Hamas is a Palestinian group based in the Gaza Strip. It has a political wing and an armed wing. Both are actively struggling for Palestinian independence.
Founded in 1987, Hamas has been a counter group to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and has been internationally shunned as a terrorist organization because its military wing periodically attacks Israel and its citizens.
Leaders from two warring Palestinian factions have said they are ready to end a decade-long rift and hold the territories' first elections in 15 years. Fatah and Hamas say the vote will take place within six months.