May 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Islamic Jihad Seeks Israel’s Destruction

May 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Islamic Jihad Seeks Israel’s Destruction

Latest Developments

Gaza-based terrorists fired more than 270 rockets and mortars at Israel on May 10 as the Israeli Air Force attacked launching sites across the coastal strip. The terrorist group Islamic Jihad’s rocket fire reflects the guided hand of Iran, which provides it with tens of millions of dollars annually.

Expert Analysis

“Since the 1980s, Islamic Jihad has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Islamic Republic, not unlike Hezbollah in Lebanon. The group is smaller and weaker than its Gaza-based counterpart, Hamas. But it maintains the capability to draw Israel into a regional war at Tehran’s direction.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Islamic Jihad is a subsidiary of the murderous regime in Tehran. When Islamic Jihad sends rockets into Israeli cities, they have Iranian fingerprints all over them. The Iranian mullahs are using Islamic Jihad in Gaza to attack Sderot and Tel Aviv just as they used Iraqi militias to maim and kill hundreds of Americans. Iran’s subsidiaries in the region are doing Iran’s dirty work, but the mullahs in Tehran are calling the shots.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Islamic Jihad’s Terrorist Record

Islamic Jihad, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997, is the largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas. Its manifesto rejects “any peaceful solution to the Palestinian cause” and affirms “the Jihad solution and the martyrdom style as the only choice for liberation.” The manifesto also calls America “the Great-Satan.”

In the 1990s and again during the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005, Islamic Jihad targeted Israeli civilians with suicide bombings, including the Netanya mall bombing in 2005, which killed five Israelis and wounded 50, and a 2006 suicide bombing on a Tel Aviv shawarma restaurant, which killed 11 and injured 70. In the May 2021 war in Gaza, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel.

Islamic Jihad Is a Proxy of Iran

Although Islamic Jihad is Sunni, it took inspiration from Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and views it as a model for the creation of a Palestinian state. Since the early 1990s, Iran has provided Islamic Jihad with income and military support, including small arms, rockets (such as the Fajr-5 and Fajr-3), and explosive-laden unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). According to the State Department’s 2021 Country Reports on Terrorism, “Iran continued providing weapons systems and other support” to Islamic Jihad, which is “behind numerous deadly attacks originating in Gaza and the West Bank.”

Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Nakhalah said in April 2023 that if “Israel demolishes a house in the West Bank today — it is Iran that pays [to rebuild it]. Also, the weapons that the Palestinians use for fighting come from Iran — the Iranians either pay for these weapons or provide them. This has been going on for 30 years. If I calculate all the money the Iranians have paid the Palestinians in these 30 years — it’s billions of dollars.”

Israel Kills Three Islamic Jihad Terror Chiefs in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran-Backed West Bank Chaos,” by Joe Truzman

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians,” by Mark Dubowitz and Behnam Ben Taleblu


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Palestinian Politics