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Abd al-Aziz Awda: Wikis

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Abd Al Aziz Awda

Abd Al Aziz Awda, also known as Sheik Odeh (born December 20, 1950 in Jabaliyah, Gaza Strip) has Palestinian citizenship and is one of the founders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, deemed by the United States federal government to be a designated international terrorist organization.

Awda was listed as a "Specially Designated Terrorist" under United States law on January 23, 1995. A decade later, Awda was among the second and most recent group of indicted fugitives to be added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list on February 24, 2006, along with PIJ secretary-general Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah.[1]

Awda is the spiritual leader of the PIJ and is presently still involved in the organization, which has its headquarters located in Damascus, Syria, where he likely still resides, along with other leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, including Khaled Mashal.

His other aliases listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) include Abdel Aziz Odeh, Abd Al Aziz Odeh, Abed Al Aziz Odeh, Abu Ahmed, Sheik Awda, Fadl Abu Ahmed, Al Sheik, The Sheik, and Mawlana.

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Jabalia village and refugee camp birthplace

Awda was born in 1950 in Jabalia (Arabic: جباليا‎), a village just south of the village of Beit Lahia. Jabalia village is also next to a refugee camp of the same name, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in existence. They are located at the northern end of the Gaza Strip, close to the Israeli border.

The First Intifada in December 1987 began in Jabalia, which has been the scene of much violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years, and a major stronghold of Hamas.

On May 30, 2005, during the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which began in September 2000, Israel's Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fired two rockets into the Jabalia camp, targeting militants who were planning a Kassam rocket attack on Israel.[2]

The camp had a registered population of 103,646 inhabitants on June 30, as of 2002, in an area 1.4 km² making it one of the most densely populated places on earth. [3]

Gaza Strip history

Until the 2005 Israeli pullout, The Gaza Strip, a narrow area of land along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of Egypt, was commonly referred to by modern Arab Palestinians as part of the "Israeli-occupied territories." Israel argues that it is more accurate to refer to the territories as "disputed territories."

As a Gaza native, Abd Al Aziz Awda currently has Palestinian citizenship, in the Palestinian territories, under the Palestinian Authority. But his citizenship as a Palestinian is a modern designation after Israel's capture of the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Six-day War, when the term "Palestinian" first started to be used exclusively in respect to the Arab population of Palestine.

The Gaza Strip was historically part of the post-World War I British Mandate of Palestine. The 1947 UN Partition Plan in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 was to give the area of the Gaza Strip, demographically already 98% Arab population, to the resulting new Arab state. The failure of this plan led to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the Palestinian exodus of many of the Arab Palestinian people from modern Israel.

After the war, Egypt controlled this narrow strip of land north of its border, along the sea. That boundary was confirmed by the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and Egypt, and the narrow land then became known as the Gaza Strip.

From 1949 until 1967, the Gaza population was then living under the occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt. Awda was born early into that occupation, in 1950. Egypt, since 1949, had recognized an "All-Palestine Government." But in 1959, when Awda turned nine years old, the president of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser, annulled the All-Palestine government by decree.

In 1967, Awda turned seventeen years old, war broke out with Israel, and his homeland in the Gaza Strip changed hands, this time over to Israel, and a new era had begun. Soon thereafter, Awda left the Gaza Strip to study in Egypt.

University career

Awda was educated in Arab and Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.

He later worked as a lecturer at a university and as an Imam at a mosque, both of which were located in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad activity

Awda and Fathi Shaqaqi became the original founders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) when it was formed in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s as a branch of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Awda also became known as the group's spiritual leader.

Awda was listed as a "Specially Designated Terrorist" under United States law on January 23, 1995. Later that year, Shaqaqi was assassinated in Malta in 1995, and was replaced as secretary-general of PIJ by Ramadan Shallah, who then joined Awda on the U.S. "Specially Designated Terrorist" list on November 27, 1995.

Fellow PIJ members Awda and Shallah were both indicted in a 53 count indictment in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa, Florida, on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges of alleged involvement in racketeering activities for the designated international terrorist organization known as Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Awda is wanted for conspiracy to conduct the affairs of the PIJ through a pattern of racketeering activities such as bombings, murders, extortions, and money laundering.

For that indictment, Awda and Shallah then became two of six alleged and indicted terrorist fugitives among the second and most recent group of indicted fugitives to be added to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted Terrorists list on February 24, 2006.

The FBI states that Awda is presently still involved in PIJ, which has its headquarters located in Damascus, Syria, where Awda likely remains as well.

References

  1. ^ FBI Updates Most Wanted Terrorists and Seeking Information – War on Terrorism Lists, FBI national Press Release, February 24, 2006
  2. ^ (BBC)
  3. ^ UNRWA Jabalia

External links

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