Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem

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The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem or the Mujahideen Shura Council of Jerusalem (in Arabic: Majlis Shura Al-Mujahideen,[1] Magles Shoura al-Mujahedeen, etc.) is an armed al-Qaeda-linked[2] group that is active in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and in the Gaza Strip. Since it emerged following the 2011 Arab Spring developments in Egypt,[3] it has carried out attacks against civilians in Israel.[2] The group describes violence against Jews as a religious obligation that brings its perpetrators closer to God.[4] It was designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department on 19 August 2014.[5]

Attacks[edit]

June 18, 2012[edit]

The group claimed responsibility for a cross border attack in Israel. Attackers detonated an improvised explosive device near the Egyptian-Israeli border and opened fire on vehicles carrying construction workers. Israeli civilian Saeed Fashafshe, a 35-year-old Arab resident of Haifa and a married father of four, was killed, as were at least two of the terrorists.[2][6][7]

In a video, the group dedicated the attack to Osama bin Laden, the "Syrian Muslim jihadi people", "all the mujahideen and their commanders and emirs in all the battlefields of jihad", and the "Salafi Jihadi oppressed lions in the land of the Gaza glory". It further stated that it is waging jihad "to become a building block in the global project aiming for the return of the rightly-guided Caliphate and the institution of the pure Shariah". It identified the leaders of the attack as Egyptian citizen Khalid Salah Abdul Hadi Jadullah (a.k.a. Abu Salah al Masri) and Saudi citizen Adi Saleh Abdullah al Fudhayli al Hadhli (a.k.a Abu Hudhayfa al Hudhali).[2][8][9]

In a later video statement released in July, the group characterized the attack as "a gift to our brothers in Qaedat al-Jihad and Sheikh Zawahiri" and retaliation for the death of Osama bin Laden.[10][11]

26 August 2012[edit]

The group launched three rockets at the Israeli city of Sderot. One of the rockets damaged a building in an industrial area near the city. One person was lightly wounded and a second was treated for acute stress reaction.[12]

In an internet statement, the group took credit for the attack and asked God to "assist us against the unbelieving people". It emphasized the following points in explaing the rationale for the attack:

"1. Jihad for the sake of Allah against the criminal Jews is an obligation that we draw closer to Allah whenever we find a way to that, in any place, by what Allah facilitates to us from the reasons of power and repelling.
2. It’s a right for the mujahidin of the Ummah to support and aid them, and it is unacceptable that any party targets them by harassing or persecution or arrest, as long as they have only left to do an obligation required from every Muslim in a time when many are reluctant from going to jihad.
3. All those sincere in the organizations should shake off the dust of humiliation, sitting back and reckon to the mortal ruins of this Dunya, and rise up to support their religion and defend their sanctities, and they should remember that they have only joined their organizations for the jihad for the sake of Allah.
4. Let the Jews know that the holy sites, sanctities and blood have men who don’t sleep over oppression, and aren’t pleased by humiliation, and spend their blood and what they own cheaply for that, and what is coming is worst and more bitter by the willing of Allah the Irresistible Avenger."[4]

March 21, 2013[edit]

Around 7:15 am, on the second day of a visit by US President Barack Obama in Israel, the group fired four rockets from Beit Hanoun at the Israeli city of Sderot, triggering alarms in local communities and forcing residents on their way to work or school to run to bomb shelters. One rocket hit the backyard of a home in the city, spraying shrapnel into the walls and shattering windows. A second projectile landed in an open area within the surrounding Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. The two remaining rockets landed within the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.[13][14][15][16]

In its claim of respoonsibility for the attack, the group stated that it was meant to show that Israeli air defenses could not stop attacks on the Jewish state. "Responding to the bragging of the Roman dog and the war criminals of their so-called Iron Dome, we assert that all their military techniques will not stop God's destiny of tormenting them", the group posted on an Islamist website.[17]

Targeting by the Israel Defense Forces[edit]

On 7 October 2012, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israel Security Agency carried out an air strike in the southern Gaza Strip targeting Tala'at Halil Muhammad Jarbi, who the IDF said was involved in the planning and execution of the June 18 attack and other terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip. Also targeted in the air strike was Abdullah Muhammad Hassan Maqawai, who was said to be a member of the group.[11]

On 14 October 2012, Hisham al-Saedni, the Salafist Islamist founding member and leader of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Gaza was killed while on a motorcycle by an Israeli airstrike. Israel said it was responding to a rocket attack on southern Israel earlier.[18]

Denial[edit]

The group denied involvement in the August 2012 Egypt-Israel border attack, in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed and an Israeli border post was stormed.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Israeli airstrike targets terror operatives in Gaza, CNN 15-10-2012
  2. ^ a b c d Thomas Joscelyn, Al Qaeda-linked group claims responsibility for attack in Israel, Long War Journal (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) 19-06-2012
  3. ^ a b Bill Roggio, Mujahideen Shura Council denies involvement in Sinai assault, Long War Journal (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) 06-08-2012
  4. ^ a b Response of the lions to the aggressions of the Jews: Shelling Zionist Sderot with three rockets, Majlis Shura Al-Mujahidin 01-09-2012
  5. ^ "Terrorist Designation of the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC)". US State Department. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Haifa man named as victim of terrorist attack on Egypt border, Haaretz 16-06-2012
  7. ^ ICT Database Insight: “The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem" A New Player in the Lawless “Wild West” of the Sinai Peninsula?, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism 20-08-2012
  8. ^ Islamic group claims responsibility for attack on Egypt border, Times of Israel 19-06-2012
  9. ^ Hamas fires barrage of rockets into Israel, BBC News 19-06-2012
  10. ^ Bill Roggio, Mujahideen Shura Council calls attack in Israel a 'gift' to Zawahiri and al Qaeda 'brothers', Long War Journal (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) 30-07-2012
  11. ^ a b David Barnett, Israel targets Mujahideen Shura Council and Global Jihad terrorists in Gaza, Long War Journal (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) 07-10-2012
  12. ^ Salafi Terrorists: Jihad Against 'Criminal Jews' is a Duty, Israel National News 27-08-2012
  13. ^ Two rockets slam into Sderot during Obama visit, Jerusalem Post 21-03-2013
  14. ^ Rockets hit Sderot as Obama visits Israel, Ynet News 21-03-2013
  15. ^ Gaza militants fire 2 rockets at Israel as Obama visits region, CBC 21-03-2013
  16. ^ Two rockets fired from Gaza strike Israel on second day of Obama's visit, Daily Mail 21-03-2013
  17. ^ Islamist group says it fired rockets at Israel from Gaza, Reuters 21-03-2013
  18. ^ BBC News: Israel Gaza - Air strikes leave four dead in 24 hours