Popular Resistance Committees



    PRC Flag.jpg 


    Status: Active
    AKA: PRC
    Formed: 2000
    Areas of Operation: Israel/Palestine
    Ideology: Political (Nationalist - Palestinian), Religious (Islamist)
    Group: 2,000
    Leader: Kamal an-Nayrab
    Group Affiliates: Abu Masoud Squads, Abu Rish Martyrs Brigades, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Fatah, Hamas - Izzadin al Qassam, Hezbollah Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PU)

    Organizational History

    The Popular Resistance Committees’ (PRC) prime objective lies in liberating the Palestinian land and attaining full sovereignty through the mobilization of Palestinians and similar, armed groups. The emblem of the Lebanese terrorist group, Hezbollah, inspired that of the Popular Resistance Committee’s, indicating the Islamist ideology of the group. [2]

    The PRC was founded by a former Fatah member from Rafah, Gaza Strip, named Jamal Abu Samhadana. The group’s origins lie in local militias that were set up in the early days of the second Palestinian intifada with the aim of defending Palestinian refugee camps during Israeli incursions. As PRC spokesperson Amir Karmout stated, “The start of the second intifada was an opportunity for Palestinians to revise our strategy of armed resistance…When the fighting started in 2000, many of us sought to create a new faction that could fight more effectively and thus expedite the realization of our goals.” [3] Samhadana was killed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in June 2006, and Kamal an-Nayrab took his place as the secretary general of the organization. In August 2007, the PRC announced plans to create a political party which would participate in Palestinian elections.


    The PRC is nominally paramilitary in structure with political and military wings; however a number of ad hoc cells are formed, often in conjunction with other groups, in order to carry out attacks. Also, the mixing of secular nationalist and Islamist ideology inside the PRC has caused certain parallel command structures to be formed, though it is not believed that the organization will split.


    Small arms, explosives (commercial and homemade), mines, hand grenades, homemade Nasser-3 rockets, and anti-tank rockets and mortars are among some of the weapons used by group members. Weapons are most commonly obtained by smuggling (usually through tunnels between Rafah and Egypt).


    It is stipulated that the group is poorly funded, which is the chief reason why PRC activities are not more common in the West Bank. What limited funding the group does receive may come from legitimate businesses or the smuggling of goods to and from Rafah, and Hezbollah, which is believed to have limited coordination and cooperation with the PRC. Iran and Hezbollah have intensified their efforts to operate in the territories and in Israel so as to undermine the renewal diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians. The two outside actors recently have focused on recruiting dozens of individuals from West Bank groups like Tanzim and Gaza Strip groups like the Popular Resistance Committees. [4]


    By presenting itself as a viable alternative to the traditional armed groups of the first intifada, the PRC was able to gain many recruits very early. Further, since most of the original members already had “terrorist credentials” it lent the new organization a valuable reputation that aided in a steadily growing number of recruits during the first couple of years. The PRC augmented its recruiting process by constructing training camps for the thousands of Palestinian youths wishing to fight Israel; dozens of martyrdom-seeking youths who have carried out military operations against Israeli forces have graduated from these camps.


    The PRC has relied almost exclusively on guerilla-style armed assaults, interspersed with the occasional planting of explosives. Interestingly, the group has shown great ingenuity in the development of more effective measures against Israeli military hardware. The group gained infamy after developing lethal explosive charges capable of destroying Merkava tanks, claiming to be the first in the Palestinian territories to do so.


    PRC Member with Rocket Launcher.jpg

    Militants from the Al Nasser Salah al Din Brigades, an armed wing of the PRC, have attacked Israel with al Nasser rockets. [5]


    Jamal Abu Samhadana, a former Fatah member, founded the PRC in 2000. [6]

    PRC Camp from Refugee Camps New.jpg

    The PRC originated in Gaza's refugee camps.[7]

    Moussa Arafat.jpg

    The PRC claimed responsibility for the assassination of the late Yasser Arafat's cousin, Moussa Arafat. [8]

    PRC Burning Flag.png

    The PRC has shown it's opposition to the United States by burning American flags during demonstrations. [9]

    PRC Members Watching Obama on TV.jpg

    On June 4, 2009 members of the PRC watched President Barack Obama's speech in Gaza City. [10]


    1. Popular Resistance Committees. Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved on August 3, 2011 from [1]
    2. Center for Special Studies (C.S.S), Israel. (2004, August). Analysis of a Popular Resistance Committee’s poster showing clear influence of Hezbollah, HAMAS and radical Islam in general. Special Information Bulletin. Retrieved October 2, 2004, from [2]
    3. Gaza: PRC Spokesman Views Organization’s Structure, Musa Arafat’s Assassination (2004, September 9).
    4. Schiff, Z. (2004, December 5). Israeli officials: Iran, Hezbollah drafting Palestinian ‘operatives’ to nix truce. Tel Aviv Ha’aretz. FBIS transcribe text, document ID: GMP20041205000095.
    5. Kershner, I. (2008, December 24). Gaza Rocket Fire Intensifies. The New York Times. Retrieved on August 3, 2011 from [3]
    6. Wanted Militant Dies in Gaza Raid. (2006, June 8). BBC News. Retrieved on August 3, 2011 from [4]
    7. Profile: Popular Resistance Committees. (2005, September 7). BBC News. Retrieved on August 3, 2011 from [5]
    8. Moussa Arafat Killed by Militants in Gaza. (2005, September 7). CBC News. Retrieved on August 3, 2011 from [6]
    9. Bush Iraqi Shoe Attack: Why Didn't the Secret Service Take a Loafer for the President? (2008, December 17). The Daily Mail. Retrieved on August 3, 2011 from [7]
    10. Gardner, D. (2009, June 5). America is Not - And Never Will Be - At War with Islam: Barack Hussein Obama Courts a Billion Muslims. The Daily Mail. Retrieved on August 3, 2011 from [8]