4 Threat Matrix: Sinai jihadists reportedly travel to Gaza to join Hamas in fight against Israel



Written by David Barnett on November 19, 2012 5:42 PM to 4 Threat Matrix

Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2012/11/sinai_salafists_reportedly_tra.php


Last Wednesday, in response to incessant rocket fire from Palestinian terror groups in Gaza, including Hamas, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense. The operation began with the targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari, the leader of the Ezzedine al Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing.

Since the killing of Jabari, the Israeli Air Force has carried out over 1,000 airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip targeting rocket launch sites, including Fajr 5 missiles; weapons caches; and Hamas's drone program. Meanwhile, terror groups in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, have launched over 1,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel.

On Nov. 16, Threat Matrix noted that "[a]s of now, the involvement of Sinai-based Salafi-jihadist groups in the current fighting appears to be limited to nonexistent." Matters appear to have changed a bit, as Al Masry Al Youm reports that "Islamic leaders said that the majority of Salafist jihadists in the Sinai traveled to the Gaza Strip to join the Palestinian resistance."

In addition, the report says that at least 10 members of the Muslim Brotherhood recently traveled to Gaza to "join [Hamas's] Al-Qassam Brigades and their struggle against Israel." An official from the Muslim Brotherhood's Consultative Council, Mohamed Zakaria Shaban, said that these people acted on their own volition and are not acting as representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Salafi jihadists in Egypt have reportedly held meetings over the past couple of days in which they have discussed how "to support the people of Gaza and prepare those who would travel to Gaza."

On Nov. 15, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya, one of the Salafi jihadist groups operating in the 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.