Established By: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, Mahmoud Zahar
Also Known As: Ḥarakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement
Country Of Origin: Palestine
Leaders: Ismail Haniya
Key Members: Ismail Haniya [Chief of the Political Bureau], Fawzi Barhoum [Spokesperson], Mousa Abu Marzouq [Deputy Chief of the Political Bureau], Khaled Mashal [Deputy Chief of the Political Bureau]
Operational Area: Middle East
Number Of Members: 10,000–17,000
Involved In: Terrorist Attacks, Rocket Attacks, Suicide Bombings, Kidnapping
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- Hamas head operative in Tulkarm arrested by the Israeli security forces IDF and Israel Police special forces arrested on Sunday night… [+]
- Israeli security forces strike Hamas targets after Gaza rocket fire The Israeli military struck targets in the Gaza Strip early… [+]
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Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic organization, with an associated military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the Middle East including Qatar. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Canada, Israel, Japan and the United States. Australia and the United Kingdom have designated the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades as a terrorist organization.
The organization is banned in Jordan. It is not regarded as a terrorist organization by Iran, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, Brazil, Turkey, China and Qatar. Based on the principles of Islamism gaining momentum throughout the Arab world in the 1980s, Hamas was founded sometime in 1988 soon after the First Intifada broke out, as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which in its Gaza branch had been non-confrontational towards Israel, refrained from resistance, and was hostile to the PLO.
Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The group has later stated that it may accept a 10-year truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders and allows Palestinian refugees from 1948, as well as their descendants, to return to what is now Israel.
The military wing of Hamas has launched attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. Tactics include suicide bombings, and since 2001, rocket attacks. Hamas’s rocket arsenal has evolved from short-range, homemade Qassam rockets, to long-range weapons that have reached major Israeli cities including Tel Aviv and Haifa. The attacks on civilians have been condemned as war crimes and crimes against humanity by human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.
In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations, and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government’s commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration.
In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance. Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza, after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there.
In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government. Progress stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014. In 2006, Hamas used an underground cross-border tunnel to abduct the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels, which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.
Hamas’ 1988 charter states that Hamas “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” (Article Six) and that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Article Thirty-One of the Charter states: “Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions—Islam, Christianity and Judaism—to coexist in peace and quiet with each other”.
The Hamas Charter (or Covenant), issued in 1988, outlined the organization’s position on many issues at the time. It identifies Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and declares its members to be Muslims who “fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors”. The charter states “our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious” and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel.
The Charter also asserts that through shrewd manipulation of imperial countries and secret societies, Zionists were behind a wide range of events and disasters going as far back in history as the French Revolution. Among the charter’s controversial statements is the following: “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews [and kill them]; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! “The document also quotes Islamic religious texts to provide justification for fighting against and killing the Jews of Israel, presenting the Arab–Israeli conflict as an inherently irreconcilable struggle between Jews and Muslims, and Judaism and Islam, adding that the only way to engage in this struggle between “truth and falsehood” is through Islam and by means of jihad, until victory or martyrdom. The Charter adds that “renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion” of Islam. The charter states that Hamas is humanistic, and tolerant of other religions as long as they do not block Hamas’s efforts.
But the current status of the Charter, as Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal says, is a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons. Hamas do not use the Charter on their website and prefer to use their election manifesto to put forth their agenda.Pastor states that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements may be using the Charter as an excuse to ignore Hamas.
Hamas comprises three interrelated wings – the social welfare and political wings, which are responsible for the social, administrative, political, and propaganda activities of Hamas, and the military wing, which is engaged in covert activities, such as acting against suspected collaborators, gathering intelligence on potential targets, procuring weapons, and carrying out military attacks.
The Majlis al-Shura (consultative council) is the group’s overarching political and decision making body. It includes representatives from Gaza, the West Bank, Israeli prisons, and the exiled external leadership, the Political Bureau. Under this Shura council are committees responsible for supervising Hamas activities, from media relations to military operations. In the West Bank and Gaza, local Shura committees answer to the Shura council and carry out its decisions. Hamas’s highest decision-making body is its Political Bureau, which consists of 15 members.
Before the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, it operated in exile in Damascus, Syria. The bureau is elected by members who select their representatives in local Consultative Councils in specific geographic regions. The councils then nominate representatives to the General Consultative Council, and the Political Bureau is elected by members of the General Consultative Council.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing formed in 1992, is named in commemoration of influential Palestinian nationalist Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. Armed Hamas cells sometimes refer to themselves as “Students of Ayyash”, “Students of the Engineer”, or “Yahya Ayyash Units”, to commemorate Yahya Ayyash, an early Hamas bomb-maker killed in 1996. Since its establishment, the military capability of Hamas has increased markedly, from rifles to Qassam rockets and more. While the number of members is known only to the Brigades leadership, Israel estimates the Brigades have a core of several hundred members who receive military style training, including training in Iran and in Syria (before the Syrian Civil War).
Additionally, the brigades have an estimated 10,000 operatives “of varying degrees of skill and professionalism” who are members of Hamas or their supporters and the internal security forces. These operatives can be expected to reinforce the Brigades in an “emergency situation”. Although the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are an integral part of Hamas, they also operate independently of Hamas, and at times contrary to Hamas’ stated aims.
Most analysts agree that although differences of opinion between the Hamas military and political wing exist, Hamas’s internal discipline is strong enough to contain them. Political scientists Ilana Kass and Bard O’Neill liken Hamas’s relationship with the Brigades to the political party Sinn Féin’s relationship to the military arm of the Irish Republican Army. To further explain the relationship, they quote a senior Hamas official: “The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade is a separate armed military wing, which has its own leaders who do not take their orders from [Hamas] and do not tell us of their plans in advance.” However, according to former U.S. Department of Treasury official and terrorism expert Matthew Levitt, the Hamas Political Bureau operates as the highest ranking leadership body determining the policy of the Hamas organization and has responsibility for directing and coordinating terrorist acts. Hamas’ founder, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, stated in 1998: “We can not separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly. Hamas is one body.”
Hamas has a welfare wing providing social services to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including running relief programs and funding schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. In particular, Hamas funded health services where people could receive free or inexpensive medical treatment. Hamas greatly contributed to the health sector, and facilitated hospital and physician services in the Palestinian territory. On the other hand, Hamas’s use of hospitals is sometimes criticised as purportedly serving the promotion of violence against Israel.
Charities affiliated with Hamas are known to financially support families of those who have been killed or imprisoned while carrying out militant actions or supporting such actions. Families typically receive a one time grant of $500 to $5,000, and those whose homes have been destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces have their rent paid for temporary housing. Families of militants not affiliated with Hamas sometimes receive less. Hamas has funded education and built Islamic charities, libraries, mosques and education centers for women.
They also built nurseries, kindergartens and supervised religious schools that provide free meals to children. When children attend their schools and mosques, parents are required to sign oaths of allegiance. Refugees, as well as those left without homes, are able to claim financial and technical assistance from Hamas.
Despite building materials needing to be smuggled into the territory, luxury beach resorts and tourist facilities operated by the interior ministry have been constructed by Hamas government–linked charities, including gardens, playgrounds, football fields, a zoo and restaurants aimed to provide employment and low cost entertainment for citizens. Some Palestinians have complained about the admission fee, criticizing Hamas for charging them to use “government-owned” property.
Hamas’s annual budget is $70 million. In the early 2000s, the largest backer of Hamas was Saudi Arabia, with over 50% of its funds coming from that country, mainly through Islamic charity organizations. An earlier estimate by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated a $50 million annual budget, mostly supplied by private charitable associations but with $12 million supplied directly by Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia, and a further $3 million from Iran. In 2002, a Saudi Arabian charity, the Saudi Council to Support the Palestinian Intefada run by then Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz stated the council will give the families of 102 Hamas militants killed, including eight suicide bombers, $5,340 each.
The Saudi owned al-Taqwa Bank has been identified as a holder of money for Hamas since 1997. Jamie C. Zarate, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, told Congress that $60 million was moved to Hamas accounts with Al Taqwa bank. The Al Taqwa bank has also been used to launder funds for Al Qaeda. The funding by Saudi Arabia continued despite Saudi pledges to stop funding groups such as Hamas that have used violence, and its recent denouncements of Hamas’ lack of unity with Fatah. Hamas is funded by Iran, Palestinian expatriates, and “private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states”
Another funding source for Hamas is through the 21,000 Arabs of Palestinian and Lebanese descent who live in the Foz do Iguaçu area of the tri-border region of Latin America. They have donated “something between $50 and $500 million” to 16 Arab extremist groups between 1999 and 2001, in amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000.
In the late 1980s, 10% of all Hamas funding came from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Later, from 1993 to 2006, Iran provided Hamas with approximately US$30 million annually. More recent assessments indicate that Iranian funding has increased significantly between 2006 and 2009, to hundreds of millions of Euros per year. After 2009, sanctions on Iran made funding difficult, forcing Hamas instead to rely on religious donations by individuals in the West Bank, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
Since June 2011, funding from the Islamic Republic of Iran has been cut to show “displeasure at Hamas’s failure to hold public rallies in support of President [Bashar al-] Assad” during the Syrian Civil War, and funding from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been cut so the Muslim Brotherhood can diverts funds “to support Arab Spring revolts”. The shortages have meant that Gaza’s 40,000 civil service and security employees were not paid July 2011. Hamas-linked charities in 2010 invested heavily in Gaza business ventures, with the condition that much of revenue stream from those ventures go to Hamas-linked charitable purposes in Gaza. Generally, Hamas and its members have increasingly dominated the Gaza economy, in particular since the 2006 Israel-led blockade of Gaza and Gaza elections.
Hamas approved a 540-million-dollar government budget for 2010 with up to 90% coming from “undisclosed” foreign aid, which includes funding from Iran and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood according to western intelligence agencies. Due to the Gaza blockade, Hamas still faces a financial crisis. With a bureaucracy of around 30,000 staff, the organisation is growing faster than can be handled, with salaries being delayed or prioritised for the lowest paid.
To fund its budget, Hamas has raised new taxes on businesses and imposed a 14.5% tax on luxury goods smuggled through the tunnels. Gaza businessmen have accused Hamas of profiting from the blockade and using these taxes to buy large tracts of land and private buildings for public facilities in competition to established businesses.
In August 2011, the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip imposed new travel restrictions on Palestinians active in non-governmental organizations by requiring them to provide details of the trip to the ministry in what the Palestinian NGO Network regards as another Hamas attempt to control and hamper them. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned the new laws. Tharut al Bic, head of the interior ministry’s NGO department, stated, “the new instructions are intended to make it easier for travellers to better organize their trip and to preserve order.” Hamas requires sick people wishing to leave the Gaza Strip to submit applications and meet various conditions, in addition to restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinians leaving Gaza.
In 2014 Fatah accused Hamas of stealing a total of $700 million from aid directed at Gaza Strip reconstruction and civilian casualties of the conflict. In the beginning of October Hamas soldiers raided one of the branches of Bank of Palestine and seized $750’000 in cash. A number of Fatah activists also accused Fatah leadership of organized theft of aid resources.
Campaign of violence:
Hamas uses both political activities and violence in pursuit of its goals. For example, while politically engaged in the 2006 Palestinian Territories parliamentary election campaign, Hamas stated in its election manifesto that it was prepared to use “armed resistance to end the occupation”. From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001 through May 2008, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks into Israel.
Attacks on civilians
In the first years of the First Intifada (1987–93), Hamas violence was directed first at collaborators with Israel and at individuals it considered moral deviants, and then later at the Israeli military. A new direction began with the formation of the al-Qassam Brigades militia in 1992, and in 1993 suicide attacks began against Israeli targets on the West Bank.
Aftermath of 1996 Jaffa Road bus bombings in which 26 people were killed. The first such attack occurred on April 16, 1993, when an al-Qassam Brigades operative detonated explosives in a car he parked next to two buses, one military and one civilian, in the West Bank town of Mehola, killing a Palestinian civilian and wounding 8 Israeli soldiers. After the February 1994 massacre by Baruch Goldstein of 30 Muslim civilians in a Hebron mosque, the al-Qassam Brigades expanded suicide attacks to target primarily civilians.
The first of the suicide bombings that targeted civilians was at Afula on April 16, 1994, when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car next to a bus, killing nine (including the bomber) and wounding 50. The most deadly suicide bombing was an attack on a Netanya hotel on March 27, 2002, in which 30 people were killed and 140 were wounded. The attack has also been referred to as the Passover massacre since it took place on the first night of the Jewish festival of Passover at a Seder.
Hamas has defended suicide attacks as a legitimate aspect of its asymmetric warfare against Israel, but they are consideted as crimes against humanity under international law. In a 2002 report, Human Rights Watch stated that Hamas leaders “should be held accountable” for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed by the al-Qassam Brigades. In May 2006 Israel arrested a top Hamas official, Ibrahim Hamed, who Israeli security officials alleged was responsible for dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis. Hamed’s trial on those charges has not yet concluded.
In 2008, Hamas explosives engineer Shihab al-Natsheh organized a deadly suicide bombing in Dimona. Since 2002, paramilitary soldiers of al-Qassam Brigades and other groups have used homemade Qassam rockets to hit Israeli towns in the Negev, such as Sderot. Al-Qassam Brigades was estimated in 2007 to have launched 22% of the rocket and mortar attacks, which killed fifteen people between the years 2000 and 2009 (see Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel).
The introduction of the Qassam-2 rocket in 2008 enabled Palestinian paramilitary groups to reach, from Gaza, such Israeli cities such as Ashkelon. In 2008, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, offered that Hamas would attack only military targets if the IDF would stop causing the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Following a June 19, 2008 ceasefire, the al-Qassam Brigades ended its rocket attacks and arrested Fatah militants in Gaza who had continued sporadic rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. The al-Qassam Brigades resumed the attacks after the November 4 Israeli incursion into Gaza.
Rocket attacks on Israel
According to Human Rights Watch, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have launched thousands of rockets into Israel since 2001, killing 15 civilians, wounding many more, and posing an ongoing threat to the nearly 800,000 Israeli civilians who live and work in the weapons’ range. Hamas officials have said that the rockets were aimed only at military targets, saying that civilian casualties were the “accidental result” of the weapons’ poor quality. Hamas leaders suggest that the purpose of the rocket attacks was indeed to strike civilians and civilian objects.
From January 2009, following Operation Cast Lead, Hamas largely stopped launching rocket attacks on Israel and has on at least two occasions arrested members of other groups who have launched rockets, “showing that it has the ability to impose the law when it wants”. In February 2010, Hamas issued a statement regretting any harm that may have befallen Israeli civilians as a result of Palestinian rocket attacks during the Gaza war. It maintained that its rocket attacks had been aimed at Israeli military targets but lacked accuracy and hence sometimes hit civilian areas. Israel responded that Hamas had boasted repeatedly of targeting and murdering civilians in the media.
According to one report, commenting on the 2014 conflict, “nearly all the 2,500–3,000 rockets and mortars Hamas has fired at Israel since the start of the war seem to have been aimed at towns”, including an attack on “a kibbutz collective farm close to the Gaza border”, in which an Israeli child was killed. Former Israeli Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi stated that “Hamas has expressed pride in aiming long-range rockets at strategic targets in Israel including the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the chemical plants in Haifa, and Ben-Gurion Airport”, which “could have caused thousands” of Israeli casualties “if successful”.
Attempts to derail 2010 peace talks
In 2010, Hamas, who have been actively sidelined from the peace talks by Israel, spearheaded a coordinated effort by 13 Palestinian militant groups, in attempt to derail the stalled peace talks between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. According to the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major Gen. Eitan Dangot, Israel seeks to work with Salam Fayyad, to help revive the Palestinian economy, and hopes to ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip further, “while somehow preventing the Islamic militants who rule it from getting credit for any progress”.
According to Dangot, Hamas must not be seen as ruling successfully or be allowed to “get credit for a policy that would improve the lives of people”. The campaign consists of attacks against Israelis in which, according to a Hamas declaration in early September, “all options are open.” The participating groups also include Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and an unnamed splinter group of Fatah.
As part of the campaign, on August 31, 2010, 4 Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, were killed by Hamas militants while driving on Route 60 near the settlement Kiryat Arba, in the West bank. According to witnesses, militants opened fire on the moving vehicle, but then “approached the car” and shot the occupants in their seats at “close range”. The attack was described by Israeli sources as one of the “worst” terrorist acts in years. A senior Hamas official said that Israeli settlers in the West Bank are legitimate targets since “they are an army in every sense of the word.”
Hamas has made great use of guerrilla tactics in the Gaza Strip and to a lesser degree the West Bank. It has successfully adapted these techniques over the years since its inception. According to a 2006 report by rival Fatah party, Hamas had smuggled between several hundred and 1,300 tons of advanced rockets, along with other weaponry, into Gaza. Hamas has used IEDs and anti-tank rockets against the IDF in Gaza. The latter include standard RPG-7 warheads and home-made rockets such as the Al-Bana, Al-Batar and Al-Yasin. The IDF has a difficult, if not impossible time trying to find hidden weapons caches in Palestinian areas — this is due to the high local support base Hamas enjoys.
Extrajudicial executions of rivals
In addition to killing Israeli civilians and armed forces, Hamas has also murdered suspected Palestinian Israel collaborators and Fatah rivals. Hundreds of Palestinians were executed by both Hamas and Fatah during the First Intifada. In the wake of the 2006 Israeli conflict with Gaza, Hamas was accused of systematically rounding up, torturing and summarily executing Fatah supporters suspected of supplying information to Israel. Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred Gazans were “maimed” and tortured in the aftermath of the conflict.
Seventy-three Gazan men accused of “collaborating” had their arms and legs broken by “unidentified perpetrators” and 18 Palestinians accused of helping Israel were executed by Hamas security officials in the first days of the conflict. In November 2012, Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam brigade publicly executed six Gaza residents accused of collaborating with Israel. According to the witnesses, six alleged informers were shot dead one by one in Gaza City, while the corpse of the sixth victim was tied by a cable to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets. In 2013, Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning Hamas for not investigating and giving a proper trial to the 6 men.
Their statement was released the day before Hamas issued a deadline for “collaborators” to turn themselves in, or they will be pursued “without mercy”. In August 2014, during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, at least 22 accused collaborators were executed by Hamas shortly after 3 of its commanders were assassinated by Israeli forces. An Israeli source denied that any of the commanders had been targeted on the basis of human intelligence.
Frequent killings of unarmed people have also occurred during Hamas-Fatah clashes. NGOs have cited a number of summary executions as particular examples of violations of the rules of warfare, including the case of Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s presidential guard, who was thrown to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City.
Hamas security forces reportedly shoot and torture Palestinians who opposed Hamas rule in Gaza. In one case, a Palestinian had criticized Hamas in a conversation on the street with some friends. Later that day, more than a dozen armed men with black masks and red kaffiyeh took the man from his home, and brought him to a solitary area where they shot him three times in the lower legs and ankles. The man told Human Rights Watch that he was not politically active.
On August 14, 2009, Hamas fighters stormed the Mosque of cleric Abdel-Latif Moussa. The cleric was protected by at least 100 fighters from Jund Ansar Allah (“Army of the Helpers of God”), an Islamist group with links to Al-Qaeda. The resulting battle left at least 13 people dead, including Moussa and 6 Hamas fighters, and 120 people injured.
According to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, during 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Hamas killed more than 120 Palestinian youths for defying house arrest imposed on them by Hamas, in addition to 30-40 Palestinians killed by Hamas in extrajudicial executions after accusing them of being collaborators with Israel. Referring to the killing of suspected collaborators, a Shin Bet official stated that “not even one” of those executed by Hamas provided any intelligence to Israel, while the Shin Bet officially “confirmed that those executed during Operation Protective Edge had all been held in prison in Gaza in the course of the hostilities.”
2011–13 Sinai insurgency
Hamas has been accused of providing weapons, training and fighters for Sinai-based insurgent attacks, although Hamas strongly denies the allegations, calling them a smear campaign aiming to harm relations with Egypt. According to the Egyptian Army, since the ouster of Egypt’s Muslim-Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, over 600 Hamas members have entered the Sinai Peninsula through smuggling tunnels. In addition, several weapons used in Sinai’s insurgent attacks are being traced back to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to the army.
The four leading insurgent groups in the Sinai have all reportedly maintained close ties with the Gaza Strip. Hamas is also accused of helping Morsi and other high-ranking Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members break out of the Wadi Natroun prison in Cairo during the 2011 revolution. Hamas called the accusation a “dangerous development”.
Egyptian authorities stated that the 2011 Alexandria bombing was carried out by the Gaza-based Army of Islam, which has received sanctuary from Hamas and earlier collaborated in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. Army of Islam members linked to the August 2012 Sinai attack have reportedly sought refuge in the Gaza Strip. Egypt stated that Hamas directly provided logistical support to the Muslim Brotherhood militants who carried out the December 2013 Mansoura bombing.