Palestinian jihadist group claims credit for Arizona wildfire
A Palestinian jihadist group, Masada al Mujahideen, recently claimed credit for ongoing wildfires in Arizona in a statement posted to jihadist forums today. The statement, titled "Masada al-Mujahideen Fulfilled its Promise and Attacked America Again After the Expiration of the Period with Fires that Achieved Historic Results," was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
"We had previously announced an unconventional war against the occupation state of Israel, and then we escalated this war to reach its main supporter, America, so that it receives a major share of it, which will destroy their flora and fauna, with permission from Allah and then with our hands," the group said.
The statement further said that the group targeted the United States "in order to make it clear and to make it know we can reach it when we warn it, and to make it certain that our hands don't just reach it but also strike it."
The group warned that the attacks "will not be the last...if America does not respond to our demands." The statement boasted that 19 firefighters had been killed in the fires.
Contrary to the claims of Masada al Mujahideen, authorities have said that they believe the fires were started as a result of lighting.
Today's statement was not the first highly dubious claim by the jihadist group related to fires in the US. In January 2012, the group claimed credit for wildfires in Nevada.
According to SITE, in addition to claiming responsibility for fires in the US, the jihadist group has claimed credit for more than a dozen fires in Israel since 2010.
Masada al Mujahideen
Masada al Mujahideen announced its formation in April 2008 and said its leader is Abu Omar al Ansari, according to SITE. The terror group has claimed numerous attacks against Israel, including rocket and mortar attacks.
In May 2011, Masada al Mujahideen eulogized Osama bin Laden immediately after he was killed by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan. "Although Sheikh Osama has been killed, his creed will not be killed, and the whole Ummah, Allah willing, is Osama bin Laden. We do not say that as hyperbole, for you see with your own eyes and acknowledge with your own mouths that most of the jihadi groups in the world have come to follow his example, method and creed," the group said in a statement that was translated by SITE.
Masada al Mujahideen also eulogized Atiyah Abd al Rahman, a top al Qaeda leader who was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan, in August 2011. "He was truly one of the well-known people of jihad and a bright star in the sky of knowledge," the group said in a statement translated by SITE. In addition, the group issued a eulogy for al Qaeda's Abu Yahya al Libi in September 2012. Al Libi was killed in a US drone strike in Mir Ali in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan on June 4, 2012.
Following the deaths in October 2012 of Abu al Walid al Maqdisi and Ashraf al Sabah, the two leaders of the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, the group threatened to carry out attacks against Israel and Hamas.