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Islamism /
Islamic Jihad
Arabic: harakatu l-jihādi l-'islāmiyy

Islamic Jihad activists
Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah al-Shallah

Militant Islamist group headquartered to Syria, but largely active in Palestine and Israel.
Islamic Jihad is solely a military organization, based upon the ideology that Israel must be destroyed, and that this can only happen through military actions. Islamic Jihad is commonly considered by Western countries as a terrorist organization. Much of the ideological foundation of Islamic Jihad is from Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shi'i contrary to Islamic Jihad, who are Sunnis.
Central in Islamic Jihad's actions have been suicide bombing. There is a suprisingly large number of suicide bombers killed for every victim killed. Since 2000, 40 suicide bombers have killed 60 victims.
Islamic Jihad is a small organization, but appears to enjoy increasing support with Palestinian civilians. The organization is made up of largely independent cells. At the moment, the leader of Islamic Jihad is Ramadan Abdullah al-Shallah. Islamic Jihad has long had a good cooperation with Hamas.
Islamic Jihad may indicate other national groups, whether it be in (especially) Lebanon, Egypt (which is now part of al-Qaida) and Yemen. The Palestinian group is often called Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) or Islamic Jihad in Palestine. Its full name, is Islamic Jihad Organization.
Islamic Jihad is not linked with al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, which performs similar actions.

1981: Islamic Jihad is formed by militant members of the Muslim Brotherhood; Fathi Shikaki, Abdul Aziz Odeh (also spelled Awda) and Bashir Moussa. The original factions were known as Brigades of Islamic Jihad and Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Early on, Islamic Jihad receives financial support from PLO.
1986: Activists of the Islamic Jihad throws hand grenades at a military graduation ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
1987 August: An Israeli military police captain is killed, becoming the first victim of Islamic Jihad.
— Central in bringing the Intifada forth.
1988: Shikaki and Odeh are expelled to Lebanon, but Islamic Jihad continues the fight against Israeli interests.
1993: Islamic Jihad opposes the Oslo Agreement between Israel and PLO.
1994: Comes into direct conflict with the Palestinian leadership.
1995 January: A military bus stop is bombed near Netanya, killing 19.
October: The leader Shikaki is shot by Mossad agents in Malta. He is succeeded by Ramadan Abdullah al-Shallah.
1996 March: A bomb in Tel Aviv kills 13.
2000 September: The beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada, in which Islamic Jihad is central.
2001 May: Two 14-year old Jewish boys are stoned to death by Islamic Jihad activists.
2002 June 5: A bus is blown up by an Islamic Jihad activist in Afula, Israel, killing 17.
November 15: Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers are attacked in Hebron, killing 12 on the Jewish side.

By Tore Kjeilen