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Hamas (hämäsˈ) [Arab., = zeal], Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that was founded in 1987 during the Intifada; it seeks to establish an Islamic state in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip (the former mandate of Palestine). An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas operates mosques, schools, clinics, and social programs but is best known in the West for its military wing, which has carried out numerous terrorist attacks on Israelis. Hamas opposed the 1993 accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which granted Palestinians gradual limited autonomy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and called for complete Israeli withdrawal from both areas.

After 1993 Hamas's military wing carried out suicide bombings in Israel in an attempt to derail both that agreement and further negotiations. Hamas supporters were prominent among those who challenged the Palestinian Authority (which was dominated by Al Fatah, the main faction of the PLO), and its leaders have been subjected to mass arrests. The organization opposed the 1996 elections held in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for the Palestinian Authority legislative council but did not call for a boycott; some Hamas sympathizers ran as independents. In 2004, Israel killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas's spiritual leader, in retaliation for continued Hamas attacks, and subsequently Hamas military leaders based in Damascus, Syria, became more influential than the political leaders in Gaza.

In 2005 Hamas ran strongly in local elections in Gaza and the West Bank, besting Al Fatah in many areas, and in the Palestinian Authority (PA) legislative elections in Jan., 2006, it won a majority of the seats and then formed a government. Accelerating tensions between Hamas and Al Fatah threatened to dissolve the PA in chaos in the spring of 2006, but when Hamas forces captured (June) an Israeli soldier and held in him in the Gaza Strip it provoked a major Israeli incursion into N and central Gaza and renewed fighting. A political stalemate with PA President Mahmoud Abbas over recognizing Israel and other issues led to tensions with the PLO that erupted at times into fighting in 2006.

In 2007 Hamas and Al Fatah agreed to form a national unity government, but continuing clashes led to Hamas's seizure of control in the Gaza Strip (June, 2007), which then led Abbas to install a new government without Hamas. Israel subjected the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to a blockade. A new cycle of Hamas-Israeli fighting that began in Nov., 2008, led to another Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in Jan., 2009. Human rights groups accused both Hamas and Israel of committing war crimes during the fighting. Attempts since 2007 to reestablish a PA government including both Hamas and Al Fatah proved unsuccessful until 2014 when an agreement led to the appointment of a technocratic unity government. Tensions between the two groups, however, continued, and the government collapsed in 2015.

July, 2014, saw Israeli air strikes against Hamas and the Gaza Strip after three Israeli teenagers were murdered in the West Bank. Israel blamed Hamas for the killings; Hamas denied responsibility. Hamas rocket attacks against targets in Israel began a cycle of significant retaliatory attacks and led to an Israeli ground invasion; a cease-fire was agreed to in August. In 2017 negotiations led to a preliminary deal between Hamas and Al Fatah to return the Gaza Strip to PA control, but by the early 2018 progress toward completing the deal had stalled, and tensions between the two subsequently increased. In 2018 Hamas led mass marches (March–May) against the Israeli border in which more than 100 Gazans were killed and thousands wounded; it engaged in retaliatory attacks with Israeli forces in late May, and a new outbreak of attacks erupted in July.


See studies by Z. Chehab (2007), J. Gunning (2008), and P. McGeough (2009).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Dr Abu Al Fateh said the new system makes for easier handling of the current method used.
With an unfortunate four faults and a time of 58.89, Basel Al Dosari took second place with Al Fateh Cantacino.
El Jaish are level with Iran's Foolad Khouzestan on five points and goal difference at the top of Group B after playing out a goalless stalemate against today's opponent Al Fateh in their last outing a fortnight ago.
Khalid Al Qattan, from Al Fateh, attributed the decision to the inability of the participants to agree on an agenda for the dialogue and the non-participation of the opposition in the talks.
Libya hosted two regional FameLab heats at 7th April University in Zawia and Al Fateh University in Tripoli, resulting in ten finalists.
The system was installed on the campus of Al Fateh, established in 1957 and the largest university in Libya, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Al Fateh Revolution.
The Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry is now studying options for Al Fateh Corniche, which could potentially spell the end for existing facilities like Dolphin Resort Bahrain and Funland.
On Tuesday, Al Wahda will face Al Shabab and the Kuwait Olympic team will take on Al Fateh.
According to Khalaf, the opening of the road will allow traffic heading north along Al Fateh Highway to cross the Diplomat Intersection non-stop towards east to Muharraq along Sheikh Isa bin Salman Causeway, or north to Bahrain Bay and the Financial Harbour, or west to Seef District and Hamad Town.
The 20-storey tower offers residents all the delights of modern living and is a freehold development created by the Al Fateh Group.
The causeway, which is being built by Belgium's Six Construct and Bahrain's Haji Hassan Group, includes upgrading the junctions that connect the Al Fateh Highway to the King Faisal Highway and the Shaikh Hamad Causeway.