HAMAS formed in late 1987 at the beginning of the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising). Its roots are in the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it is supported by a robust social/political structure inside the Palestinian territories. The group’s charter calls for establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel and rejects all agreements made between the PLO and Israel. More recently, HAMAS has publicly expressed a willingness to accept a long-term cessation of hostilities if Israel agrees to a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. HAMAS’s strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and areas of the West Bank.
HAMAS has a paramilitary arm, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which, beginning in the 1990s, has conducted many anti-Israeli attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories. These have included large-scale terrorist bombings against Israeli civilian targets, as well as small-arms attacks, improvised roadside explosives, and the launching of rockets into Israel. While the group receives some support from foreign countries and movements, it remains independent
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