Ad Code

Palestinian Fighters, How Many Armed Groups Are in Gaza and Who Are They?

Table of Contents [Show]

    Palestinian Fighters, How Many Armed Groups Are in Gaza and Who Are They?

    There are various factions in the Gaza region that are against Israel and claim to be taking hostages against Israeli citizens. Who are they and why do they form different groups?

    Hamas senior leader Moussa Abu Marzouk told the BBC in a recent interview that they were not responsible for all the Israeli hostages in the Gaza region. Marzouk said some of the hostages were being held by "different factions" that took part in the Oct. 7 attack on Israeli territory.

    BBC Verify has noted that at least five groups took part in the attack alongside Hamas.

    Although these groups are united in using violence against Israel, they have different views on how a future Palestinian state should be run and the role of religion in it.

    1. Hamas / Al-Qassam Brigades

    The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades is the military wing of the Hamas movement that has controlled Gaza since 2007. The group's name is taken from the name of a cleric who is seen as a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israel.

    This group has been involved in several wars with Israel. They have attacked Israeli citizens with suicide bombs and have also launched thousands of rockets.

    Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt, which began in the 1920s with the aim of spreading Islamic values and good deeds, but later became a political actor.

    One of the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood is to create a state based on Islamic law or sharia.

    In 2017, Hamas announced that it had severed ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, BBC Arabic journalist Feras Kilani believes that this statement is only to protect certain interests. The relationship between the two organizations remains the same behind the scenes.

    Categorized as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, Britain, the European Union and a number of other entities, Hamas' military wing was the group that led the attack on Israel on October 7.

    It is estimated that the group has between 20,000 and 30,000 members in the Gaza Strip. No other group has the power and roots in managing the Gaza region like Hamas has.

    Iran supports Hamas by providing funds, weapons and training. Hamas leaders have also thanked Iran publicly for its support several times.

    2. Palestinian Islamic Jihad / Al-Quds Brigade

    The Al-Quds Brigade or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is considered the group with the second largest military force in Gaza.

    The group was founded in the 1980s as the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement – which again, like most other groups, was labeled a terror organization by Western governments.

    The group's name, which refers to Jerusalem in Arabic, became famous after they were involved in fierce fighting with Israeli troops in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank in 2002.

    This group is said to have around 2,000 members. Al-Quds' ties with Iran are thought to be stronger than those with Hamas, according to our correspondent.

    Although both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad want an independent Palestine with Islam playing an important role in governance, the Islamic Jihad group's version of a religious state has a harder line.

    In a recent interview with Al Jazeera Arabic, one of the leaders of the Al-Quds Brigade admitted that they had taken 30 people hostage from Israel on October 7.

    The PIJ leader also made the claim that they have now returned the hostages who are women and children.

    3. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Abu Ali Mustafa Brigade

    The next group is called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) or also known as the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigade.

    Formerly known as the Popular Resistance Forces, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigade is now the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist or communist group.

    The group is best known for carrying out airline hijackings and other high-profile global attacks, especially in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Before the rise of Hamas, the PFLP was the second largest Palestinian group. Some reports say they took hostages in the October 7 attack, but the BBC has not been able to independently verify this.

    4. Al-Nasir Salah al-Deen Brigade

    The Al-Nasir Salah al-Deen Brigade was founded in 2000. The group has reportedly participated previously in joint attacks with Hamas, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.

    This brigade is the third largest faction in Gaza, an ally of Hamas and PIJ, and contributes to the police force in Gaza.

    They were powerful enough to fire their own rockets at Israel and claim that they captured several Israeli soldiers on October 7, without providing any evidence.

    5. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

    The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades) is a militant group associated with the Fatah movement, although not directly supported.

    Fatah is a secular political group that runs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. However, after they lost control of Gaza to Hamas in the 2006 elections, they were forced out of the territory by Hamas the following year.

    There are different factions within the group affiliated with various Fatah leaders, but in Gaza they currently have little power.

    This did not stop some members from taking part on October 7, according to a BBC Verify investigation.

    There is footage that appears to show they were involved, both on the day of the attack and in training with other groups beforehand.

    The BBC's Feras Kilani says it is difficult to know whether their involvement was a group decision or just an individual choice.

    6. Mujahideen Brigade

    Similar to the previous group, the Mujahideen Brigades (Mujahideen Brigades) have their roots in the Fatah group.

    Apart from that, this group also has links to Islamic Jihad and extreme religious ideologies. This is another group that claims to have taken Israeli hostages on October 7.

    Post a Comment


    Close Menu