LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Color Coded Guide To Militant Islamic Groups
Aired May 30, 2003 - 19:38 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, as part of the U.S.-backed roadmap to peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian authority is supposed to crack down on militant groups. That could be a tall order.
To help us understand the different radical groups and their different goals and positions, our Kelly Wallace offers a color-coded who's who.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Green is for Hamas. It is the dominant Islamic Palestinian organization in the area with tens of thousands of supporters. It came to power during the late 1980s, during the first Palestinian uprising against Israel.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for many of the terror attacks against Israelis since 1993 including four of the five recent suicide bombings. Its goal: the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel.
ABDEL AZIZ RANTISH, HAMAS LEADER: We are defending our people and ourselves and our issue and we will continue resistance until they leave and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will prevail.
WALLACE: Hamas is also an immense social force in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, pouring millions of dollars annually into schools, clinics and community organization throughout the region.
Black is for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Unlike Hamas, it does not have a social component. It focuses entirely on what it calls "the armed struggle against Israel." The group was founded in 1979 by Palestinian students in Egypt influenced by the Islamic revolution in Iran.
Like Hamas, it has carried out many terror bombings against Israelis, including claiming partial responsibility for the most recent suicide attack outside a shopping mall in northern Israel.
And like Hamas, its mission is also the creation of a greater Islamic state.
"First, we don't recognize the existence of Israel this," Islamic Jihad leader told us. "This is Palestinian land and it belongs to the Palestinian people." Yellow is for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the newest of the groups, an armed offshoot of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. The group emerged after the start of the latest Palestinian uprising against Israel in September of 2000, carrying out attacks at first against Israeli soldiers and settlers, but more recently, against civilians inside Israel.
Its stated mission is more moderate than that of Hamas and Islamic Jihad -- not the elimination of Israel, but bringing it an end to Israel's presence in the Palestinian territories and creating a Palestinian state.
"The resistance will continue until we win the occupation," a leader of the group said.
And now the new Palestinian prime minister is trying to convince all these groups to stop their attacks against Israel. Based on what many of these groups say are fighting for, it will be a monumental challenge.
Kelly Wallace, CNN, Jerusalem.
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