Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 12:58 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Army of Islam

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 2 June 2016
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Army of Islam, 2 June 2016, available at: [accessed 13 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

aka Jaysh al-Islam; Jaish al-Islam

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 19, 2011, the Army of Islam (AOI), founded in late 2015, is a Gaza-based terrorist organization that is responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the Governments of Israel and Egypt, as well as British, New Zealand, and U.S. citizens. Led by Mumtaz Dughmush, AOI primarily operates in Gaza. AOI subscribes to a violent extremist Salafist ideology.

Activities: AOI's terrorist activity includes a number of rocket attacks on Israel, the 2006 kidnapping of two journalists in Gaza (an American and a New Zealander), and the 2007 kidnapping of a British citizen in Gaza. AOI is also responsible for early 2009 attacks on Egyptian civilians in Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt, and for planning the January 1, 2011 attack on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria that killed 25 and wounded 100. On July 28, 2012, AOI released a statement that its member Nidal al 'Ashi was killed fighting in Syria and in November 2012 announced that it had carried out rocket attacks on Israel in a joint operation with the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC). In August 2013, an Israeli official reported that AOI leader Dughmush was running training camps in Gaza. In August 2014, Israeli forces reportedly intercepted and killed several AOI fighters allegedly planning to attack Israel. In September 2015, AOI reportedly released a statement pledging allegiance to ISIL. In the short post attributed to the group, AOI declared itself an inseparable part of the Sinai Province, the ISIL-branch in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Strength: Membership is estimated in the low hundreds.

Location/Area of Operation: Gaza, Egypt, and Israel.

Funding and External Aid: AOI receives much of its funding from a variety of criminal activities in Gaza.

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