Popular Resistance Committees - (Arabic:
لجان المقاومة الشعبية) The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) are a Palestinian
Islamist group formed some time
before October 8, 2000 in Gaza to lead attacks on Israeli civilian and military
targets as part of the
Their stated objective based on public declarations is elimination of the state
and their declarations indicate that they favor genocidal murder of its Jewish
inhabitants. They are classified as a terrorist group by the Israeli and United
States governments. The Popular Resistance Committees has several hundred
operative in Gaza, though it is unlcear if these are also counted as militants
of other organizations that are constituents of the PRC. On August 8 2007
the Popular Resistance Committees announced formation of a political party that
would run in Palestinian elections.
Foundation of the Popular Resistance Committees
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) were founded by Jamal abu Samhadana
(or Jamil Samhadana, a
member. Its membership includes former or current members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
members of the Palestinian Police, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, The Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the
It is not clear whether the Popular Resistance Committees members have remained
in their original organizations, making the PRC into an umbrella organization,
or whether they have left those organizations. If it is an umbrella
organization, then considering the radical Islamist ideology of the PRC, the
ideological makeup of the constituent groups, which include the secular Fatah
and Marxist Popular Front, is bizarre. The group, supposedly created as a result
of the Second Intifada that began at the end of September 2000, was already
active in terror attacks on October 8, 2000.
The foundation of this group so close to the start of the supposedly
spontaneous Second Intifada may be indicative of prior planning for the
uprising, and of collusion of the
It would be most remarkable if in a supposedly isolated and occupied area, under
the supervision of the IDF as well as the Palestine Police, a group of this
nature could be organized and operational within only a few days, and even more
remarkable that the Fatah, Palestine Preventive Security and Police were
supposedly unable to track and immediately arrest a group composed of members
from their own ranks. Palestinian Police did begin to arrest Popular Resistance
Committees members. relatively late in the Second Intifada.
Some time in 2006, a group called Jayish al Islam (or Jish al Islam) (army of
Islam) either split from the Popular Resistance Committees or was deliberately
spawned as an offshoot.
Israeli authorities believe that the group is a puppet or protege of the
If so, it is unclear if this relationship existed from their inception, or
developed over time. Their relation with Islamic Jihad suggests that they are
operated from Iran through
Ideology of the Popular Resistance Committees
The Popular Resistance Committees do not seen to have a charter,
but an ample understanding of their approach can be gleaned from public
statements. According to them,
the road map is a "American-Zionist plot"
to salvage the "Zionist enemy," "to kill the resistance and dismantle its
The leadership of the Popular Resistance
Committees views "resistance in all its forms" and "Jihad in the way of
Allah" as the only ways to liberate all of Palestine, "whose land, whose
mountains, the holy places in it, the skies, the sea, and the political borders
are part of the [Islamic] faith." Abu Samhadana, the founder,
asserted that Jews are "enemies,"
"betrayers," and "murderers of the prophets who also tried to murder the Prophet
Mohammed." The official declarations of the Popular Resistance Committees refer to Jews as "the sons of monkeys and pigs" and to Israel as "a
Satanic entity that must be destroyed."ref
Samhadana advocated opening the borders of the
Arab states to a jihad against Israel until its total destruction.ref
Members of the Popular Resistance Committees
Jamal Atayah Zid Abu Samhadana (or
Jamil Samhadana), founder and head of the Popular Resistance Committees. Born in
1963, resident of Rafah, formerly imprisoned, married and father of five. In
1982 he fled from Gaza to Egypt, and returned in 1994. Samhadana belonged to the
Fatah. In 2000, at or before the inception of the
he established the Popular Resistance Committees. Responsible for a large number
of deadly attacks against Israeli targets and for firing mortars and Qassam
rockets at Gush Katif and at Israel. In April of 2006, the Hamas portion of the
Palestinian Unity Government appointed Samhadana to head the Executive Force, a
new Palestinian security force which would have the goal of fighting Israel.
Mahmoud Abbas tried to cancel the appointment and to prevent the formation of
the Executive force. Samhadana was killed by Israeli forces on July 8, 2006.
Al-Abed Yusuf al-Abed Qoqa (or
Abu Yusuf Abu Quka) - head of the Popular
Resistance Committees in the northern Gaza Strip. Born in 1962, resident of
Gaza, married and father of six. Belonged to Hamas at least in the past, and
served as an officer in the PA security organizations. He was responsible for
weapons production in the PRC including rocket production. Involved in a number
of deadly attacks, including roadside bombs against IDF tanks and rocket fire.
Killed in a car-bomb explosion on March 31, 2006, possibly killed by Israel or
the Fatah aligned forces, as he was "aligned" with Hamas.
Muhammad Abd al-A'al (Abu Abir) -
official spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees. Killed by IAF missile
on January 22, 2006.
'Amr Qarmout (or Amar Qarmot or
Amer Qarmut) - senior operative. Involved in terror attacks against Israel
and especially the Dimona suicide attack. Killed by IAF on February 4, 2008.
Muhammad Kamal al-Baba - senior
operative. Joined the Popular Resistance Committees after being a member of
Fatah and, subsequently, Hamas. Director of PRC information office.
Kamal Nayrab (or Kamal an Nayrab)
- replaced Jamal Samhadana as Secretary General of the PRC.
Major attacks of the Popular Resistance Committees
* October 8 shooting attack on bus carrying airport workers near the
Rafah terminal wounding 8 civilians, This was their first "operation."
2000, PRC shoot at Israeli car, along the Kerem Shalom-Rafah road; one woman was
killed while driving to her job at the Rafah border crossing.
* The November 20, 2000 bombing of a busload of school childerl of children
as it passed near Kfar Darom killing two.
* Mortar attacks on April 28, 2001 on the Netzer Hazani settlement the Gaza
Strip (wounding five, one seriously),
* Mortar attacks on Kfar Darom on April 29.
* Mortar attacks on Atzmona on May 7 of the same year.
* February 14, 2002 killing of three Israeli soldiers and blowing up of a
* March 14, 2002 killing of Israeli soldiers and blowing up of a Merkava
* September 5, 2002 killing of an Israeli soldier and blowing up of a
* May 2, 2004 killing of unarmed and pregnant Tali Hatuel, and her four
daughters aged 2 to 11, on Kissufim road. PRC and Islamic Jihad jointly
* September 26,
2004, IDF post at the settlement of Morag was penetrated; three
soldiers were killed and one wounded.
* January 13, 2005 killing of six Israeli settlers at the Karni Passage near
Gaza, carried out together with Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.
* July 24,
2005, a drive-by shooting on the Kissufim road killed two Israelis.
* September 7, 2005 assassination of Musa Arafat, Yasser Arafat's cousin who
had been appointed to head security in Gaza.
*June 8, 2006 - Joint suicide bombing of PRC with or by the al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Dimona, killed
* June 25, 2006 - With Jayish al Islam, kidnapping of Gilad Shalit and
killing of soldiers in tunnel raid.
*June 25, 2006 - Kidnapping and murder of Eliyah Asheri, age 18.
Jointly with al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
* March 6, 2008 PRC detonated a roadside charge near the Kissufim
crossing, killing an Israeli officer and wounding three others, one critically.
Numerous mortar and rocket attacks.
November 4, 2008
Synonyms and alternate spellings: "Popular Resistance Committee"
Further Information: Recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Popular Resistance Committees