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Background: Major Palestinian Groups

A look at the three Palestinian groups responsible for the vast majority of more than 800 Israeli deaths during some 33 months of violence:

— HAMAS (search): Founded in 1987, the largest militant Islamic group. Responsible for most of the nearly 100 suicide bombings against Israelis. Rejects a Jewish state in the Middle East. Cemented support in impoverished Gaza Strip by running network of social and charitable services. United States has declared Hamas a terror group and moved to cut off its funding.

— ISLAMIC JIHAD (search): Founded in 1979, a breakaway from the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, guided by fundamentalist Islamic ideology and backed by Iran. Leadership is mostly in Syria. It has attacked dozens of Israeli targets, mostly through bombings and suicide bombings.

— FATAH (search): Founded in 1965, the mainstream secular Palestinian movement and dominant faction of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. Responsible for hundreds of attacks before the PLO signed interim peace accords with Israel in 1993. Since outbreak of current hostilities in September 2000, violent offshoots — especially Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades — are operating with some independence from Fatah leadership. United States and Israel charge Arafat is implicated in Fatah attacks.