MSC in Jerusalem claims rocket attack on Eilat

At about 1 a.m. on Tuesday, at least one rocket was fired toward the southern Israeli city of Eilat. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one rocket, and authorities are searching the area for any additional strikes.

The interception was “the first time the Iron Dome system has intercepted a rocket over” Eilat, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. Israeli authorities had moved an Iron Dome battery to Eilat in mid-July due to concerns regarding the situation in the Sinai peninsula.

The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), a consortium of Salafi jihadist groups based primarily in the Gaza Strip, took responsibility for the attack in a statement released to jihadist forums on Aug. 13. The MSC said it fired the Grad rocket in response to the recent killing of four members of the Sinai-based Ansar Jerusalem jihadist group.MSC in Jerusalem - August 13, 2013.jpg

In addition, the MSC boasted that Israelis were forced to run to shelters. The statement warned that Eilat and other cities in Israel will not enjoy security and that “the Jews” will “pay dearly” for killing “the mujahideen.”

The rocket attack on Eilat comes just a few days after four members of the Salafi jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem were killed as they were preparing to fire rockets toward Israel. While jihadist groups, including the MSC, have contended that the four jihadists were killed as a result of an Israeli drone strike in cooperation with Egyptian authorities, conflicting statements have emerged from Egyptian sources. Additionally, Israeli officials have remained relatively mum.

On Aug. 10, Hussein Ibrahim Salem al Tihi, from the Tiyaaha tribe, and Yusri Muhaareb al Saraarkah, Ibrahim Khalaf al Munei’I, and Muhammad Hussein al Munei’i, all from the Sawaarkah tribe, were buried following an extensive funeral procession. Some of the slain jihadists were wrapped in al Qaeda flags, while vehicles in the procession had the black flags attached as well.

Last week, Israeli authorities closed Eilat’s airport for a few hours due to a security assessment. Egyptian officials subsequently claimed that a warning from them regarding plots by jihadists in the Sinai had been shared with Israeli officials and led to the airport closure. Israeli authorities have previously expressed concern that jihadists may try to target planes landing and taking off from the airport.

Although Eilat has not normally been a target of rocket fire from terror groups in the region, it has increasingly come under fire during the past two years. On Nov. 20, 2012, Ansar Jerusalem claimed to have fired rockets at Eilat, according to a statement that was obtained and translated by SITE. The same group also took responsibility for a rocket attack on Eilat in mid-August 2012.

More recently, in early July, Ansar Jerusalem issued a statement claiming responsibility for the firing of two rockets toward Eilat. Prior to that, in April, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on Eilat.

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 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 it was not truly a party to the ceasefire.

Over the past two years, the Israeli Air Force has targeted a number of MSC members. On Oct. 7, 2012, 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, 2012, 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. Numerous jihadist groups and media units as well as al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri issued statements following the death of the two jihadists.

More recently, in April this year, the IAF targeted and killed Hithem Ziad Ibrahim Masshal, a well-known jihadist in the Gaza Strip, who was said to be a member of the MSC. On May 7, Masshal was eulogized by a senior member of the MSC who claimed that he never visited Masshal “without finding his room full with materials for manufacturing and preparing rockets, and the materials of jihad.” On Aug. 7, 2013, the MSC released a video to jihadist forums praising Masshal for having “always rolled up his sleeves and used up his time in training the mujahideen to fight and shoot in the Cause of Allah.”

In June, jihadists in Syria called on Hamas members as well as members of other Palestinian factions in Gaza to join the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem.

Since its formation, the group has released a couple of eulogies for slain al Qaeda leaders. For example, in September 2012 the group released a eulogy to jihadist forums for Abu Yahya al Libi, a longtime al Qaeda leader from Libya, who was killed in a US drone strike in Mir Ali in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan on June 4, 2012. More recently, in mid-July, the group released a statement of condolence to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after it confirmed the death of its deputy leader, Said al Shihri (a.k.a. Abu Sufyan al-Azdi).

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  • yuval Brandstetter MD says:

    This is exactly the scenario in the Mountain region of Israel (erroneously called the West Bank) should Israel not control the borders and allow the future Pal-State admit all the Jihadis it wants to import. I guess that is the Obama plan to do away with Israel, considered by Obama to be an “infected sore” on america’s foreign relations body. Quote:
    JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?
    BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy.
    Read it again, Its the Obama foreign policy encapsulated

  • harold says:

    until Israel wakes up and start to use the mas sad in destroying the Iranian leadership and screwing around with them there always going to more of the same cr_rp

  • Gary Katz says:

    Israel killed the previous 4 terrorists as they were preparing a rocket strike on Israel. Thus, the MSC’s vow of revenge doesn’t make sense. What did they expect Israel to do with the rocket squad, kiss them?
    What Israel should’ve also done was bomb the August 10 funeral procession, which would’ve taken out hundreds of terrorists in one blow.

  • blert says:

    For Jerusalem, these Sinai dolts are a side show of a side show.
    Consequently, there is no desire to elevate matters into something big.
    The AQ/ MB connection to Benghazigate is being muted around Cairo at this time.
    At some point, the American propaganda machine/ MSM will be forced to address these Egyptian allegations.
    This being August, most of the influential figures are on holiday. After Labor Day the narrative is likely to shift.
    A while back, it was widely alleged that the US State Department and/ or the CIA was transshipping Libyan weapons to the Syrian conflict.
    The British press is now stating that the allegation is fact.
    The Libyan press — and Reuters — reported that Iranian ‘Red Crescent (7 male) ‘nurses’ had been taken hostage in the months before 9-11-2012.
    And the wire services reported that Morsi permitted the IRGC navy transit privileges through the Suez for the first time in history — at the same time that a Shi’ite delegation was roaming all over Cairo. Strangely, this coincided with the ‘nurses’ and ransom swap, next door in Cyrenaica. (Benghazi)
    Which raises the question: did the MB send in their version of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) to throttle the flow of weapons to the battle fronts — strictly for a big payday?
    After all, Morsi was in a huge financial bind. So much so, he was deposed over it.
    (He and the MB broke the Egyptian economy. Nominating a fanatic Salafist to be in charge of Luxor monuments had to have obvious consequences. It did. The tourist industry dried up overnight.)
    (This particular fanatic’s crew was famed for gunning down tourists from Europe, years ago. How charming. His band of brothers wants to destroy the infidel religious icons of antiquity. This gambit is no joke. Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Mali have all had (UN certified) icons/ statues/ monuments dynamited into oblivion. )
    Desert limitations must make fanatic gambits in the Sinai problematic. It’s reasonable to expect that the Egyptian army will gain the upper hand — and ship out the (MB) trouble makers. Since many players had been released from long term prison sentences, one might presume that the authorities know who to look for.
    At least they won’t have to protect the natural gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan. In now is empty and serves no purpose. Israel is now choking on its own gas bonanza from the Med. It figures to last at least half a century just from known reserves.
    There is talk of using the methane to speed up recoveries of deep shale oil. Some are claiming that Israel could then become a serious exporter of light, sweet, crude oil.
    And in other news: America’s exports of refined petroleum is up more than 1,000,000 bpd over the last four years while imports are down by 3,000,000 bpd over the last seven years. This may be a trend.

  • M.H says:

    During his visit to Pakistan, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon said the use of drone attacks must be controlled by international law.
    How can we apply international law when the world is fighting terrorist groups who are determine to attack and kill innocent civilian.
    Drones are proved to be the most safe and effective tool in fighting an illusive enemy.
    Restricting the use of this defensive tool is restricting against stoping terrorist from killing innocent civilians.


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