An explosion tore through a Gaza hospital late Tuesday, claiming the lives of at least 500 people. The incident triggered worldwide condemnation and led to violent protests in multiple Muslim nations. The blame for the tragedy was exchanged between Israel and Palestinians. US President Joe Biden, en route to the Middle East, expressed his profound sorrow and outrage over the incident. Biden has also cancelled his trip to Jordan.
Hamas authorities in Gaza said that the explosion at the Ahli Arab Hospital was the result of the latest Israeli airstrikes. However, the Israeli Defense Forces pointed fingers at Palestinian militants, contending that an outgoing Islamic Jihad rocket had misfired.
Here is all you need to know about Islamic Jihad:
Islamic Jihad is a Palestinian Islamist militant group that was formed in 1981 as a splinter of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is one of the factions that opposes the peace process with Israel and seeks to establish an Islamic state in Palestine. It is also allied with Hamas, the dominant force in Gaza, and receives support from Iran and Syria. Here is a brief overview of the group and its role in the conflict:
History and ideology
Islamic Jihad was founded by Fathi Shaqaqi, a Palestinian doctor who was inspired by the Iranian revolution and the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian Islamist thinker. Shaqaqi believed that armed struggle was the only way to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to create an Islamic society based on Sharia law. He also rejected any political compromise or negotiation with Israel, considering it a usurper of Muslim lands. Shaqaqi was assassinated by Israeli agents in Malta in 1995, and was succeeded by Ramadan Shalah, who led the group until 2018, when he was replaced by Ziyad al-Nakhalah. Islamic Jihad is considered more radical and less pragmatic than Hamas, and has often clashed with the Palestinian Authority over its security cooperation with Israel.

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Activities and tactics
Islamic Jihad is mainly active in the Gaza Strip, where it has a strong presence in refugee camps and poor neighborhoods. It also operates in the West Bank, but to a lesser extent. The group’s armed wing is called Al-Quds Brigades, which means Jerusalem Brigades. It is responsible for carrying out attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets, such as suicide bombings, rocket fire, shootings, and stabbings. Islamic Jihad has also been involved in several wars with Israel, such as the 2008-2009 Gaza War, the 2012 Gaza War, and the 2014 Gaza War. In these conflicts, Islamic Jihad has coordinated with Hamas and other factions to launch rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and cities, as well as to infiltrate Israeli territory through tunnels and ambushes. Islamic Jihad claims that its attacks are a response to Israeli aggression and oppression, and that it is defending the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.
Relations with other actors
Islamic Jihad is part of the Alliance of Palestinian Forces, a coalition of factions that reject the Oslo Accords and advocate for armed resistance against Israel. It is also a member of the Axis of Resistance, a regional alliance that includes Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Islamic Jihad has received financial, military, and political support from Iran, which considers it a proxy force against Israel. Iran has also mediated between Islamic Jihad and Hamas when tensions have arisen between them over issues such as strategy, governance, and resources. Islamic Jihad has maintained close ties with Syria, which hosts its political headquarters in Damascus. Islamic Jihad has also expressed solidarity with other Islamist groups in the region, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, al-Qaeda in Yemen, and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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