Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran’s preferred proxy, and the second biggest terrorist army in Gaza

In Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a quarter of the size of Hamas, but that has not stopped it from running its own rocket production centers, digging tunnels, training and arming its operatives.

Iranian assistance enables PIJ to be Gaza’s second biggest terrorist army. Ideologically, it is significantly closer to Tehran than Hamas. And unlike Hamas, PIJ faces none of the dilemas of sovereignty and governance over Gaza’s two million people.

A few facts about PIJ:

  • Size: 5,000 armed operatives in PIJ’s Quds Brigades
  • Leader: Ramadan Shallah
  • Relations with Iran: Receives military, financial assistance.
  • Ideology: Jihadist, with a religious affiliation to the Iranian Khomenist revolution

Here is a fuller look at PIJ, with insights by Ely Karmon, senior researcher at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, and Col. (ret.) Reuven Erlich, director of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.