Though it is also involved in social and welfare programs, the organization is devoted chiefly to the obliteration of Israel. Its charter states, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."
The charter further states, "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.
Hamas is responsible for 24 murders before the Oslo Accords, 156 more before the Oslo War began in September 2000, and at least another 377 since then - a total of at least 557.
The organization's first mass attack was a car bomb that blew up at a bus stop in Afula in April 1994, murdering 8 and wounding 51. Among the most horrific Hamas attacks were the following:
* 22 people killed and 56 wounded in a suicide bombing attack on the No. 5 bus on
Dizengoff St. in Tel Aviv, Oct. 1994
* 26 killed by suicide bomber on a #18 bus near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, Feb. 1996
* 16 killed in the Mahane Yehuda open market in Jerusalem in a double suicide attack, July 1997
* 23 dead and 115 wounded when a Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up on a No. 2 bus line coming from the Western Wall in Jerusalem, August 2003
* 45 murdered within the space of five days in March 2002: a suicide Hamas terrorist blew himself up in a Haifa restaurant, killing 15, and another one did the same in the Park Hotel in in Netanya during a Passover Seder, murdering some 30 and wounding 144.
The ten worst Oslo War Hamas attacks, in which a total of 186 were murdered, also included the following:
* June 1, 2001 - Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, 21 killed - mostly new-immigrant teenagers from the former Soviet Union
* Aug. 9, 2001 - Sbarro's Pizzeria in Jerusalem, 15 killed, including the parents and three children of the Schijveschuurder family
* Dec. 2, 2001 - Haifa bus, 15 killed
* May 7, 2002 - Rishon Letzion hall, 16 killed
* June 18, 2002 - #32 bus from Gilo, Jerusalem, 19 killed
* March 5, 2003 - #37 bus in Haifa, 15 dead
* June 11, 2003 - #14 bus, Jerusalem, 17 murdered
A full list of attacks since 2000 can be seen on the IMRA website.
Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed in an Israeli missile attack in March 2004, and less than a month later, the same fate befell his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi.