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      ( AS OF SEPTEMBER 2022 )

      HAMAS–the acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement)—is the largest and most capable militant group in the Palestinian territories and one of the territories’ two major political parties. HAMAS emerged in 1987 during the first Palestinian uprising, or intifada, as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. The group is committed to armed resistance against Israel and the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel’s place. HAMAS has been the de facto governing body in the Gaza Strip since 2007, when it ousted the Palestinian Authority from power.


      Primarily in Gaza; also maintains a presence in the West Bank; Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon; and key regional capitals, such as Doha, Qatar, and Cairo, Egypt.

      MEMBERS -Between 20,000 and 25,000


      HAMAS uses improvised explosive devices, short- and long-range rockets and mortars, small arms, kidnapping operations, rocket-propelled grenades, man-portable air defense systems, antitank missiles, and unmanned aircraft systems in attacks against Israeli military forces and civilians, as well as against ISIS and other Salafist armed group members based in Gaza. The group also uses cyber espionage and computer network exploitation operations.


      The US State Department designated HAMAS as a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997.


      Ismail Haniyeh
      Political Bureau chief since May 2017; has operated from Doha, Qatar, since 2020

      Salih al-Aruri
      Political Bureau deputy chief since 2017

      Yahya Al Sinwar
      Gaza Political Bureau chief since 2017

      Khaled Mashal
      Political Bureau External Region chief since early 2021; Political Bureau chief from April 1996 to May 2017


      29 APRIL 2022
      West Bank
      HAMAS’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, claims full responsibility for the shooting of an Israeli guard in the West Bank. Other Palestinian militants also claim responsibility for the attack.

      23 NOVEMBER 2021
      A HAMAS member kills an Israeli tour guide and wounds several civilians and Israeli police officers.

      MAY 2021
      Gaza Strip and Israel
      HAMAS launches more than 4,000 rockets at Israel during 11 days of hostilities; Israel responds with widespread air and artillery strikes on HAMAS targets in Gaza. The conflict results in 260 deaths in Gaza and 13 deaths in Israel.

      1 OCTOBER 2015
      Near Palestinian village of Beit Furik, West Bank
      HAMAS gunmen kill an American-Israeli citizen and his wife in their car.

      Source : US department of State

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