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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.
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.
[Source: By Thomas Joscelyn, The Long War Journal, NJ, 03Jul15]
Crisis in Egypt
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