Close to a month after two deadly Islamic State attacks in Israel that claimed six lives, the spokesperson of the Sunni terror group has called on supporters to carry out more attacks.
Giving an address for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Abu Omar al-Muhajjr called for a “global offensive” in revenge for the death of the group’s leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi last February during an operation by the Americans in Syria as well as the group’s former spokesperson al-Muhajir abu Hamza al-Qurashi.
“We announced, with the help of God, a blessed battle to avenge the two sheikhs, Sheikh abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi and Sheikh al-Muhajir abu Hamza al-Qurashi,” he said in the address released on Telegram.
In his address titled “Fight them, and God will chastise them at your hands,” Muhajjr called for more attacks to be carried out in Europe since “the opportunity is ripe for you” because it is “preoccupied” with the war in Ukraine.
Citing the March terror attacks in Israel claimed by the terror group, he called on supporters to “follow their path and arm themselves with weapons and carry out further attacks.”
“These acts caused pain to the Jews and showed the world that there is a difference between those who fight and die for God and those who fight for empty political slogans,” he said.
He praised the attackers, saying that “they fought and were killed for the sake of Allah” and said that Jerusalem could only be liberated with the return of the caliphate, not by the Palestinian leaders who he called “secular terrorists.”
“Modern Muslim politicians trying to liberate Jerusalem are nothing more than puppets in the hands of Israel and the West,” he said.
The attack in Hadera, which claimed the lives of the two young Border Police officers, Yezen Falah and Shirel Abukarat, was claimed by the Islamic State.
The attackers arrived at the scene with 1,100 bullets, at least three handguns and six knives. They were killed by security forces.
The attack in Hadera came days after Mohammed Abu al-Kiyan stabbed four Israelis to death in Beersheba. Though the group did not claim the attack outright, they praised it.
Kiyan was known to the police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). He had been arrested in 2016 and sentenced to four years in prison for forming a group that planned to travel to Syria and join ISIS. An elementary school teacher, Kiyan was also convicted of teaching children and members of the community during sermons content inspired by the jihadist group.
There have been Islamic State attacks in Israel in the past, but since the collapse of the group’s territorial caliphate in 2019, the group has struggled to attract support from those who could carry out attacks in their name.
Last week Israel Police announced that it had arrested a Palestinian man from Hebron on suspicion that he had killed three Israelis, including an elderly couple, in Jerusalem in recent years.
According to a report in Haaretz, defense officials believe that some 200 Israeli Arabs support the group, 20 of whom might carry out attacks in the group’s name.
During the height of the Islamic State’s power, close to 100 Israelis joined the terror group and several Israeli Arabs were arrested by the Shin Bet and Israel Police for seeking to join the group. Several who joined the group were killed and a small number are believed to have returned to Israel, either of their own accord or after being caught by Turkish authorities while trying to cross the border and were deported back to Israel.
According to reports, the majority of those imprisoned for supporting the terror group have been released from prison and, like the attacker in Beersheba, they were not tracked by police.
In October 2015 authorities broke up the first known case of an ISIS plot in Israel and indicted seven Israeli Arabs on charges of belonging to an Islamic State cell planning to attack military targets.
The first deadly attack believed to have been inspired by the jihadist group was in January 2016 when an Israeli Arab went on a shooting spree in Tel Aviv killing three people. Six months later two Palestinians shot dead four Israelis in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market.