A leader of the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), Sheikh Anas Abdul Rahman, has told AFP that the MSC is prepared for dialogue with Hamas, the ruling party in the Gaza Strip, “provided that it is public.” At the current time, “there is no relationship between the Salafi Jihadis and Hamas and its government, except for through security prosecutions and within prisons,” Sheikh Abdul Rahman said.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman also charged that “Hamas has not deviated from [its] policy against the Salafis.” Hamas works in cooperation with “Egyptian intelligence and with Iranian intelligence” in its war against Salafi-Jihadists, he said. According to the MSC leader, Hamas’ policy “is part of the international Zionist-Crusader policy in the so-called war on terror.” Hamas, Sheikh Abdul Rahman argued, is targeting the Salafi-Jihadists in Gaza because it fears that the “popular rug [is] being pulled from under its feet.”
With regard to the Israeli airstrike that killed Abu al Walid al Maqdisi and Ashraf al Sabah, two leaders of the MSC, on Oct. 13, Sheikh Abdul Rahman said that “the Jews were able to reach Sheikh Abu al-Walid because of Hamas’ prosecution against him.” He warned that “the coming days hold worse for the Jews.”
Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem
The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) is a consolidation of a number of Salafi-Jihadist groups operating in the Gaza Strip including, but not limited to: Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ansar al Sunnah. Sheikh Anas Abdul Rahman, one of the group’s leaders, has said that the group aims to “fight the Jews for the return of Islam’s rule, not only in Palestine, but throughout the world.”
The group has taken responsibility for a number of rocket attacks against Israel as well as the June 18, 2012 attack that killed one Israeli civilian.
In July, the MSC released a 38-minute-long video in which it said that the June attack was “a gift to our brothers in Qaedat al Jihad and Sheikh Zawahiri” and retaliation for the death of Osama bin Laden. On Oct. 22, the MSC released a 32-minute-long video detailing some of its rocket attacks against Israel and threatening to “fight you [Israel] as long as we hold…weapons in our hands.”
The Israel Defense Forces has recently increased its targeting of MSC members. On Oct. 7, the IDF targeted Tala’at Halil Muhammad Jarbi, a “global jihad operative,” and Abdullah Muhammad Hassan Maqawai, a member of the MSC. Maqawai, likely a former member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, died of his wounds. On Oct. 13, Israel killed Abu al Walid al Maqdisi, the former emir of the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ashraf al Sabah, the former emir of Ansar al Sunnah, in an airstrike. The two men were said to be leaders of the MSC.