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Terrorist Organizations and Other Groups of Concern

Al-Jihad (AJ)

Updated August 24, 2007

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

Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ);
Egyptian al-Jihad;
New Jihad;
The Jihad Group

Description
This Egyptian Islamic extremist group merged with Usama Bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization in 2001. Usama Bin Ladin's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was the former head of AJ. Active since the 1970s, the AJ's primary goal has been the overthrow of the Egyptian Government and the establishment of an Islamic state. The group's targets, historically, have been high-level Egyptian Government officials as well as U.S. and Israeli interests in Egypt and abroad. Regular Egyptian crackdowns on extremists, including on AJ, have greatly reduced AJ capabilities in Egypt.

Activities
The original AJ was responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. It claimed responsibility for the attempted assassinations in 1993 of Interior Minister Hassan al-Alfi in August 1993 and Prime Minister Atef. AJ has not conducted an attack inside Egypt since 1993 and has never successfully targeted foreign tourists there. The group was responsible for the Egyptian Embassy bombing in Islamabad in 1995 and a disrupted plot against the U.S. Embassy in Albania in 1998.

Strength
Unknown, but probably has several hundred hard-core members inside and outside of Egypt.

Location/Area of Operation
Historically AJ operated in the Cairo area. Most AJ members today are outside Egypt in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, and Yemen. AJ activities have been centered outside Egypt for several years under the auspices of al-Qaida.

External Aid
Since 1998 AJ has received most of its funding from al-Qaida; these close ties culminated in the eventual merger of the groups. Some funding may come from various Islamic nongovernmental organizations, cover businesses, and criminal acts.