Islamic Jihad Group Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2820 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

¶ … NCC (book) / Waller (book)

Page 3 Cordesman & Moravitz (book)

Page 4 Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs (report)

Page 5 Cragin & Daley (Rand Corporation report)

Page 6 Federal Bureau of Investigation /

Page 7 Milton-Edwards (book)

Page 8 Kramer (book) / Debka (article)

Page 9 Hatina (book)

Page 10 Helfont (research publication) / Conclusion

Islamic Jihad

The Islamic Jihad's "…founders chose the group's name purposefully, to convince other Muslims of the legitimacy of their ideology and methods. The name was a conscious effort to justify terrorism in the name of Islam, at a time when most 'Muslim terrorists' were terrorists who happened to be Muslim…" (J. Michael Waller, 2007, p. 57).

The Islamic Jihad Union (also known as al-Djihad as-Islami and sometimes it goes by the initials PIJ and IJU) is an extremist organization that, according to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCC) embraces an "anti-Western ideology" through violent means. The group reportedly originated in Uzbekistan, where it opposed the existing regime's secular rule and sought to replace that regime with a government that was based on Islamic law (NCC).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Paper on Islamic Jihad Group Assignment

The first known attacks launched by PIJ occurred in 2004 in Central Asia; about 47 people were killed, including 33 terrorists, the NCC reports. This attack was the first known suicide attack used as a strategy in Central Asia (Uzbekistan), according to the NCC. The Islamic Jihad attacked again in 2004, launching "near-simultaneous suicide bombings" of the Israeli and United States Embassies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Also included in those coordinated bombings was the office of the Uzbekistan Prosecutor General. The PIJ group claimed responsibility for that second attack, and sent a message that the violence was carried out in support of PIJ "brothers" in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq. That attack occurred on the day of the trial for the PIJ members who were arrested for their "alleged participation" in the first 2004 attacks (NCC).

In September 2007 German authorities arrested three PIJ members; they were allegedly involved in a plot to blow up facilities -- belonging to the U.S. -- using chemicals and other materials equivalent to 1,200 pounds of TNT.

The Islamic Jihad organization began as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood; when the Brotherhood showed "growing rejection of militancy," the PIJ broke away and perceives that violence is "…a legitimate tool in changing the face of Arab societies and regimes" (Cordesman, 2005, p. 208). The PIJ is also active in Palestine and have "…employed unconventional tactics in the war against Israel," according to the book the Israeli-Palestinian War: Escalating to Nowhere by Anthony H. Cordesman and Jennifer Moravitz. On page 208 Cordesman writes that unlike Hamas, the PIJ is secretive and does not have a social role in Palestinian society. The objective of PIJ is to "drive the State of Israel from land it considers Palestinian territory" and build an "Islamic theocracy in Palestine" by using violence (Cordesman, 2005, p. 208). Interestingly, the PIJ will perpetrate violence against not only Westerners but against Muslim regimes that "deviate" from the hard line definition of Islam (Cordesman, p. 208).

The 2004 attacks in Central Asia were not the first attacks carried out by the Islamic Jihad. Indeed, PIJ is credited with a hand grenade attack on the Israeli army induction ceremony at the Western Wall in October of 1986. That attack killed one person and injured 69. The founders of PIJ were Dr. Fathi Shekaki and Abed el-Azzia Ouda, both from the Gaza strip. In 1988 the two were departed to Lebanon in 1988, Cordesman writes (p. 209), but they reorganized and developed a military unit specifically designed to assault Israel in any way they could. In 1990 (February) the military component of PIJ attacked an Israeli tourist bus in Egypt. That assault killed nine Israelis and two Egyptians, while wounding 19 others (Cordesman, p. 209).

What Cordesman did not mention in his book is that a Egyptian component of the Islamic Jihad -- Egyptian Islamic Jihad -- was responsible for killing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Sadat had been willing to make peace with Israel, and had in fact signed peace agreements with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978 at the White House in Washington, D.C.. The second agreement was called "A Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel" which led directly to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, according to the Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs (

The two men shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their bold and courageous actions. But to the Islamic Jihad, making peace with Israel was giving in and selling out to the West, and in their minds he was a traitor and had to be disposed of.

After the killing of Sadat, the Egyptian government cracked down on the PIJ, according to Cragin, et al., by rounding up suspected members and imprisoning them. Other member of the PIJ managed to get out of Egypt and reportedly relocated to Afghanistan, where they "received additional training in guerrilla tactics and joined the mujahideen against the Soviet invasion" (Cragin, et al., 2004, p. 72). Once the Soviets had been driven out of Afghanistan, some members of the PIJ returned to Egypt to "revitalize their terrorist campaign," Cragin explains (p. 72).

The Islamic Jihad group (also called Egyptian Islamic Jihad -- EIJ) had some success conducting their terror in Egypt, but the Egyptian government had beefed up its security enormously which put a damper on PIJ's strategic opportunity to kill and bomb. Also, because the PIJ did not have a base of popular support -- and could not compete with the bigger and more well ensconced group, as-Gama'at al-Islamiyya ("Islamic Group") for recruits -- the PIJ in fairly large numbers retreated from Egypt. Cragin writes that in 1993 the PIJ decided that since it could not muster some popular support from Egyptians, it would go to Europe and attack the Egyptian government abroad.

The PIJ "…established cells in Europe and Asia" and in 1995, the group successfully carried out a "suicide bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan," Cragin writes on page 73. The attacked killed 16 and injured 60, but the leader of the group, Ayman al-Zawahiri, "had larger plans for the group" (p. 73). Two years earlier, in 1993, al-Zawahiri had met Osama bin Laden in Sudan, just as bin Laden was getting his own terrorist organization off the ground, al Qaeda. The two hit it off and al-Zawahiri was impressed that bin Laden planned a "worldwide jihad against the United States and Israel" (p. 73).

It is clear that al-Zawahiri has gone on to bigger and more violent acts since he joined up with bin Laden. Today, al-Zawahiri is a spokesperson for some of al Qaeda's nefarious acts of terror, and is considered bin Laden's number two man in the pecking order. In November, 2010, al-Zawahiri (referred to as "Dr. al-Zawahiri" in some publications) published his second book ("Spaida-e-Sehr Aur Timtamata Chiragh") but authorities in Pakistan have banned the book from being sold in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It should also be mentioned that al-Zawahiri is #2 on the FBI "Most Wanted Terrorist" list, right behind bin Laden. "Al-Zawahiri is a physician and founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ)," the FBI explains. Al-Zawahiri has been indicted for his role in bombings in Kenya, Nairobi, Tanzania and other places. There is currently a "…reward of up to $25 million" for information leading to his arrest or conviction (

The reason for the banning of al-Zawahiri's book is that the jihad-themed message "…has the potential to provoke the religious feelings of the public," according to the news organization Sify ( In simpler terms, there are cells of al Qaeda in that border region next to Afghanistan and it is widely known that the movement of insurgents (out to kill Americans and interfere with the American-supported Afghan government) across the border into Afghanistan is significant. Hence, the Pakistani government wants to show the American forces in Afghanistan -- and the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C. -- that it is doing all it can to prevent the insurgents from gaining a larger foothold in their country.

Meantime, zeroing in on the Islamic Jihad's activities in the West Bank in the 1980s, author Beverley Milton-Edwards writes that the PIJ established cells in the West Bank prior to the "outbreak of the Intifada in 1987" (Milton-Edwards, 1999, p. 139). The PIJ's cell in the West Bank -- a cell that was determined to attack Israel -- was directed from Amman by Sheikh as'ad Bayyud al-Tammimi. But few political inroads were achieved in the West Bank by the PIJ until the group, in July, 1983, stabbed to death an Israeli civilian (student) named Aharon Gross, Milton-Edwards explains (p 139). The center of Jewish settlers at that time was Hebron, and there had been religious tension building up because both the Muslims and the Jews claimed rights to the Ibrahimi mosque. That was where the killing took place.


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APA Style

Islamic Jihad Group.  (2010, November 13).  Retrieved February 26, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Islamic Jihad Group."  13 November 2010.  Web.  26 February 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Islamic Jihad Group."  November 13, 2010.  Accessed February 26, 2020.