BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search:Hamas
(Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or
Islamic Resistance Movement
Izz al-Din al-Qassam Forces
Harakat al Muqawama al Islamiyya
Source: CIA, EuroTer, Interpol, MI-6
Type: Political terrorist organization
Highly active and violent terrorist organization carrying out actions of all types against mainly
Israeli targets worldwide.
As part of the Worldwide Islamic Jihad's [#CR0001716] umbrella organization, they receive
much of their training and support from them. Links also exist with Hizbullah [#CR0001132] and
the Muslim Brotherhood [#CR0001983]. [Interpol] Recent information revealed possible links
with Al Dawa [#CR0000944] and Al Gama'a al Islamiya [#CR0002113]. [CIA] Believed to have
exchanged training of members with the Irish Republican Army [#CR0000632]. [MI-6]
Unknown number of hardcore members; tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers. (200
Scattered cells of eight to ten members, with some elements working openly through mosques
and social service institutions.
Sheikh Ahmad Yasin [#LL], spiritual leader, Other leaders unknown.
Hamas has excellent funding resources, receiving money from a wide variety of sponsors. The
majority of funding and support is funneled through mosques and relief organizations.
Smallarms, explosives and all variety of military equipment. High level of support and
intelligence. Excellent funding.
Suspected Criminal Activity:
Hamas activists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Forces, have conducted
many attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets, suspected Palestinian collaborators,
and Fatah rivals. Its armed militant wing known as Iza al-Din, carries out continued bombings
(including a large number of suicide bombings), assassinations, and kidnappings of those
opposed to its existence. Primary targets are Jewish settlers as they are usually unarmed and
traveling in buses. A number of attacks have been carried out by individual Palestinian Hamas
members, usually stabbings of individual Israelis. For a one-week period beginning 3 July 1992,
Hamas clashed with followers of Yasir Arafat's Al Fatah group in the Gaza Strip in which one
child was killed and over 150 people injured.
Hamas is the Arabic acronym for the "Islamic Resistance Movement," (Harakat al Muqawama al
Islamiyya). Hamas was formed in late 1987, but is in fact continuous with the Ikhwan al Muslimin
or Muslim Brotherhood [#CR0001983] branch that established itself in Palestine in 1946 and
that remained active in Gaza and the West Bank after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Until 1984 the
Ikhwan had concentrated mainly on the education of Arab youth in Gaza and the West Bank and
its politics seldom strayed beyond a belief in piecemeal Islamic reformism. On 17 September
1984, however, a leader of the Palestinian Ikhwan in the Gaza Strip, Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, and
four other Ikhwan members were convicted of stockpiling automatic weapons and plotting to kill
300 prominent persons. Yasin is regarded now as the spiritual mentor of Hamas.
In October and November 1987, the Ikhwan collaborated and competed with both the Palestine
Liberation Organization [#CR0000318] and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad [#CR0002691] in
creating demonstrations in the occupied territories that precipitated the intifada uprising. Hamas
has become Fatah's [#CR0002091] principal political rival in the occupied territories. Hamas
officially announced its existence with the publication of the "Covenant of the Islamic Resistance
Movement" on 18 August 1988. It was at this time that the "Intifada" began to explode
throughout the occupied territories, and Hamas' message was made available to the masses.
Founded on Islamic nationalism, this group inherently more in common with the PLO than not,
and the decision was made (partly in response to Israeli efforts to pit the two against one
another) that by the leaders of Hamas that while the two perhaps could not work together, any
harm to one inherently detracted from the other. They were different in one important respect.
While the PLO maintained a gradual, phased approach to the creation of a Palestinian
homeland, Hamas felt and acted, quite differently. Their plan of action was an immediate and
unrelenting frontal assault against the Israeli nation.
Militant elements of Hamas, operating clandestinely, have advocated and used violence to
advance their goals. Hamas's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the
West Bank. It has also engaged in peaceful political activity, such as running candidates in
West Bank chamber of commerce elections. As Hamas' course of action provided immediate
results, its membership continued to grow. Nowhere was this more true than with the disgruntled
young males of the slums and lower class neighborhoods who, analysts believe, had grown
disillusioned with the slower and more acquiescent PLO. By 1991, Hamas has gained enough
prestige to represent a number of Palestinian groups at a major peace conference in Tehran.
Following this meeting, Hamas split entirely with the PLO when the latter refused to accept the
former's request that it be granted a significant presence on the Palestine National Council. This
division in Palestinian leadership spilled into the streets and was marked by open armed conflict
between members of the two groups. Soon after this, a series of setbacks befell Hamas, in the
form of deportations of many of its members by the Israelis and arrested others. Hamas never
fully recovered from this blow, however known ties to Iran and suspected ties to individuals in the
United States and Western Europe are at the very least maintaining the groups financial
existence. This, coupled with an eager youth movement and a replenished leadership have
caused terrorism watchers worldwide to acknowledge Hamas once again as one of the leading
organizations of its kind.
Hamas opposed Fatah's participation in the October 1991 Arab-Israeli peace talks in Madrid and
feared the PLO would accept newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's proposal for
limited Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank. Speculation is rampant that the group may be
altering its focus from Islamic nationalism to the creation of an Islamic society. Whatever their
new goals, it is acknowledged that the future of Hamas lies in the results of the PLO-Israeli
peace accords. If the PLO is able to accomplish its goals, it will grow stronger and Hamas
weaker. If, however, the negotiations break down, Hamas is situated perfectly to challenge the
PLO for the Palestinian leadership role. Hamas' existence has been complicated slightly by the
January 24, 1995 Executive Order, signed by President Clinton which prohibits transactions with
the group due to their potential for disrupting the Middle East peace process.
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