Al-Jihad (also known as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jihad Group, and Islamic Jihad) is an Egyptian Islamic extremist group active since the late 1970s. Al-Jihad merged with Osama Bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization in June, 2001, but may retain some capability to conduct independent operations. Al-Jihad continues to suffer setbacks worldwide, especially after tightened Egyptian security in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. Al-Jihad's primary goals are to overthrow the Egyptian government and replace it with an Islamic state, and to attack U.S. and Israeli interests in Egypt and abroad.
Organization activities. Al-Jihad specializes in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian government personnel, including cabinet ministers, and car-bombings against official U.S. and Egyptian facilities. The original Jihad was responsible for the assassination in 1981 of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The organization claimed responsibility for the attempted assassinations of Interior Minister Hassan al-Alfi in August 1993 and Prime Minister Atef Sedky in November 1993. As of May, 2002, Al-Jihad has not conducted an attack inside Egypt since 1993 and has never targeted foreign tourists there. Al-Jihad is responsible for the Egyptian embassy bombing in Islamabad in 1995; in 1998 an Al-Jihad attack against U.S. Embassy in Albania was thwarted.
The actual size of Al-Jihad is unknown, but the organization has at least several hundred hardcore members. Al-Jihad operates in the Cairo area, but most of its network is outside Egypt, including Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom, and its activities have been centered outside Egypt for several years.
The Egyptian government claims that Iran supports Al-Jihad. Its merger with al-Qaeda also boosts Osama Bin Ladin's support for the group. Al-Jihad also may obtain some funding through various Islamic non-governmental organizations, cover businesses, and criminal acts.
█ FURTHER READING:
Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook, 2002. < http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ > (April 16, 2003).
Taylor, Francis X. U.S. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, Annual Report: On the record briefing. May 21, 2002 < http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/10367.htm > (April 17,2003).
U.S. Department of State. Annual reports. < http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/annual_reports.html > (April 16, 2003).