissioned them to carry out an attack on Kibbutz Metzer inside Israel. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is one of the major constituents of the Popular Resistance Committees. Their current relation to Egyptian Islamic Jihad is not known, though the group was founded in Egypt as a branch of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and banished from there.

It is noteworthy that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, originally a Sunni Muslim organization with possible links to Al-Qaeda, has evidently been coopted by the Shia Iranian regime, or at least cooperates with it and is supported by it, as well as by the supposedly secular Syrian Ba'ath regime.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad has a cooperative-antagonistic-competitive relationship with the Hamas which currently rules Gaza. At times the Hamas opposed or appears to oppose the group, while at other times the groups cooperate in attacks on Israel.

History of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Palestinian Islamic Jihad was founded about 1979 by three radical Palestinian students, Fathi Shikaki, Abdul Aziz Odeh (or Awda or Ouda), and Bashir Moussa, studying in Egypt. They formed the group because the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) in the Gaza Strip was too moderate. In 1981 the Egyptian government expelled Palestinian Islamic Jihad from the country when it learned that the organization was closely linked to the assassins of President Anwar Sadat. At that point, PIJ relocated to the Gaza Strip, where it initiated a new round of terrorist activities.

In 1988, Shikaki and Odeh were banished from Gaza and went to Lebanon. Once there, Shikaki reorganized and strengthened his group's ties with Hezbollah. PIJ continued its terror campaign, attacking a tour bus in Egypt in 1990, killing 11 people, including 9 Israelis.

According to one source, Ramzi Yousef, who carried out the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,ref  though others insist that the group has not carried out any attacks on U.S. soil as yet. ref   

Both PIJ and Hamas rejected the 1993 Oslo Accords as a betrayal of Palestinian ‎and Islamic rights, and they appear to have begun cooperating after 1993. They launched attacks against Israeli targets in a “race” ‎‎(Shiqaqi’s own word) to halt the peace process.

In October 1995, the founder of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fathi Shkaki,  was killed in Malta, possibly by Israeli agents. He was replaced by Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, a Palestinian who had lived in the United States. Shallah had allegedly founded  the World Islam Study Enterprise in the USA, along with Sami Al-Arian, Mazen al Najjar, and Khalil Shikaki In March 1996, the organization claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Tel Aviv that killed 20 people and wounded more than 75.

By 2000, PIJ had killed several dozen Israelis, mostly civilians. While it refused to recognize ‎the Palestinian Authority as a legitimate government and did not participate in ‎the 1996 PA elections, Islamic Jihad did not challenge the PA politically in the ‎same manner as did Hamas. However, it was easier for the PA to take strong ‎measures against the Islamic Jihad, as the smaller organization, and it closed al-‎Istiqlal, the Jihad newspaper in Gaza, and arrested some low-level activists.‎

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is one of the constituent members of the Popular Resistance Committees.

Major attacks of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

January 22, 1995 Beit Lid 21 Two bombers. One detonated at rescue party.
March 4, 1996 Tel Aviv 13 +125 injured. Done on Purim, presumably to commemorate Goldstein Massacre of Purim 2005. 
January 30, 2001 Taibe 2 Injured  
May 25, 2001 Hadera Central bus station, 45 injured 2 terrorists in car bomb
April 22, 2001 Kfar Saba 1  
July 16, 2001 Binyamina 2 3 more were injured critically
August 9, 2001 Jerusalem Sbarro Pizzeria Bombing 15 With Hamas
August 12, 2001 Wall-Street Restaurant bombing, Kiryat Motzkin 14 injured  
October 7, 2001 Kibbutz Shluhot 1  
November 29, 2001 Wadi Ara Junction 3 Carried out together with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
December 5, 2001 Hilton Mamilla, Jerusalem 11 injured  
December 9, 2001 Check Post Junction near Haifa, 29 injured  
January 25, 2002 Tel Aviv 23 injured Double suicide attack, together with Fatah
March 20, 2002 Wadi Ara ,Muzmuz Junction Egged Bus 823 5  
March 27, 2002 Netanya Passover Massacre 30 Suicide attack in Passover Seder ceremony in Park Hotel
April 10, 2002 Yagur Junction bombing 8  
June 5, 2002 Egged Bus 830, Meggido Junction 17 Car Bomb
September 5, 2002 Um el Fahm Junction in Wadi Ara 1  
October 21, 2002 Karkur Junction, Egged Bus 841 14 2 Suicide bombers used a bomb jeep with 100 KG TNT
March 30, 2003 London Cafe, Netanya 54 injured  
May 19, 2003 Afula Mall (?) 3 Attributed to Hamas
June 1, 2003 Moshav Sdei Trumot S 1  
July 7, 2003 Kfar Yavetz 1  
October 4, 2003 Haifa 21  
February 25, 2005 Stage club, Tel Aviv sea boardwalk 5 With Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
July 12, 2005 Netanya 5  
August 28, 2005 Beer Sheva 50 injured, 2 critically Carried out together with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
October 26, 2005 Hadera 6  
December 5, 2005 Netanya 5  
December 25, 2005 Tulkarm 3 Suicide bomber kills IDF soldier and 2 Palestinians at checkpoint.
January 19, 2006 Tel Aviv 15 injured  
April 17, 2006 Tel Aviv 11  with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
January 29, 2007 Eilat 3 With Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
March 6, 2008 Gaza 1  kill IDF soldier in ambush.

Numerous mortar and rocket attacks.

IDF has killed numerous Islamic Jihad commanders and operatives.

Ami Isseroff

November 4, 2008  

Synonyms and alternate spellings: "Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine" "Palestine Islamic Jihad"

Further Information: Recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Second Intifada Palestinian Groups - Islamic Jihad 

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Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad