Khalid Salah Abdul Hadi Jadullah (Abu Salah al Masri), an Egyptian, and Adi Saleh Abdullah al Fudhayli al Hadhl (Abu Hudhayfa al Hudhali), a Saudi, from a propaganda video obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in the Environs of Jerusalem, an al Qaeda-linked group in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, called last month’s attack that targeted workers who were building a security fence “a gift to our brothers in Qaedat al Jihad and Sheikh Zawahiri” and a retaliation for the death of Osama bin Laden.
The MSC made the statement in a 38-minute-long video that was released by the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center on a jihadist Internet forum on July 27. The video was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence group.
An al Qaeda flag is prominently featured in the upper left hand corner throughout most of the video, which glorifies the June 18 cross-border attack on a vehicle used by Israeli construction workers building a fence along the border with Egypt. One person was killed in the IED attack, which took place inside Israeli territory.
Khalid Salah Abdul Hadi Jadullah (Abu Salah al Masri), an Egyptian, and Adi Saleh Abdullah al Fudhayli al Hadhl (Abu Hudhayfa al Hudhali), a Saudi, the two members of the team that planted and detonated the IED, are featured throughout the video. The two MSC fighters are seen training for the attack, including receiving instruction with the aid of a sand table.
One of the two fighters directly addressed Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir, and said the MSC is “continuing with our pledge of allegiance on the path of jihad.”
“We say to Sheikh al Zawahiri: Receive the glad tidings from the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem,” he said, according to SITE. “The brothers say to you O our Sheikh, that we are continuing with our pledge of allegiance on the path of jihad, and we don’t tire or quit despite the harm and the pursuit and the displacement. So, receive the glad tiding, because this job is a gift to the Ummah of Muhammad, Allah’s peace and prayer be upon him, and a gift to our brothers in Qaedat al Jihad and Sheikh Zawahiri, and as retaliation for Sheikh UOama and for the honor of Allah….”
Another MSC member, Abu Usama al Muhajir (whose surname means “the immigrant”), is also featured in the video. He explained that the MSC does not recognize international borders.
“The mujahideen don’t have in their dictionary something called borders other than the borders and limitations that Allah the Almighty sent for us from above seven heavens, which the tyrants abandoned and the monotheists rose to implement,” Muhajir said.
The July 27 video makes for the second time the MSC has claimed credit for the June 18 attack in Israel. Just one day after the attack, the MSC released a shorter video that announced the group’s existence and claimed credit for the assault. In that statement, the MSC said it shares al Qaeda’s goal of establishing a global Islamic caliphate [see LWJ report, Al Qaeda-linked group claims responsibility for attack in Israel].
“We lay a foundation for blessed jihadi work with a clear path and features, to become a building block in the global project aiming for the return of the rightly-guided Caliphate and the institution of the pure shariah [Islamic law],” the statement said, according to SITE.
Background on al Qaeda presence in the Sinai
The Sinai has become an increasing source of concern for Israeli officials since the onset of Egypt’s revolution. The MSC is not the first Sinai-based terrorist organization to claim ideological affinity with, if not organizational ties to, al Qaeda. Numerous jihadist groups, including others linked to al Qaeda, reportedly operate there.
In December 2011, a group named Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula announced its formation and pledged to “fulfill the oath” of Osama bin Laden.
Then in January of this year, Ansar al Jihad swore allegiance to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.
“To our beloved emir and honorable sheikh, Abu Muhammad Ayman al Zawahiri … from your soldiers in the beloved Sinai in the Land of the Quiver [Egypt], we give you allegiance for obedience in good and bad, in difficulty and ease, and altruism,” Ansar al Jihad said, in a statement that was also translated by SITE. “So, throw us wherever you wish…. We will never quit or surrender until the last drop of our blood [is spilled] in the Cause of Allah and until Islam rules by the help of Allah the Almighty.”
Ansar al Jihad is the military arm of al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula, which announced its existence in the summer of 2011 when it released pamphlets in the town of Al Arish in the northern Sinai. Al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula has been establishing ties with Gaza-based Salafist groups and is seeking to coordinate operations, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in late December 2011. There are at least four al Qaeda-linked organizations operating in Gaza. [See LWJ report, Israel kills ‘Global Jihad affiliated-terrorists’ in Gaza airstrikes.]
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.