Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Explainer: Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the group targeted by Israel in Gaza

World Aug 06, 2022 09:30AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Flame rises during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem 2/2

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli officials say air strikes on Gaza have targeted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement rather than Hamas, the militant group which rules the enclave. What is the difference between the two groups?

The PIJ is a militant group allied with Hamas, both with a background in the Muslim Brotherhood, a shared hostility to Israel and an ideological commitment to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state.

But the two groups have separate identities and some differences.

Whereas Hamas leaders have made statements softening their commitment to the destruction of Israel, the smaller PIJ has made no such move and rejects any compromises with Israel.

On Friday, as he explained the airstrikes on Israeli television, Prime Minister Yair Lapid described the group as "an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the state of Israel",

While it does not have as many long-range rockets as Hamas, PIJ does have a significant arsenal of small arms, mortars, rockets and anti tank missiles and an active armed wing called the Al Quds, or Jerusalem Brigades, that has attacked many Israeli targets over the years.

COMMANDER KILLED

Friday's air strikes killed Tayseer al-Jaabari, a senior commander who Israel said was the commander of the movement's northern region, responsible for planning attacks against Israeli citizens and military targets.

Up-to-date figures on PIJ's strength are difficult to come by, with estimates from last year ranging from about 1,000 to several thousand, according to the CIA's World Factbook.

Both Hamas, which has fought five conflicts with Israel since 2009, and PIJ are listed as terrorist organisations by the West. Both get funds and weapons from Iran, where PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah was reported to have been meeting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the day of the strikes.

Unlike Hamas, PIJ refuses to join elections and appears to have no ambition to form a government in Gaza or the West Bank.

WEST BANK

It maintains a significant presence in the West Bank town of Jenin, where Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the movement was arrested last week, setting off the crisis that led to Friday's strikes.

However its focus on militant activity means it does not have anything like the same infrastructure or responsibilities as Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, in charge of government and day-to-day needs of more than 2.3 million people.

Little more than a year since the 11-day war of May 2021, which inflicted huge damage on Gaza's economy, Israel's explicit focus on PIJ targets appears intended to convince Hamas to stay out of the fighting itself.

Zvika Haimovich, a former commander of the Israel Air Defense Forces who served in previous operations against Gaza in 2012 and 2014, said there were significant disagreements with PIJ that could make Hamas stay out.

"The direct immediate interest of Hamas is not to join this operation," he said.

"If Hamas joins this operation it will change totally the situation that we are talking about."

Explainer: Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the group targeted by Israel in Gaza
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email