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|Prime Minister||Ismail Haniyah|
|Foreign Minister||Mahmoud Zahar|
|Headquarters||Gaza, Palestinian territories|
Hamas (Arabic: حماس, acronym of Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, Arabic: حركة المقاومة الاسلامية, literally "Islamic Resistance Movement") is a Palestinian Islamist Sunni organisation. It was started in 1987 during the First Intifada by Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi as the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood organziation in Egypt. In the 2006 Palestinian election, Hamas got 74 of 132 seats in parliament and controls the Gaza Strip. The group wants to build a Palestinian state based on Islamic ideas in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. Hamas does not recognize the State of Israel.
Hamas is known for its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which plans and carries out attacks on Israel. Because of numerous suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israel, the United States, European Union and other countries call it a terrorist organisation. The country of Jordan has made the group illegal. However, a lot of the international press, including the Israeli English-language daily newspaper, Haaretz, call Hamas members by the more neutral term "militants."
In early 2006, Hamas won a clear victory in the vote for the Palestinian parliament. Voters saw Hamas as an alternative to exchange the long-ruling Fatah party, the main part of the PLO. Fatah had not improved the Palestinian people's conditions and reached statehood, and was thought to be corrupt.
Hamas has shown its organizational ability by building health, education, and social services to help the population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where there is much poverty. Such efforts have increased its support. In the first half of 2007, Hamas gained political control of the Gaza Strip, while Fatah keeps its headquarters in the West Bank.
Hamas is also associated in some way with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine headed by Ahmed Jibril.
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