On Wednesday, prior to the institution of a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian terror groups, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) and Army of Islam (Jaysh al Islam) announced that they had carried out joint rocket attacks against Israel between Nov. 19 and Nov. 21. The statement, titled “Shelling Jewish Settlements with 14 Grad Rockets,” was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In addition to taking responsibility for the rocket fire, the groups called on “Muslims in Jerusalem and its environs to deploy to carry out the duty of jihad in the Cause of Allah, and to fulfill the obligatory duty that is incumbent upon us.” The statement continued: “We ask the help of our dear Ummah to participate in deterring the attack of the Jews and stopping their aggression on the Gaza Strip, and to expel them from al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, the [West] Bank, the Negev and Haifa.”
The joint operation is an interesting development as the MSC is a consolidation of a couple of of groups, including the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ansar al Sunnah. Whether these new joint attacks will lead to the Army of Islam joining the MSC, however, remains to be seen.
While Gaza-based Salafi jihadists have fired a number of rockets from Gaza into Israel over the past week, Sinai-based Salafi jihadists have carried out very few attacks. On Tuesday, Ansar Jerusalem, a Salafi jihadist group based in the Sinai, claimed to have fired rockets at Eilat “in the past few days,” according to a statement that was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
According to press reports, a significant number of Sinai-based Salafi jihadists recently entered Gaza in order to join Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in their fight against Israel. This decision may have been the result of pressure from Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which reportedly urged Salafi jihadists in the Sinai not to attack Israel, according to Al Hayat.
On Wednesday, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai released a statement to jihadist forums, in which the group claimed that Egyptian security forces had shot and killed a 20-year-old who was seeking to travel to Gaza and help Palestinians. The group warned that continued attacks on citizens would likely “lead to an explosion of the situation and push the people to commit reprisals” as was seen in early November.
Last week, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai urged Egyptians to fight Israel if the Egyptian army did not. “If you cannot defend your brothers and your people in Gaza, at least let those who can do so and do not watch and fight them. So if you do not fight the Jews, [at least] do not be of help to them,” the group said.