On Sept. 28, the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center, a jihadist media unit tied to the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, released posters for five Palestinians and an Israeli Arab killed fighting in Syria between July 28, 2012 and Sept. 17, 2013.
Al ‘Ashi, a former fighter in Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam), was killed fighting in Aleppo in late July 2012. A statement announcing his death from Jaish al Islam said that ‘Ashi became a Salafist and “rose as a mujahid against the Jews and Christians after he had been friendly with them before.” He then was imprisoned by Hamas “after he had destroyed the tenets of Christian missionary work, including societies, churches, universities, and schools.” He fled to Syria “when his methods were restricted,” and supported “his monotheist brothers in their war against the tyrants.”
Qanitah, formerly a member of the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem who had previously served with Hamas, was killed in Syria while fighting for the Al Nusrah Front in late December 2012. In mid-March 2013, the ITMC released a video to jihadist forums about Qanitah.
The narrator of the video said Qanitah joined Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas in 2003. “He came to know its leaders and worked with them and trained its fighters, and he participated in many jihadi actions and attacks against the settlements.” He fought against the Israeli military during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009, “and he continued participating in al-Qassam Brigades and the ‘cleansing’ of Gaza to live under Shariah-based governance.”
At some point following Cast Lead, Qanitah became disenchanted with Hamas and turned to the Salafist jihadist groups in Gaza. Eventually Qanitah was introduced to Sheikh Abu al Walid al Maqdisi, the leader of the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem. Qanitah subsequently began training “the group’s fighters and supervised some military operations.” According to the narrator, Qanitah realized that he was likely going to be targeted by Israel, so he attempted to go to Chechnya. After failing to reach Chechnya, Qanitah traveled to Mecca and then traveled to Syria. Once in Syria, he supervised military training for the al-Fajr Islamic Movement and the Al Nusrah Front and “participated in bombing operations.”
In a segment of the video showing Qanitah giving his will, he said his “heart was torn apart when I saw women being raped in Levantine Syria, and children being killed, houses destroyed and elderly murdered by those criminals, the tyrant Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite Shi’ite henchmen.” He concluded that “it was our duty to emigrate in the Cause of Allah to the Levant to help our mujahideen brothers.”
Sha’alan, originally from Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, was killed in mid-June 2013 fighting near Idlib. According to press reports, Sha’alan, 23, had been fighting in Syria for over a month prior to his death.
Al Habbash, a former member of Hamas’ police force in Gaza, was killed fighting with the Al Nusrah Front in mid-July 2013. According to the narrator of an ITMC production released in late August, al Habbash was born in the northern Gaza Strip in 1985 to a “good family.” After he completed his schooling in 2006, he got married and had two children. “He fought often alongside the Palestinian resistance against the criminal Jews,” the narrator said.
When the Assad regime targeted Sunnis in Syria, the narrator said, al Habbash “became determined” to fight in Syria. “As soon as he arrived, he carried out heroic acts with the mujahideen and did well,” the narrator claimed.
Za’anin, whose death was reported on jihadist forums on Sept. 17, was said to have died in a “martyrdom operation” in Syria, where he fought for the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Juma’a, who fought alongside the Al Nusrah Front, is believed to be the first Israeli killed in Syria since the start of the civil war.
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