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ARMY OF ISLAM
aka Jaysh al-Islam; Jaish al-Islam
Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 19, 2011, the Army of Islam (AOI) is a Gaza-based terrorist organization founded in late 2005 responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the Governments of Israel and Egypt, as well as American, British, and New Zealander citizens. Led by Mumtaz Dughmush, AOI primarily operates in Gaza. It subscribes to an extremist Salafist ideology together with the traditional model of armed Palestinian resistance. AOI has previously worked with Hamas and is attempting to develop closer al-Qa’ida contacts.
Activities: AOI’s terrorist acts include a number of rocket attacks on Israel, the 2006 kidnapping of two journalists in Gaza (an American and a New Zealander), and the 2007 kidnapping of a British citizen, journalist Alan Johnston, in Gaza. AOI is also responsible for early 2009 attacks on Egyptian civilians in Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt. In 2011, AOI was alleged to have planned the January 1 Alexandria attack on a Coptic Christian church that killed 25 and wounded 100. On May 7, 2011, the group released a eulogy for Usama bin Laden via its al-Nur Media Foundation. On July 28, 2012, AOI released a statement that one of its members, Nidal al ‘Ashi, was killed fighting in Syria.
Strength: Membership is estimated in the low hundreds.
Location/Area of Operation: Gaza, with attacks in Egypt and Israel.
Funding and External Aid: AOI receives the bulk of its funding from a variety of criminal activities in Gaza.