When the current violent confrontation broke out (September 2000), Fatah operatives in the PA-administered territories who supported the PA, and most of whom worked for the Palestinian Security Services, began taking an active part in terrorist activities against Israel. Initially they confined themselves to shooting attacks and planting side charges to blow up soldiers and Israeli civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They claimed responsibility for the attacks using the name Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which has become the became the generic name for all Fatah field operatives
Today, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades consists of an unknown number of small cells of Fatah-affiliated terrorists that aims to drive the Israeli military and settlers from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem and to establish a Palestinian state.
Al-Aqsa has carried out shootings and suicide operations against Israeli civilians and military personnel and has killed Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. At least five U.S. citizens — four of them dual U.S.-Israeli citizens — were killed in al-Aqsa’s attacks. In January 2002, al-Aqsa claimed responsibility for the first suicide bombing carried out by a female.