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A Brief History of Hamas

A brief history of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that is in the incoming majority of the PA

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— 1970s-1980s: Begins as offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Israel supported early growth as a counterbalance to Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. Early activity concentrated on social and community issues.
— December 1987: Hamas officially forms as group days after outbreak of first Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. Group targets Israeli soldiers and civilians in war to establish Islamic theocracy in Israel, West Bank and Gaza.
— 1993-1994: Hamas rejects interim peace accords between Israel and Palestinians.
— 1994: Hamas begins campaign of suicide bombings in Israel, aimed at derailing peace plan.
— 1996: Hamas intensifies bombings in response to killing of its chief bombmaker by Israel. Four bombings in the spring of 1996 kill at least 60 Israelis in eight days. Boycotts first Palestinian parliamentary election.
— 2000: Outbreak of second uprising in September ignites clashes that kill more than 3,500 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis over 4 1/2 years. Hamas suicide bombings account for large number of Israeli fatalities.
— 2004: Founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin assassinated in Israeli missile strike in late March. Successor Abdel Aziz Rantisi assassinated in another airstrike four weeks later.
— December 2004: Hamas enters political system through municipal races.
— February 2005: Proclaims cease-fire. Truce marred by rocket attacks ahead of Israel's summer withdrawal from Gaza, but no Hamas-sponsored suicide bombings since.
— March 2005: Hamas announces it will take part in Palestinian legislative elections. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refuses to disarm group before balloting, afraid to provoke civil war.
— September 2005: Israel ends 38-year occupation of Gaza. Hamas claims victory for its armed struggle and pledges to end Israeli occupation of West Bank.
— January 2006: Hamas defies polls, sweeps Palestinian parliamentary elections.