The radical Salafist jihadi group the Mujahideen Shura Council of Jerusalem
(MSC), a relatively new consolidation of extremist Sunni Islamists operating in
the Gaza Strip and in Sinai, claimed responsibility on Sunday for many of the
rockets fired from Gaza in the recent round of violence.
The group, which
shares an ideology with al-Qaida, has issued several statements calling for
jihad against Israel and has previously claimed responsibility for several
rocket attacks, including the June 18 attack that killed an Israeli
Late on Sunday, the MSC published several statements on
jihadist forums claiming responsibility for rocket fire on a number of towns,
including Netivot and Sderot.
The MSC also published a short, apparently
professionally made video that purports to document the launch of the rocket
that struck a house in Netivot.
Another of the MSC’s Sunday statements is
entitled “Bombing Jewish settlements with nine rockets” and lists details of
missiles the group says it fired at Israel: five rockets fired at Kissufim near
Gaza, three at 5 p.m. and another two at 9 and 10 p.m. Sunday; two rockets fired
at Ashkelon at 10 a.m.; and two missiles fired at Sderot at 5 p.m.
Jewish usurpers should know that no one can provide them a tranquil life in our
country,” the statement reads, adding that Muslims must remove Jews from their
homes so that Palestinians can return.
Calling on Muslims to wage jihad
against the Jews, the statement cites a passage from verse 191 of the Koran’s
Surat al-Baqarah, which refers to Muslims fighting against non-Muslims if their
lands are attacked: “And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them
from wherever they expelled you.”
“The continued desecration of the Aksa
Mosque, the demolition of villages in the Negev and of houses in Jerusalem, the
killing of children in Khan Yunis and Shijaia [in Gaza] and Ramallah... the list
of crimes of the Jewish occupation is long, they must pay an equivalent heavy
price,” the statement says.
According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and
Terrorism Information Center, the MSC includes two other al- Qaida-linked
groups, the Sunni jihadist Palestinian al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and Ansar al-Sunnah.
The MSC appears wellorganized and funded, judging from its wide presence on
Internet forums and its professionally made videos.
In recent weeks,
Israel has stepped up its counterterrorism activities against the MSC.
October 13, the IAF successfully conducted the targeted killing of two senior
operatives, Hisham Ali Abd al- Karim Saidani, codenamed Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi;
and Ashraf Salah, the former emir of Ansar al-Sunnah.
In response, the
MSC urged Muslims to confront “the hateful Jews,” saying that the “treacherous
assassination by criminal Jewish warplanes” of Saidani and Salah should motivate
Muslims to wage jihad.