Established in Gaza (Palestine) in 1981, its main objective was the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian State. The organization’s flag has a verse of the Quran: “And those who do jihad for us, we shall guide them to our paths. And God is with those who do good”. It has been labeled as a terrorist organization by the USA, the European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. The Islamic Jihad was founded by the Palestinians Dr. Fatji El-Aziz Shqaqi, a doctor from Rafah, and the Sheik Abed Awda, an Islamic preacher from the Jebalya fields. They were originally members of the Muslim Brotherhood but were seduced by the successful Iranian Revolution (1979). Today, they collaborate and compete with Hamas in Gaza and have connections with Hezbollah. The Shqaqi branch was expelled from Egypt in 1981 after the murder of President Anwar El-Sadat and later reestablished in Gaza. The Islamic Jihad began its armed operations against Israel in 1984. They executed various attacks in Israel. The first one was a suicide attack against a 405 bus from Tel- Aviv to Jerusalem in 1989, murdering 16 Israeli civilians. During the Second Intifada, they multiplied their suicide attacks. Shqaqi was a key piece in the creation of the Alliance for the Rejection of the Palestinian Forces that in January 1994, had conformed a coalition of eight groups of the PLO (among them the Popular Front and the Democratic Front), the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which rejected the peace process of Oslo.
Shqaqi was murdered in Malta in 1995, he was replaced by Ramadan Salaj for 23 years and then substituted by Ziad Najalah because of his illness in 2018. The armed wing of the Islamic Jihad is the Al-Quds brigades, which are active in the West Bank and Gaza, with their main bastions in the cities of the West Bank: Hebron and Jenin.