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Database: Identifiers of Designated Islamic Terrorist Organizations
Designated terrorist by: United States
Base of operations: Lebanon
Background: Mapping Militant Organizations (Stanford)
Fatah al-Islam first arose in 2006 from Fatah al-Intifada, a Palestinian group in Lebanon supported by the Assad regime. The group was founded by one Shaker al-Abssi, who split from Fatah al-Intifada after the group's leadership handed over two associates to Lebanese intelligence. Fatah al-Islam started out as projecting a nationalist image but quickly assumed the mantra of global jihad, as the group's symbolism illustrates. Fatah al-Islam allegedly became a magnet for foreign jihadists who had initially entered into Iraq from Syria but then headed back into Syria, besides attracting local Palestinians in Lebanon of jihadist inclinations. Consequently the group came to be seen as a virtual intelligence asset for the Assad regime, creating instability in Lebanon in light of Syria's withdrawal of troops from Lebanon in 2005. In 2007, the group clashed with the Lebanese army and the group's organization was subsequently broken over the period 2007-8, with ex-members either integrating themselves among Salafis in Lebanon or joining the minor jihadist insurgency against the Assad regime in Syria.
However, a December 2014 report in Lebanon's The Daily Star shows that the group's legacy continues to have an impact particularly in relation to jihadism in neighbouring Syria.
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