Islamic State’s Sinai ‘province’ claims responsibility for failed rocket attacks on Israel

The Islamic State’s so-called Sinai “province” has claimed responsibility for firing three rockets at Israel. The photos released by the Islamic State can be seen below. The rockets did no damage and caused no casualties, according to initial press accounts.

15-07-03 Islamic State claim of responsibility rocket attacks

The rocket attacks came just days after the same Islamic State branch launched a massive operation targeting the Egyptian military and security forces in the northern Sinai. The Egyptian government says that 17 soldiers were killed in the coordinated attacks, which also left dozens of jihadists dead.

The Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for firing the rockets was issued only hours after they landed in Israeli territory. The group’s statement, which can be seen on the right, was formatted in the same manner as previous messages by the Islamic State’s provinces. Recent attacks in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen were all followed by similar statements.

The Islamic State’s Sinai province was formerly known as Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (ABM), which had ties to al Qaeda. When it was known as ABM, the jihadist group launched rockets at Israel on multiple occasions. Like today’s strike, the previous rockets did little damage.

For instance, ABM claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on Israel in August 2012, November 2012, July 2013, and twice in early 2014. ABM has fired rockets on Israel from the Sinai on other occasions and other jihadists have as well.

ABM’s deadliest attack on Israel was on August 18, 2011, when a team of terrorists assaulted a bus riding in Eilat, near the border with Egypt. Eight Israelis and 3 Egyptian security personnel were killed. ABM subsequently took credit for the operation and honored one of the jihadists who was responsible in a video eulogy.

In September 2012, ABM fighters assaulted Israeli soldiers who were protecting a construction crew near the border. One Israeli soldier was killed in the raid. ABM justified the killing as vengeance against “the Jews,” who supposedly offended the Prophet Mohammed by helping to produce the video “Innocence of Muslims.” Of course, the video in question was not produced by the Israelis, or “the Jews,” but by different parties. “Innocence of Muslims” was merely a pretext for the cross-border operation.

In addition, ABM repeatedly struck the gas pipelines running into Israel and Jordan, earning the praise of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.

From Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (ABM) to the Islamic State’s Sinai province

On November 10, 2014, an unidentified jihadist from ABM announced his group’s allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the self-appointed head of the Islamic State’s “caliphate.” ABM was quickly rebranded as part of the Islamic State, and has claimed numerous attacks in the months since.

On November 13, 2014, al Baghdadi formally acknowledged the pledge of allegiance (bayat) from ABM, as well as several other groups, in an audio message. He announced “the expansion of the Islamic State to new lands, to the lands of al Haramain [meaning Saudi Arabia] and [to] Yemen, and to Egypt, Libya and Algeria.”

Baghdadi accepted “the bayat from those who gave us bayat in those lands,” and proclaimed “the nullification of the groups therein.” He announced the creation of “new wilayah [provinces] for the Islamic State, and the appointment of wali [provincial leaders] for them.”

The Islamic State’s emir called on “every” Muslim to “join the closest wilayah to him, and to hear and obey the wali appointed by us for it.”

Baghdadi’s announcement was a direct affront to al Qaeda and its branches, which operate in each of the areas addressed by the Islamic State leader. However, many jihadists refused to submit.

For instance, credible reports indicate that part of ABM remained loyal to al Qaeda. And another jihadist group in Egypt, Ajnad Misr (“Soldiers of Egypt”), had already broken off from ABM. The leader of Ajnad Misr, Hammam Attiyah, was killed earlier this year. Both al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) eulogized Attiyah. Ajnad Misr has been relatively quiet in the months since.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State’s Sinai province continues to launch attacks in Egypt and Israel.

Photos of today’s failed rocket attacks released by the Islamic State’s Sinai province

15-07-03 IS rocket attacks 1

15-07-03 IS rocket attacks 2

15-07-03 IS rocket attacks 3

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Jeff Edelman says:

    Can’t blame them for blaming “the video”. People bought it before. Has as much credibility in this case as it did the other.

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    Ah. Maybe blaming it on a video is not such a good idea.

  • Ron MCDavid says:

    Excellent article

  • dave says:

    Islamic state are just putting death sentences upon all Muslim’s when I go out into town I keep my eyes wide open and watch every muslim as if they are going to blow up mad I know but that what I think now

  • mike merlo says:

    “Islamic States Sinai ‘province’ claims responsibility for failed rocket attacks on Israel.” Nothing could be further from the truth. To the contrary the “rocket attacks” were a resounding success. The fact that these “rockets” did no physical damage to infrastructure or harm any people is immaterial. That the “rockets” were even launched ‘makes’ this event an unequivocal success.

    As long as those tasked or otherwise continue to apply outdated, suspect or misunderstood ‘Standards Of Measurement” to the various actions employed/deployed by our adversary’s the GWOT will continue to ‘march’ along.

  • irebukeu says:

    Jeff I would love to discuss with you, “the video” and the credibility it had in the other case. We can do it right here. What do you say?

    The video you allude to, (if you are referring to the innocence of muslims trailer) was the motivation behind the attack in Benghazi. It absolutely was. I can defend that claim with evidence.
    The attackers (Ansar al sharia) claimed it was the reason for the attack, the arab defenders claimed it was the reason they ran from the compound and DID NOT DEFEND it.
    There is evidence that supports this.
    Is there any evidence to support the claim that the video had no bearing on the attack?

    What was the motivation in your opinion Jeff, for the attack and if the reason you give is different than the reason the attackers gave for the attack and the defenders, the reason for not defending, state your evidence or the facts that lead you to your conclusion.

    Remember Jeff, the attackers and ‘defenders’ of arab origins BOTH AGREE on the role the video played on the night of Sept 11, 2012. and they both stated their reasons. The attackers, the very next morning and the defenders posted their reasons online WHILE THE ATTACK WAS STILL UNDERWAY”

    If your answer is “I don’t know their motivations” then fair enough. I would then replace that question with ” Why do you think the video had nothing to do with the attack when the attackers and defenders both say it did?”

    If you think Jeff that the “video” had nothing to do with the attack on Benghazi then you are right for saying so but you should at the same time bear the responsibility of stating why you think so in the face of all the evidence that exists.

    If I have mistaken your reference for the innocence of muslims trailer and you actually were referring to something else, then please forgive me for my assumption.
    I’m just so tired of the truth being dumped into the trash for the sake of some expedient political point that can be made in regards to Benghazi
    Someone should say something.
    Lets talk

  • mike merlo says:

    @ irebukeu

    The “video” is immaterial. Had there been no “video” any number of other reasons would have been posited. The facilities in Benghazi were doomed from the get go. The USA could have built a Mosque & a Monument honoring bin Laden at the Benghazi location & that to would have been singled out for destruction

  • irebukeu says:

    Had there been no video there may not have been any protest at the US Embassy at Cairo in the morning of Sept 11,2012 or if a protest was to be, would have been exponentially smaller in my opinion.
    Had there been no protest there probably would not have been an attack on the Mission in Benghazi that night. There certainly was no protest there.

    I agree with you Mike that the mission was doomed from the start. When they announced the opening of a mission there my thought was that it was sheer suicide, a diplomatic ‘forlorn hope’.
    The effects of the video though are far reaching and it left a trail of death and blame/justification all across the middle east.
    It stopped being just a “youtube video” when on Sept 9, 2012 two minutes of it were aired on Egyptian television. If the video didn’t exist that could not have happened. The amount of exposure on television in my opinion can reasonably be concluded to have increased turnout at the islamist organized embassy protest on the 11th. This does nothing but help the cause of militancy, the brotherhood, al qaeda islamists and conservatives.
    The argument that islamists make, that islam is under attack just gets easier when they can add “the video” to their callback list of insults to the prophet and the religion.

    For myself, I would have no problem with any of it if it were not for the fact that so many Americans are out there in the middle of these dare I say ‘unreasonable people’ and their lives become endangered when these types of things occur. The right to produce these types of videos is not in question ( just to be clear). Its the question of “is it the smart thing to do?” that is the issue.

    So though I agree about the doomed nature of the diplomatic post, I do believe that the video is very relevant. It was then, is now.


  • mike merlo says:

    @ irebukeu

    a valid response & observations. Thanks


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