Sinai Salafi group says it was behind deadly attack

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes say attack that killed an Israeli soldier, injured another was carried out in response to anti-Islam film.

IDF soldier Netanel Yahalomi is laid to rest in Modi'in 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
IDF soldier Netanel Yahalomi is laid to rest in Modi'in 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
A Salafi jihadi group based in Sinai and affiliated with al- Qaida claimed responsibility on Sunday for the border attack which killed an IDF soldier on Friday.
The group, Ansar Bait al- Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) said in an online message that it dispatched three gunmen to carry out the attack.
“As the defense of the honor of the messenger of Allah is one of our duties and responsibilities, your brothers...
carried their weapons and became determined to discipline the Jews for their heinous acts,” according to a translation of the message, made available by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group.
The message was a reference to the anti-Islam video released on YouTube earlier this month, which has caused unrest across the Muslim world.
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis also claimed it was behind the firing of two rockets at Eilat in mid-August. It pledged to carry out another attack, at an unspecified time, in revenge for what it said was the killing of a group member in Sinai with the help of Israel.
The group previously claimed responsibility for an attack on a pipeline delivering Egyptian natural gas to Israel.
Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz toured the site of Friday’s attack and warned that terrorism from Sinai would continue to pose a security threat even after the border fence is complete.
“The Sinai border will continue challenging us. We made a great effort in the past two years to close the border, and it is closed – but even when it is closed, the threat does not stop,” Gantz said.
The chief of staff met with the soldiers from the Artillery Corps and the Caracal infantry battalion who shot dead the terrorists, and praised their response.
“We are fighters who protect the borders; there are encounters, and everyone who chose to be a combat soldier knows things like this can happen.
I think that Netanel [Yahalomi, who was killed in the attack], of blessed memory, realized this completely, to the fullest extent.
“Netanel advanced, made contact, fought and was killed; each of you could have been him,” Gantz continued.
“I am sure that if Netanel were here with us, he would say that we must continue the mission.”
Gantz also praised the ongoing security missions carried out by the Caracal Battalion, 60 percent of which is made up of female combatants.
OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo traveled on Sunday to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba to visit a soldier wounded by bomb shrapnel in the incident.Reuters contributed to this report.