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Terrorist Organizations and Other Groups of Concern

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

Updated August 24, 2007

From: "Chapter 8; Foreign Terrorist Organizations," Country Reports on Terrorism 2005, US Department of State, April 30, 2006.

a.k.a. al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion

Description
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade consists of an unknown number of small cells of terrorists associated with the Palestinian Fatah organization. Al-Aqsa emerged at the outset of the 2000 Palestinian intifada to attack Israeli targets with the aim of driving the Israeli military and settlers from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem, and establishing a Palestinian state.

Activities
Al-Aqsa has carried out shootings and suicide operations against Israeli civilians and military personnel in Israel and the Palestinian territories, rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip, and the killing of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. Al-Aqsa has killed a number of U.S. citizens, the majority of them dual U.S.-Israeli citizens, in its attacks. In January 2002, al-Aqsa was the first Palestinian terrorist group to use a female suicide bomber.

Strength
Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation
Al-Aqsa operates in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, and has only claimed attacks inside these three areas. It may have followers in Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon.

External Aid
Iran and Hizballah probably provide some support to al-Aqsa elements, but the extent of external influence on al-Aqsa as a whole is not clear.