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Hamas (1)

Description: Two Palestinian flags form a circular frame around the Al Aksa Mosque in the center. On the flags, in Arabic, is the Islamic declaration of faith: the right flag translates as "There is no God but God" and the left translates as "Muhammad is His prophet." Beneath crossed swords is the word "Palestine." The full name of the group appears on the white banner at the bottom. At the top, center, there is a map of Israel and the territories in white.

Explanation: The Al Aksa Mosque is the third holiest shrine in Islam, and is regarded by Muslims as the spot from which Muhammad ascended to heaven. The image evokes Hamas's nationalist and religious aims, as do the Palestinian flags imprinted with Islam's declaration of faith. The crossed swords evoke jihad (holy war) and represent Hamas's dedication to violent struggle; they are also meant to allude to the emblem of the Muslim Brotherhood. The map of Israel and the territories is a symbol of Hamas's desire to rule the entirety of Israel.

Name Variations | Overview | Focus of Operations | Major Attacks | Leaders | Ideology | Goals | Methods | Sponsors | U.S.- Related Activities

Name Variations


Hamas was founded in 1987 by Palestinian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas considers violent jihad against Israel to be a religious obligation and advances its ideology through the preaching of affiliated clerics across the West Bank and Gaza. Since 1993 the group has carried out more than 350 attacks - many of them suicide bombings - against civilians in Israeli shopping malls, cafes and passenger buses and against military targets. Funded by Islamic charities, Iran, Palestinian expatriates and private donors in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Hamas is politically active in Gaza and runs extensive social welfare programs there and in the West Bank - ensuring the group's popularity on "the street."

Focus of Operations

West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Syria

Major Attacks



Militant Islamic fundamentalism



Suicide bombings and paramilitary operations against civilian and military targets.


Syria. Hamas also receives funding from private donors and organizations within Saudi Arabia, Iran and various Gulf states.

U.S.-Related Activities