Egyptian Islamic Jihad

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The Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Arabic: الجهاد الإسلامي المصري‎) (EIJ), formerly called simply Islamic Jihad (الجهاد الإسلامي and Liberation Army for Holy Sites[1]) originally referred to as "al-Jihad," and then "the Jihad Group", or "the Jihad Organization",[2] is an Egyptian Islamist group active since the late 1970s. It is under worldwide embargo by the United Nations as an affiliate of al-Qaeda.[3] It is also banned by several individual governments including that of the Russian Federation.[4] Since 1991 it has been led by Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The organization's original primary goal was to overthrow the Egyptian Government and replace it with an Islamic state. Later it broadened its aims to include attacking the United States and Israel interests in Egypt and abroad.

EIJ has suffered setbacks as a result of numerous arrests of operatives worldwide, most recently in Lebanon and Yemen.[citation needed] In June 2001, Al Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which had been associated with each other for many years, merged into "Qaeda al-Jihad."[5]

Contents

History

Al-Jihad or "Tanzim al-Jihad" was formed in 1980 from the merger of two clusters of Islamist groups: a Cairo branch, under Muhammad abd-al-Salam Faraj, and a Saidi (Upper Egypt) branch under Karam Zuhdi.[6] Faraj wrote the 1980 book al-Faridah al-Ghaiba (The Neglected Obligation), setting forth the standards for EIJ, of which 500 copies were printed.[7]

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