Members of Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, hold guns during a press conference, Gaza City, October 6, 2010. Izz Eddin al-Qassam Brigades (aka al-Qassam Brigades) is the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist fundamentalist socio-political organisation Hamas. Created in 1992, under Yahya Ayyash's direction, group's primary objective was to build a coherent military organization to support goals of Hamas, which was concerned back then with blocking Oslo Accords negotiations. From 1994 to 2000, al-Qassam Brigade carried out a number of attacks against both Israeli soldiers and civilians. By Second Intifada, al-Qassam Brigades became a central target of Israel. The group's strength and ability to carry out complex and lethal attacks surprised many observers. Al-Qassam Brigades operated several cells in West Bank, but most were destroyed by 2004, following numerous Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operations. In contrast, Hamas retained a forceful presence in Gaza Strip, generally considered group's stronghold.
Izz Eddin al-Qassam Brigades is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. Demotix / Mohamed Othman.