Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade
|Abdullah Azzam Brigades
كتائب عبد الله عزام
|Major actions||2009 – Present|
|Leader(s)||Majid bin Muhammad al Majid |
|Active region(s)||Middle East|
|Status||Designated as Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department|
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades (Arabic: كتائب عبد الله عزام) is a Sunni Islamist militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad movement. The group, which began operating in 2009, has local networks in various countries. It is named after the late Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian from Jordan who was among the first Arabs to volunteer to join the Afghan Jihad against the forces of the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The Abdallah Azzam Brigades was formed by Saleh Al-Qaraawi in 2009 as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and was tasked with hitting targets in the Levant and throughout the Middle East. Qarawi is a Saudi citizen and is on the list of 85 most-wanted terrorists that was issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry in 2009. "[The Abdullah Azzam Brigades] are not confined to Lebanon but there are targets that our fires will reach Allah‐willing in the near future...the Brigades are formed of a number of groups that are spread in numerous places...and the groups of 'Ziad al‐Jarrah' in Lebanon are only some of our groups, and we rushed to create these groups and announced them because of the urgency of the battle with the Jews and the priority of the initiative at the time and the place, but the rest of the groups are outside Lebanon."
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades has branches active in multiple countries. The Lebanese branch is called the Ziad al Jarrah Battalion, and is named after Lebanese 9/11 hijacker Ziad al Jarrah who participated in the hijacking and crash of United Flight 93. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades branch in the Arabian Peninsula calls itself the Yusuf al-’Uyayri Battalions, named after Yusef al-Ayeri, the slain founder of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.
In an interview to Al-Jazeera in August 2010, a Yemeni expert on Islamic movements asserted that although violent acts had been claimed by groups using Abdullah Azzam in their name, it was only in 2009 after the Gaza War that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades organization was established.
A Pakistani network of the group, affiliated with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the Pearl Continental hotel bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan. A spokesman for the group, Amir Muawiya, phoned media organizations claiming responsibility for the attack and promised more attacks were on the way, notably at the BBC offices in Islamabad. He further stated that the bombing was in retaliation for Pakistan army operations in Swat and Malakand division of the North West Frontier Province and the tribal areas of Darra Adam Khel and Orakzai Agency at the "behest of United States."
On 24 February 2012, this alleged group equipped with suicide bombers blew themselves up in an attack on a police station "C Division" in the heart of Peshawar. According to witnesses, total attackers were more than 10, armed with hand grenades and automatic weaponry with latest technology that was never been used before. CCP Peshawar Imtiaz Altaf told that two policemen were killed and six others were injured out of which two were in serious condition in Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar.
On 3 August 2010, a man who claims to be a spokesman of the brigade made a video statement that the brigade was involved in the attack on the Japanese oil tanker M. Star in the Strait of Hormuz in July 2010, although some analysts are skeptical about the claim. A BBC correspondent asserted that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades is a "name of convenience rather than an actual organisation."
|Palestinian rocket attacks
|Regional Council areas hit|
|Settlements hit (evacuated)|
|Defense and response|
On 10 April 2011, according to Ma'an News Agency, a Gazan group calling itself "Marwan Haddad division of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in the Levant" claimed responsibility for firing a Grad missile at the Israeli city of Ashkelon and two other projectiles at the Zikim military base. The group said in a statement: "The shelling is part of ongoing retaliation to the crimes committed by the Zionists who were known for killing prophets. This will continue until the Palestinian land is liberated and Tawhid flag is raised."
The group denied all involvement in the 23 December 2011 suicide attack in the Syrian capital that killed 40 people. The terror group accused the Syrian government of attempting to deflect attention from its brutal crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 5,000 people. In a statement released on jihadist websites on 27 December 2011, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades denied responsibility for the suicide attacks. The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In a statement issued by the group's emir, Majid bin Muhammad al Majid, in June 2012, the group acknowledged it's fight against the forces of President Bashar al Assad in the Syrian Civil War. Majid recommended that the rebels avoid use of car bombs and bomb belts inside cities for fear of harming and alienating Syrian civilians. This advice is in contrast to the actions of another Salafist Jihadist group active in the Syrian Civil War, the Al-Nusra Front.
On 19 November 2013, the Brigade claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut, which killed at least 22 people and wounded over 140. The group said the bombing was retaliation for Iranian support of Hezbollah, which fights on the Syrian government's side in the current Syrian civil war, and warned of further attacks should Iran's government not acquiesce.
- "Terrorist Designations of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades". United States Department of State. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Bill Roggio (27 June 2012). Abdullah Azzam Brigades names leader, advises against attacks in Syria's cities. The Long War Journal. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center 1 September 2010
- Unknown group claims Peshawar hotel bombing, The News International, 11 June 2009
- Al Qaeda attack on a Japanese oil tanker. Al-Jazeera. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- New groups takes credit for Pakistan blast, United Press International, 11 June 2009
- AA Shaheed Brigade claims responsibility for Peshawar attack, Press Trust of India, 11 June 2009
- Three including SHO killed in Peshawar police station attack,[Geo TV News], 24 February 2012
- "U.S. warns on travel to Jordan port city," Suleiman al-Khalidi, 15 September 2010, Reuters, MSNBC.
- "Japan tanker was damaged in a terror attack, UAE says". BBC News. 6 August 2010.
- New Palestinian military groups surface in Gaza, Ma'an News Agency 10 April 2011
- New splinter terror groups surface in Gaza Strip, Jerusalem Post 10 April 2011
- Bill Roggio (28 December 2011). Adbullah Azzam Brigades denies responsibility for Damascus suicide attacks. The Long War Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Lebanon blasts hit Iran's embassy in Beirut", BBC News
- "Beirut bombs kill 23; blasts linked to Syrian civil war", CNN