Appendix D – Statement of Reasons – Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades
(Also known as:
Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades; and Izz al-Din Al-Qassem Brigades)
information is based on publicly available details about Hamas’ Izz al‑Din
al‑Qassam Brigades. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these
details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified
Basis for listing a
Division 102 of the Criminal
Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist
organisation, the Attorney-General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that
directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or
fostering the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has
occurred or will occur); or
the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occurred or
Details of the organisation
Hamas is a militant Sunni Islamist organisation and political party
founded in 1987 in the Palestinian Territories during the first Intifada
uprising. Hamas began as a branch of, and retains an ideological affinity with,
the Muslim Brotherhood. Like its parent, Hamas is a multifaceted, well
organised and relatively moderate organisation renowned for its extensive
social service networks in the Palestinian Territories. Since winning a
majority of seats in the Palestinian general legislative elections in 2006, and
gaining control of Gaza by force in 2007, Hamas has been responsible for the
administration and provision of government services including health, education
and security to Gaza’s inhabitants.
The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades were officially established in 1991
to provide Hamas with a military capability. Originally, the Brigades were
organized secretively, comprising compartmentalized cells that specialized in
terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings inside Israel. Since Hamas
gained control of Gaza in 2007 and took up a governing role, the Brigades have
been forced to develop, at least partially, into a more traditional military
force. The Brigades operate predominantly in Gaza, with limited representation
in the West Bank.
As Hamas’ military wing, the Brigades’ objectives are subordinate to
Hamas’ broad political goals. Their essential aim is the unification of Israel
and the Palestinian Territories under Islamic rule – a goal which entails the
destruction of Israel as a political entity. Due to the disparity between
Israel and Hamas’ respective military resources, the Brigades have adopted
terrorist tactics in their bid to defeat Israel. Most famously, they adopted
the use of suicide bombings, describing them as the “F-16” of the Palestinian
The Brigades have never demonstrated any intent to conduct attacks
outside of Israel and the Palestinian Territories or to target interests of
countries other than Israel.
The size of the
Brigades is difficult to determine. International Crisis Group in 2009
described its estimated strength as 7000 – 10 000 full time members, with
around 20 000 reserves. The proportion of members assigned to more standard
military and security duties, and those assigned to planning terrorist attacks
is not known.
Despite being Hamas’ military wing and subordinate to Hamas’
ideological objectives, the Brigades are structured as a distinct and discrete
organisation which can survive the dissolution of Hamas’ political structures.
Accordingly, the Brigades operate with a significant degree of independence in
their decision making.
The leader of the Brigades is Mohammed Deif, who has held the
position since 2002.
The Brigades maintain their own website, including an English
language version, which publicizes their aims and activities. It is used to
claim responsibility for terrorist attacks and to announce the deaths of its
members as a result of Israeli airstrikes.
Hamas’ funding comes from a range of both official and private
sources. Saudi Arabia and Iran have traditionally been the largest sources of
financial aid. Hamas collects taxes within Gaza and has limited access to
Palestinian Authority funds. The amount of money earmarked specifically for the
Brigades is difficult to ascertain.
Terrorist activity of
indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts / Directly or indirectly
preparing and/or planning terrorist acts
Since their first suicide bombing in 1993, the Brigades are
reported to have killed more than 500 people in more than 350 separate
terrorist attacks. Since 2005, however, the majority of the terrorist activity
conducted by the Brigades has consisted of small-arms fire and rocket and
mortar fire directed at Israeli military assets and communities in the vicinity
of Gaza. These attacks, sometimes indiscriminate in nature, have caused
significant property damage as well as deaths and injuries to military
personnel and civilians. Recent terrorist attacks for which responsibility has
been claimed by, or is reliably attributed to, the Brigades have included:
7 April 2011: an anti-tank missile
struck a school bus near the Gaza strip, destroying the bus and resulting in
the death of an Israeli teenager. The
Brigades took responsibility for the attack, although they claimed they had not
intended to target Israeli schoolchildren, and had mistaken the bus for one
carrying Israeli military personnel.
1 September 2010: a group
of Brigades members wounded two Israeli settlers near Ramallah. A subsequent statement by the Brigades threatened a wave of attacks
31 August 2010: four Israeli
settlers were shot dead by the same members of the Brigades near the West Bank
city of Hebron.
indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts
The Brigades control
supply lines to Iran, where it sends fighters for military training. These same
supply lines are used by Palestinian Islamic Jihad for procurement and
training. With this arrangement the Brigades are indirectly assisting
Palestinian Islamic Jihad in committing terrorist acts.
On the basis of the
above information, ASIO assesses Hamas’ Izz al-Din al‑Qassam Brigades
continue to directly and/or indirectly engage in, prepare, plan, assist,
advocate or foster the doing of terrorist acts involving threats to life and
serious property damage. This assessment is corroborated by information
provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.
In the course of
pursuing its objectives Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are known to have
committed or threatened action:
causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons
or endanger a person’s life; and
the intention of advancing Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-qassam Brigades’
political, religious or ideological causes; and
the intention of intimidating the public and sections of the public.
Links to Australia
There are no known links to Australia.
Level of participation in peace negotiations
There are no current peace negotiations being conducted including
Other designations -
Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (the Brigades) are proscribed
as a terrorist organisation by the governments of the United Kingdom and New
Zealand. Hamas (including the Brigades) has been proscribed as a terrorist
organisation by the governments of the United States and Canada.
Hamas is also listed by the European Union for the purposes of its
anti-terrorism financing measures.
Hamas is also included in the DFAT Consolidated List that refers
to United Nationals Council Resolution 1373 in relation to countering financing