U.S. State Department Set to Delist Mujahideen Shura Council of Jerusalem

The U.S. State Department is expected to remove the Gaza-based Mujahideen Shura Council of Jerusalem (MSC) and several other groups from its Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) list, according to an Associated Press report.

The groups are believed to be inactive and unlikely to pose further threats to warrant their continued listing as FTOs.

“Based on a review of the Administrative Record assembled in this matter and in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, I determine that the circumstances that were the basis for the designation… have changed in such a manner to warrant revocation of the designation,” the AP reported, citing a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The groups named in the AP report are the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, the Spanish separatist organization Basque Homeland and Liberty, a Jewish ultra nationalist group called Kahane Chai, the Egyptian Sunni Islamist movement Gama’a al-Islamiyya, and the MSC.

In the context of the MSC, the Salafi-jihadist organization was established in 2012 in an effort to resurrect the Islamic caliphate and wage violent jihad against Israel.

The State Department designated the organization in 2014 due to numerous rocket attacks against Israel, a cross-border attack targeting an Israeli construction site that killed one civilian and the group’s declaration of support to the Islamic State.

As noted in the State Department’s FTO listing, MSC is responsible for several attacks against Israel, notably in 2012 when two of its members detonated an IED and attacked vehicles carrying construction workers at the security fence Israel was constructing at the Egyptian border.

In a video released by the MSC after the attack, the organization proclaimed its establishment and responsibility for the cross-border raid.

“We announce the formation of the Shura Council of the Mujahideen of Jerusalem as the foundation of a blessed Jihadi operation, with a clear path and features to be a brick in the global project of bringing back the [Islamic] caliphate,” according to a translation made by al-Arabiya News.

The second half of the video is dedicated to the two militants who perpetrated the attack named Khalid Salah Abdul Hadi Jadullah (a.k.a. Abu Salah al Masri) and a Saudi named Adi Saleh Abdullah al Fudhayli al Hadhli (a.k.a Abu Hudhayfa al Hudhali). [See: FDD’s Long War Journal: Al Qaeda-linked group claims responsibility for attack in Israel.]

The MSC have been operationally inactive for years and the U.S. State Department’s decision to remove them from the list of FTOs is unlikely to change the landscape of jihadist activity against Israel emanating from Gaza.

Joe Truzman is a senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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