Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2023, 15:20 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Army of Islam

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 September 2018
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Army of Islam, 19 September 2018, available at: [accessed 17 May 2023]
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 responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the Israeli and Egyptian governments and British, New Zealand, and U.S. citizens. The group, led by Mumtaz Dughmush, subscribes to an extremist Salafist ideology.

Note: Army of Islam is a separate and distinct group from the Syria-based Jaysh al-Islam, which is not a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Activities: AOI is responsible for a number of rocket attacks on Israel, and the 2006 and 2007 kidnappings of civilians, including a U.S. journalist. AOI also carried out the early 2009 attacks on Egyptian civilians in Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt, and planned the January 1, 2011, attack on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria that killed 25 and wounded 100. In November 2012, AOI announced that it had launched rocket attacks on Israel in a joint operation with the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem. In August 2013, an Israeli official reported that AOI leader Dughmush was running training camps in Gaza.

In September 2015, AOI reportedly released a statement pledging allegiance to ISIS. In the short post attributed to the group, AOI declared itself an inseparable part of ISIS-Sinai Province. In 2016 and 2017, AOI continued to express support for ISIS. The group released a video in October 2017 in an effort to encourage ISIS fighters defending Mosul. There were no attacks claimed by AOI in 2017.

Strength: Membership is estimated in the low hundreds.

Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in Egypt, Gaza, and Israel.

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

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