The Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center, “the official source for releases from the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in the Environs of Jerusalem,” recently created a new page on Facebook after its first page was taken down on April 10.
While the new page was created on April 23, the ITMC’s Twitter and Tumblr accounts promoted it yesterday on a number of occasions. As of April 27, the new Facebook page had 195 “likes.” In contrast, the ITMC Twitter account, which has existed since Aug. 26, 2012, had 1,465 followers.
In a statement published on Feb. 1, 2013 to jihadist forums, the ITMC explained that it was creating social media pages in order to “deepen the correspondence and raise the level of interaction with the supporters of jihad and the lovers of jihad, and to deliver the publications of the media and scientific, jihad and instructional centers to various segments of society.”
Over the past few days, the ITMC has posted a number of its past statements to its new Facebook page. On April 27, the ITMC released a new statement that said that Egyptian intelligence officers have been interrogating Salafi jihadists detained by Hamas. The officers, according to the ITMC, are interested in learning about the structure of Salafi jihadist groups in the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.
The ITMC statement claims that the Egyptian intelligence officers are particularly interested in the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, which has conducted operations from both the Gaza Strip and Sinai. Most recently, the group took responsibility for firing two Grad rockets from the Sinai into the Israeli city of Eilat.
Following the attacks on Eilat, Abu al Ayna al Ansari, a Salafi jihadist leader in the Gaza Strip, told Asharq al Awsat that Gaza-based Salafi jihadists plan to continue “[t]he jihad [against Israel]…despite the pressures and threats or the many lying in wait for us.” “We will continue the jihad regardless of the stance of Hamas or Egypt,” al Ansari said.
Al Ansari also accused Hamas and Egypt of working together to target Salafi jihadists in the Gaza Strip. “We have precise information about full coordination between Egypt and Hamas in the war on the Salafis. Some of our mujahideen were arrested at the request of the Egyptians, and Egyptian security officers interrogated them in Gaza,” al Ansari said.
Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem
The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) is a consolidation of a number of Salafi jihadist groups operating in the Gaza Strip including, but not limited to: Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ansar al Sunnah. Sheikh Anas Abdul Rahman, one of the group’s leaders, has said that the group aims to “fight the Jews for the return of Islam’s rule, not only in Palestine, but throughout the world.”
The MSC has taken responsibility for a number of rocket attacks against Israel, as well as the June 18, 2012 attack that killed one Israeli civilian. The group said that the attack was “a gift to our brothers in Qaedat al Jihad and Sheikh Zawahiri” and retaliation for the death of Osama bin Laden. In early February 2013, the MSC released a martyrdom video branding one of the terrorists killed in the June 2012 attack as an al Qaeda “martyr.”
On Oct. 22, 2012, the MSC released a 32-minute-long video detailing some of its rocket attacks against Israel and threatening to “fight you [Israel] as long as we hold … weapons in our hands.”
In November 2012, the group carried out joint rocket attacks with the Army of Islam. Following the institution of a ceasefire that ended Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, the MSC said that they were not truly a party to the ceasefire.
In 2012, the Israeli Air Force targeted a number of MSC members. On Oct. 7, the IDF targeted Tala’at Halil Muhammad Jarbi, a “global jihad operative,” and Abdullah Muhammad Hassan Maqawai, a member of the MSC. Maqawai, likely a former member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, died of his wounds. On Oct. 13, Israel killed 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, in an airstrike. The two men were said to be leaders of the MSC.
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