What is Islamic Jihad, the terrorist group that launched more than 400 rockets against Israel in 24 hours

Born from a student group in Egypt in the late 1970s, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad -that from the Gaza Strip attacks Israel– is currently one of the most important armed movements in the area and is sponsored by Iran.

Inspired by Islamic Revolution of Iran, Fathi Abd al Shikaki and Abd Al Aziz Awdatwo young Gazans, germinated the idea of ​​the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) while they were studying in Egypt, in 1979.

Two years later, already back in Gaza, they founded their movement with the aim of achieving, exclusively through military means, a sovereign and Islamic Palestinian State, in all the territory that today comprises Israel and Palestine. A) Yes, in 1984, they began their attacks against the Jewish state, and since then they have claimed numerous attacks – including suicide bombings – through their armed wing, the Al Quds Brigades.

This militia has fired thousands of rockets into Israel from Gaza during numerous armed conflicts. In the current escalation, which began yesterday, It is estimated that it has already launched more than 400 projectiles towards different points of Israeli territory.

Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, meets with Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group chief Ziyad Nakhaleh in Tehran, Iran, on August 6, 2022. ( WANA NEWS AGENCY/)

In previous offensives, Islamic Jihad has bowed to attacks by the Islamist movement Hamaswhich has ruled de facto in Gaza since 2007 and is far superior to the YIP in terms of number of members, budget and weapons.

Hamas, however, has limited military action capacity as it is responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the impoverished enclave, so the YIP has become the driving force behind much of the rocket attacks against Israel.


Israel, which like the United States, Australia, the European Union and others considers the YIP a terrorist group, believes that the objective of this organization is the “destruction” of its State.

According to the Israeli Army, the YIP “has killed and injured hundreds of Israelis” with the financing and military training of Iran, considered by the Jewish state as an existential threat. “Iran’s satellites are all over the region: in Lebanon, Syria, Sinai, Yemen, Iraq and Gaza,” Zvika Haimovich, former commander of the Israeli Air Force, said today in a meeting with journalists.

For the Israel Defense Forces, Islamic Jihad “is one of the main and most radical satellites of Iran”and if it didn’t have that support, “it would be really irrelevant.”

Erik Skare, a researcher at the University of Oslo and author of a book on the history of the YIP, believes that it depends on Iran for its financing, but it is not just a satellite, since the Palestinian movement has not hesitated to distance itself from Iran when it sees threatened their independence or disagree with their actions, he explains. “We should not underestimate the YIP”, whose ability to launch rockets “has grown substantially in recent decades”, he warns.e Skare, assuring that the only way to “significantly weaken” this group would be “a prolonged Israeli military campaign”, which he believes would cause numerous civilian deaths in Gaza, due to population density.

The military offensive between the YIP and Israel that broke out on Friday has so far left 15 Palestinian dead, six of whom were identified as members of the group. One of them was Taysir al Jabari, his number two in Gaza and leader of his armed wing in the north and center of the Strip.

In addition, some 145 wounded have already been registered -125 in Gaza and 120 in Israel-, and countless damages to infrastructure caused by the incessant attacks in both directions that began yesterday with an Israeli “preventive offensive” in the face of what they described as a ” imminent threat” of Jihad attack on civilians.

The YIP adopted Islam and Sharia as a doctrine and does not recognize the State of Israel, which it considers to be the spearhead of the contemporary Western colonial project. Based on this, it clashes with other more moderate Palestinian groups, such as the Fatah movement, which governs the occupied West Bank and whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, advocates resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the division of the territory into two states.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets with Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group Secretary General Ziyad Nakhaleh in Tehran, Iran, on August 4, 2022. (Reuters)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets with Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group Secretary General Ziyad Nakhaleh in Tehran, Iran, on August 4, 2022. (Reuters) (WANA NEWS AGENCY/)

The YIP, which is purely military in nature, does not participate in the political process. He boycotted the 2006 Palestinian elections and agreed to let Hamas take de facto power in Gaza in 2007.

Although Islamic Jihad’s base is in Gaza, part of its leadership is also based in Lebanon and Syria. Its current secretary general, Ziyad al Nakhala, held a meeting yesterday with Iranian officials in Tehran and is one of the FBI’s most wanted men.

With information from EFE


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