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Hamas uses both political activities and violence in pursuit of its goals. For example, while politically engaged in the 2006 Palestinian Territories parliamentary election campaign, Hamas stated in its election manifesto that it was prepared to use "armed resistance to end the occupation".[270]

From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001 through May 2008, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks into Israel.[12]

Attacks on civilians

In the first years of the First Intifada (1987–1993), Hamas violence was directed first at collaborators and individuals it considered moral deviants, and then later at the Israeli military.[271] A new direction began with the formation of the al-Qassam Brigades militia in 1992, and in 1993 suicide attacks began against Israeli targets on the West Bank.[272]

Numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Economist, erroneously reported that the first suicide bombing against Israelis took place in Afula on April 16, 1994, when a bomber driving an explosives-laden van detonated between two buses parked at a restaurant, killing nine (including the bomber) and wounding 50. In fact, the first suicide attack actually occurred on April 16, 1993, in which a Hamas operative Tamam Nabulsi drove a van into a parked bus and detonated it, killing a Palestinian and wounding 8 Israeli soldiers.[273] According to the Jerusalem Post, Hamas committed more than a "dozen" suicide bombing and attacks prior to the Cave of Patriachs massacre.[274] Some[who?] argue the Cave of Patriachs massacre in February 1994 led Hamas to expand use of the tactic.[275]

From that time until 2005, Hamas launched many suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, stating that the attacks were a legitimate aspect of its asymmetric warfare against Israel. Deliberate targeting of civilians is illegal according to international law.[276][277] Hamas ceased such attacks in 2005 and renounced them in April 2006.[278] Some believe Hamas was forced to end the suicide bombing campaign after Israel's construction of the West Bank Barrier. Several Hamas leaders have confessed the barrier has made suicide attacks very difficult. In 2010, Hamas promised "more effective attacks against Israel." When asked if these attacks include suicide bombing, Hams leaders said "all options are open." [279]

Prior to 2005 there were several large-scale suicide bombings against Israeli civilian targets, the most deadly of which was the bombing of a Netanya hotel on March 27, 2002, in which 30 people were killed and 140 were wounded. This attack has also been referred to as the Passover massacre since it took place on the first night of the Jewish festival of Passover.

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