From the U.S. Department of State: HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement) Description Formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various HAMAS elements have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. Loosely structured, with some elements working clandestinely and others working openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the West Bank. Also has engaged in peaceful political activity, such as running candidates in West Bank Chamber of Commerce elections. Activities HAMAS activists, especially those in the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks--including large-scale suicide bombings--against Israeli civilian and military targets. In the early 1990s, they also targeted suspected Palestinian collaborators and Fatah rivals. Claimed several attacks during the unrest in late 2000. Strength Unknown number of hard-core members; tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers. Location/Area of Operation Primarily the occupied territories, Israel. In August 1999, Jordanian authorities closed the group's Political Bureau offices in Amman, arrested its leaders, and prohibited the group from operating on Jordanian territory. External Aid Receives funding from Palestinian expatriates, Iran, and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activities take place in Western Europe and North America.

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Wikipedia - Hamas
Hyperlinked encyclopedia article about the majority Palestinian political party.
Yale Law School - The Avalon Project: Hamas Covenant 1988
Complete transcript of The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, dated 18 August 1988.
BBC News - Profile: Hamas' Ismail Haniya
Biography of Ismail Haniya, who headed Hamas' national list of candidates in January's legislative elections. (January 27, 2006)
BBC News - Profile: Hamas' Mahmoud Zahhar
Biography of Mahmoud Zahhar, believed to be the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (January 27, 2006)
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