- Member of the Muslim Brotherhood
- Founder of Palestinian Islamic Jihad
- Rejected the Oslo peace accord
- Was assassinated in 1995
Fathi Shiqaqi was born in Gaza in 1951 to a refugee family from Jaffa. He graduated from an Egyptian medical school in 1981. During his time in Egypt, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood but eventually became disillusioned with that group’s contention that the destruction of Israel would have to wait until after an “internal jihad” had reformed and united the Muslim world. Shiqaqi favored immediate terrorist war on Israel instead. He believed that by launching a campaign of spectacular terrorist attacks against Israel in the name of revolutionary Islam, he could inspire a popular revolt.
After the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Shiqaqi was expelled from Egypt and returned to Gaza, where he founded Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist group committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through holy war. Based in Damascus and opposed to pro-Western Arab governments , PIJ is believed to be financed principally by Syria and Iran. It has also received funds through operatives in the United States, the most notorious being Sami Al-Arian, the former South Florida University professor who is currently in federal lockup awaiting trial for terrorist funding. Shiqaqi’s brother was a board member of al-Arian’s university “think tank.”
During the mid-1980s, Shiqaqi spent two stints in prison for his political activities, and was eventually deported by Israel to south Lebanon in 1988. He was a central organizer of the January 1994 National Alliance, a coalition of eight PLO groups that joined Islamic Jihad and Hamas in rejecting the Oslo peace accord that had been struck with Israel. Shiqaqi was assassinated in Malta in 1995. His replacement was Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, a board member of al-Arian’s University of South Florida think tank. Before his assassination, Shiqaqi was believed to have been the mastermind of a string of suicide bombings in Israel that same year.
Shiqaqi’s November 1, 1995 funeral in Damascus was attended by 40,000 mourners.