HAMAS does not have a conventional military in the Gaza Strip but maintains security forces in addition to its military wing, the 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades; the military wing reports to the HAMAS Political Bureau; there are several other militant groups operating in the Gaza Strip, most notably the Al-Quds Brigades of Palestine Islamic Jihad, which are usually but not always beholden to HAMAS's authority (2023)
the military wing of HAMAS has an estimated 20-25,000 fighters (2022)
the military wing of HAMAS is armed with light weapons, including an inventory of improvised rocket, anti-tank missile, and mortar capabilities; HAMAS acquires its weapons through smuggling or local construction and receives some military support from Iran (2023)
since seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, HAMAS has claimed responsibility for numerous rocket attacks into Israel and organized protests at the border between Gaza and Israel, resulting in violent clashes, casualties, and reprisal military actions by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF); HAMAS and Israel fought an 11-day conflict in May of 2021, which ended in an informal truce; sporadic clashes continued into 2023, including rocket attacks from Gaza and retaliatory IDF strikes; Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has conducted numerous attacks on Israel since the 1980s, including a barrage of mortar and rocket strikes in 2020, also prompting IDF counter-strikes; see Appendix T for more details on HAMAS and PIJ
in 2017, HAMAS and PIJ announced the formation of a "joint operations room" to coordinate the activities of their armed wings; by late 2020, the formation consisted of 12 militant groups operating in Gaza and had conducted its first joint training exercise (2023)
NOTE: The information regarding Gaza Strip on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Gaza Strip 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Gaza Strip 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
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