Ansar Jerusalem, a Salafi jihadist group that operates in the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula, has released a statement, titled “No Welcome to You, O Obama” to jihadist forums. The statement, which was released today, was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In the statement, the group slammed President Barack Obama’s ongoing visit to Israel, which it called a “cancerous tumor,” and said that the visit’s timing “has important implications.”
Ansar Jerusalem specifically noted that the visit comes just days after a new Israeli government was sworn in and near the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. The Salafi jihadist group also accused “America and the Crusader West” of intervening in the so-called Arab Spring “to change the natural direction of these blessed revolutions, and prevented the Muslim peoples from achieving their true freedom and implementing their Islamic Shariah.”
With regard to the situation in Syria, the statement said that Obama came to discuss how to prevent the progress of the jihadists in Syria. “[T]hese are discussions to find a solution to stop the advance of the victorious mujahideen brigades that shook Bashar’s throne and annihilated his shabiha [thugs] and are on their way to pluck his head before plucking him from power, and then head to liberate the Golan before liberating the taken Jerusalem,” the statement said.
The statement concluded by warning that “[a]ny gathering by the leaders of disbelief and the commanders of the Zio-Crusader alliance is only for plotting and malevolence for Islam and Muslims.”
Earlier on March 21, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), an al Qaeda-linked group, claimed credit for a rocket attack on Israel. In its statement released to jihadist forums, the MSC similarly slammed Obama’s trip to Israel, and called the president a “Roman dog.”
“You will never enjoy security until we live it here in reality in all the Muslim countries, and until all the armies of disbelief are expelled from Peninsula of Muhammad, Allah’s peace and prayer be upon him,” the MSC threatened, according to SITE’s translation. “The rockets carried a message saying that jihad will not stop by someone’s justice or injustice, until Allah rules between us and you, and until you shamefully leave our land.
In response to today’s rocket attack, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing and reduced Palestinian fishing territory off of Gaza’s coast from six to three miles. Earlier this week, Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket from Deir al Balah in the Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea, according to the Gaza NGO Safety Office.
Ansar Jerusalem is thought to be behind most of the recent attacks originating from the Sinai, according to Israeli intelligence. The group, which is said to recruit within Egypt and abroad, has claimed credit for a number of attacks against Israel over the past year, including the attack on Sept. 21.
The deadliest attack was the Aug. 18, 2011 assault on a bus traveling near the border with Egypt in Eilat, which resulted in the deaths of eight Israelis and at least seven terrorists. Three Egyptian security personnel were also accidentally killed in the crossfire. In addition, Ansar Jerusalem has taken credit for a number of attacks against the Arish-Ashkelon natural gas pipeline as well as a number of rocket attacks against Israel.
On Oct. 15, the group threatened to attack Israel for the targeted killing of 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. The two were said to be leaders of the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem.
On Jan. 11, a video released by Ansar Jerusalem stated: “Here in Egypt, the fortress of the Ummah, the light of victory has begun to shine, and the light of dawn has appeared in the horizon. The Ummah has begun preparing for the moment to attack the occupying entity and get rid of its evil.”