Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

The militant wing of Fatah that began in Balata refugee camp near Nablus in the northern West Bank shortly after the start of the Second Intifada. Though the group was not openly associated with Fatah early in its existence, in 2004 Fatah acknowledged them as its armed wing. The Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade has been responsible for multiple attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli soldiers, settlers and civilians, most of them taking place between 2001-2005. The United States, the European Union and several other governments consider the group a terrorist organization. In July 2007, the Israeli government made a deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA), under which 178 members of the Al-Aqsa Brigade were granted amnesty on condition they surrendered their arms to the PA, renounced future attacks against Israel, and were absorbed into the Palestinian security services. The number of gunmen granted amnesty increased later in 2007 and in 2008 pursuant to further agreements. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade had been relatively quiet for a number of years until it claimed responsibility in July 2014 for opening fire on Israeli soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint, separating Ramallah from Jerusalem. See " Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade," Holly Fletcher, Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, April 2, 2008; see also "Al-Aqsa Brigades opens fire on Qalandia, injuring Israeli soldiers," Ma’an News Agency, July 26, 2014.

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