On Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targeted Tala’at Halil Muhammad Jarbi and Abdullah Muhammad Hassan Maqawai in southern Gaza. Maqawai was said to be a member of the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), while Jarbi, a “global jihad operative,” was reportedly planning a “complex attack intended to take place along the Sinai border.”
On Monday, Maqawai died of his wounds. Interestingly, during his funeral he was wrapped in the flag of Islamic Jihad despite the fact that the group did not claim him as one of their members. It is likely that Maqawai, who was said to be a member of the MSC, was a former member of Islamic Jihad.
If this is the case, it provides further evidence that ‘established terrorists’ from Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, are joining the al Qaeda-linked groups. According to Haaretz, some members of the al Qaeda-linked groups in the Gaza Strip are “former Hamas members that continue to collect salaries from the organization.”
In December 2011, the IDF targeted and killed several “Global Jihad affiliated-terrorists” in airstrikes in Gaza. Two of the terrorists who were killed were members of Hamas prior to joining the unnamed Salafist group.
For more information on al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups operating in the Egyptian Sinai and Gaza Strip, see LWJ reports, Israeli intelligence: Sinai is the ‘home of an independent jihadist network’, US designates Palestinian Salafist group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and Ansar al Jihad swears allegiance to al Qaeda’s emir; and Threat Matrix report, New jihadist group emerges in the Egyptian Sinai.
David Barnett is a research assistant at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.