Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, prime minister said 'we maintain complete freedom of action and we will hurt whoever tries to hurt us'
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (in Arabic Harakat al-Jihad al-Islami al-Filastin), known by Israelis simply as Islamic Jihad, was formed in 1979 by Islamic fundamentalist Fathi Shkaki and other radical Palestinian students who split from the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, whom they considered too moderate.
Following the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981, Egypt expelled Islamic Jihad, which was thought to have collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the killing, from its territory to the Gaza Strip. The group, which holds the stated goal of wanting to destroy the State of Israel and create an Islamic state in Palestine in its place, has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel.
Islamic Jihad began focusing its terrorist activities against Israel in the 1980s. Before the First Intifada broke out in 1987, the group carried out several terrorist attacks against Israelis in the Gaza Strip. In August 1988, its leaders, Shkaki and Abd al-Aziz Odah, were expelled to Lebanon.
In Lebanon, Shkaki formed close contacts with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which at the time was funding and arming Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Shi'ite militant group. Shkaki set about reorganizing Islamic Jihad, as well as learning new terror tactics from Hezbollah.
In 1989, Islamic Jihad moved its headquarters to Damascus, Syria, where its headquarters has remained. It is believed that the group is funded by the regimes in Syria and Iran. Its main theater of operations is the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but the group has also operated in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
In the Palestinian territories, Islamic Jihad formed an alliance with Hamas after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction and Israel. Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which is much larger in numbers than Islamic Jihad, share one main ideological difference: Islamic Jihad believe that Islamic law should first be forced upon Arab and Muslim states, and then the rest of the world, including Israel. Hamas, which is also an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has reversed those priorities, focusing first on eradicating Israel and creating a Palestinian caliphate in Palestine, and then launching violent jihad against moderate Arab and Muslim regimes. However, Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has signed a ceasefire agreement with Israel while Islamic Jihad has stated it would not abide by the agreement, which includes the halt of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad view the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, to be tainted by Western secularism, and consider it to be an illegitimate leader of the Palestinian people.
The two groups have joined forces on numerous occasions, one of the most notable being the bloody suicide bombing at the Beit Lid Junction in Israel in 1995, in which eight Israelis were killed and more than 50 others wounded. Israel has responded to Islamic Jihad terrorist activities mostly through a policy of targeted killings of its operators and leaders. In 1995, Shkaki was shot and killed in Malta by an unidentified passenger on a motorcycle. It is widely believed that Israel's Mossad espionage agency was behind his murder.
Since Shkaki's death, fellow founder Sheikh Abdullah Ramadan Shallah has led Islamic Jihad.
Israel believes Saturday's fire came from lone Hamas activists, but the group's leadership was pressured to act ■ Strike that killed family of eight has to be thoroughly examined by the army, to understand what went wrong
A friend from Gaza tells me how Islamic Jihad’s rockets express the enormous fury of every Palestinian in the caged-in Strip, where the suffering is beyond words, Hamas takes care of itself and Israel keeps making new demands
Friday night's rockets fired by Hamas operatives without orders to do so, Israeli defense sources believe ■ Palestinian factions met, declared unity ■ Hamas stayed out of week's round of violence between Islamic Jihad and Israel
And how one decision by the Home Front Command cast a shadow on Israel's military success
Military officials acknowledge the eight family members died in a building that hadn't been examined by Israeli intel for months, and no one checked whether any civilians were in the vicinity before the overnight strike, which the IDF is now looking into
Live Updates Israel Strikes Islamic Jihad Positions Following Rockets Launched From Gaza After Cease-fire
Netanyahu had announced mission accomplished ■ Fire continues after cease-fire with Islamic Jihad announced ■ 32 Palestinians die in Israeli strikes ■ Some 450 rockets launched at Israel since Tuesday
All the candidates condemned the rocket fire toward Israel, but responses show a growing gap in the party on how to address Israel and the Palestinians
Israeli military’s spokesperson in Arabic said that the target was an Islamic Jihad commander, but defense establishment sources say it was an ‘infrastructure’■ Palestinians say casualties are a family of herders
Israel knows it needs to preserve Hamas as the force blocking Iran. If the current round ends without the group's intervention, it will have to let it wield its political influence
The killing of Islamic Jihad commander, who was 'far from brilliant' but did more than anyone else to undermine stability over the last year, led to a 48-hour flare-up in Gaza
'The new rules of the game are clear – the army has complete freedom to act,' says newly-appointed Defense Minister Bennett
Rocket alert sirens ring out minutes after Islamic Jihad spokesperson confirms ceasefire ■ Death toll hits 32 in Gaza
IDF attempted not to hit Hamas positions or infrastructure in Gaza, 'walking a tightrope' to prevent all out war, a spokesperson said
In first, Israel hasn’t responded to rocket launches from the Strip by attacking Hamas targets. On their respective sides, Bibi and Sinwar are fighting for political supremacy
'For the Israelis, apparently any two people riding on a motorcycle have become a target,' human rights researcher says
Some two dozen Palestinians have been killed, 'most of them from Islamic Jihad,' the army says, as mediation efforts are underway after the assassination of Islamic Jihad's Baha Abu al-Ata on Tuesday
‘If a concrete proposal including a significant improvement for civilians is made, we can demand that Islamic Jihad restrain its fire,’ a Hamas spokesman says
Hamas seems more interested in striking a longer-term deal with Israel than joining Islamic Jihad’s rocket attacks, but that could change if the number of Palestinian casualties rises
As air-raid sirens sounded in the Israeli city Tuesday morning, schools were shuttered and shopping malls took the almost unprecedented step of remaining closed
Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad told the Dar al-Hayat Arabic-language news site, 'Netanyahu has crossed all the red lines in assassinating Al-Quds Brigades Commander Baha Abu al-Ata'
The group was founded in 1981 with the aim of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and all of what is now Israel
Some 200 rockets launched at Israel, after senior official, wife die in targeted assassination ■ House takes direct hit at Gaza border community ■ 30 Palestinians wounded in Israeli strikes ■ U.S. envoy to the Mideast expresses support for Israel
Schools, offices closed as some 200 rockets fired from Gaza in reprisal for killing of Baha Abu al-Ata and his wife ■ Another eight Gazans killed in IDF strikes ■ No Israelis killed
Analysis Islamic Jihad Commander’s Killing May Not Be a Political Ploy, but It’s Certainly Advantageous for Netanyahu
Accusations of political considerations in launching military operations are rarely founded in Israel, where military and intelligence chiefs have ways to complain about abuse of their professional judgment
Kahol Lavan chairman says that for the sake of Israel’s security, officials 'sometimes have to make tough decisions, while assessing their implications'
Chances of a unity government have supposedly become greater after the killing of an Islamic Jihad commander – but it's far from a done deal
Israeli sources confirmed a local missile hit an office building in Gaza, but one could conclude that was the case just from the silence of Palestinian media outlets regarding the hit