Country Report on Terrorism 2020 - Chapter 5 - al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB)

al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

Aka al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion

Description:  Designated as an FTO on March 27, 2002, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB) is composed of small cells of Fatah-affiliated activists that emerged at the outset of the al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000.  AAMB strives to expel the Israeli military and settlers from the West Bank and establish a Palestinian state loyal to Fatah.

Activities:  During the 2000 Intifada, AAMB primarily carried out small-arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers.  By 2002 the group was striking at Israeli civilians inside Israel and claimed responsibility for the first female suicide bombing in the country.  In 2010 and 2011, the group launched numerous rocket attacks on Israeli communities.  In 2012, AAMB claimed that it had fired more than 500 rockets and missiles into Israel during an Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza.

In 2015, AAMB declared open war against Israel and asked Iran to help fund its efforts in a televised broadcast.  Throughout 2015, AAMB continued attacking Israeli soldiers and civilians.

In 2016, armed confrontation broke out in Nablus between Palestinian youths and Palestinian security officials following the arrest of an AAMB associate on murder charges; seven youths and six Palestinian security officials were injured in the unrest.  AAMB claimed responsibility for two rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in 2017 and six rockets in 2018, although these did not cause any casualties.  AAMB did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2020.

Strength:  AAMB is estimated to have a few hundred members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank

Funding and External Aid:  Iran has provided AAMB with funds and guidance, primarily through Hizballah facilitators.