|Photo by: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters|
Salafists take responsibility for Gaza rockets
By JOANNA PARASZCZUK
Gaza groups opposed to Hamas admit firing rockets at Israel, while Salafists from Sinai are aiding Hamas's military wing.
Gaza-based Salafist-Jihadists with ties to al-Qaida have claimed responsibility
for perpetrating several of the recent rocket attacks against Israel, according
to statements published by several jihadist groups in the past days.
Gaza-based jihadi group Jaish al-Ummah published two statements on jihadist
forums on Monday claiming responsibility for a series of attacks against
In its statement Jaish al- Ummah, whose name means “Army of the
Nation,” says Muslims are called to jihad to confront the infidels America and
Israel and those who follow them.
Jaish al-Ummah said it was “responding
to the aggression suffered by the forbearing people of Gaza after the firing of
many missiles on several fronts,” and listed a series of attacks it claims to
The group said it fired three rockets on Saturday: a
“Qa’qaa” missile at Ashkelon at 3.30 p.m.; two “107” rockets at Sderot at 6 p.m;
and six rockets on Sunday: a “Qa’qaa” missile at Ashkelon at 9 a.m.; two
“Qa’qaa” missiles at the western Negev at 12.30 p.m.; two “Qa’qaa” rockets at
Eshkol at 2 p.m.; and a “107” rocket at Sderot at 4 p.m.
In a second
statement the group claimed responsibility for firing nine 107 rockets at
Sderot, Eshkol and Ashkelon on Thursday and Friday, and a Grad rocket at
It is probable that Jaish al- Ummah waited until Monday before
making its statement in order to ascertain from Israeli media reports where the
rockets it fired hit.
The group concluded by vowing to “continue our
jihad against the infidels and taghut [tyrants, opposers of the prophet
Muhammad] of the earth until the law of Allah is established.”
to Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism, Jaish al-Ummah is a little-known
group, which according to its leader, Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi is comprised of
Salafist members of other terror groups in Gaza.
JaU’s primary stated
objective is the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of an
Islamic emirate in Palestine governed under the Salafist interpretation of
A second Salafist group, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the
Environs of Jerusalem, published a short video statement to jihadist forums on
Monday, also claiming responsibility for firing eight rockets at Sderot and
The video, titled “Bombing the usurped Sderot and city of
Ashkelon with eight rockets,” opens with the verse from the Koran used by
Mujahideen Shura Council as the name of its “rocket campaign:” “Expel them from
wherever they have expelled you.”
Both Jaish al-Ummah and the Mujahideen
Shura Council have previously expressed their opposition to Hamas, which in turn
has found itself in conflict with the Salafist Jihadists groups.
Salafist groups disagree with Hamas on key issues including confrontations with
Israel and how Islamic rule and Shari’a law should be practiced in
In October, Jaish al-Ummah accused Hamas of arresting and torturing
six of its members including its leader, Hafs al- Maqdisi.
Shura Council also opposes Hamas, which it has accused of collaborating with
Egyptian and Iranian intelligence. Earlier this month, before the rocket attacks
that led to Operation Pillar of Defense began, a leader of the group said there
was “no relationship between the Salafist Jihadists and Hamas except through
security prosecutions and in prisons.”
While Gaza’s Salafist Jihadists
have taken advantage of the conflict with Israel to conduct separate attacks
against the Jewish state, according to reports in Egyptian media Salafist
Jihadists from Sinai are assisting Hamas in its fight against Israel.
Monday, Egyptian daily Al-Masry al-Youm cited Salafist leader Sheikh Muhammad
Muftah as saying that the majority of Sinai’s Salafists had traveled to Gaza,
and that Islamists from the rest of Egypt would also join them in the upcoming
Salafi Jihadists held an emergency meeting over the past days to
discuss ways they can support Gaza, including by preparing more people to travel
to the Strip, Al-Masry al-Youm said.
The Egyptian daily quoted Murgan
Salem, a leading Salafist Jihadist, as saying that support for the people of
Gaza was ongoing, and included financial support as well as by sending jihadists
to the strip.
The report also cited wellinformed sources in the Muslim
Brotherhood, from which Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi hails, as confirming
that a group of ten Brotherhood youths have also traveled to Gaza to join the
Izzadin Kassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing.
However, a member of the
Muslim Brotherhood’s Consultative Council told Al-Masry al- Youm that the
youths’ decision to travel to Gaza “did not represent the
Muhammad Zakaria Sha’aban said that those taking the
personal decision to travel to Gaza would be held accountable.
said that the group did not intend to permit its members to travel to Gaza for
jihad, that there was no need for young people to leave Egypt for jihad at the
moment, and that the Brotherhood’s youth members had a binding obligation to
their leaders,Al-Masry al-Youm reported.