In a post on its official Facebook page, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Sderot, Israel.
The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), an al Qaeda-linked group, has claimed credit for a rocket attack on Israel early this morning. Two rockets landed in Sderot, Israel, while two or perhaps three fell short of Israeli territory. The attack, which was reportedly launched from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, occurred during the second day of President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel.
No casualties have been reported, but the rocket attacks did cause property damage.
The MSC claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement released to jihadist forums as well as in a posting on its official Facebook page. The group’s Facebook posting features pictures of Obama, Palestinian and Israeli leaders, the damage done by its rockets, and a graphic of al Qaeda in Iraq’s (AQI) flag. The AQI black banner has been adopted by al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
President Obama mentioned the attack during a joint press conference held with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier today. “We saw the continuing threat from Gaza again overnight, with the rockets that targeted Sderot,” Obama said. “We condemn this violation of the important cease-fire that protects both Israelis and Palestinians — a violation that Hamas has a responsibility to prevent.”
While the president said that Hamas should prohibit such violence, he did not outright accuse the group of launching the rockets.
The SITE Intelligence Group has translated a statement released on jihadist forums by the Ibn Taymiyya Media Center, the MSC’s propaganda arm. The MSC claims in the statement that the attack was a message to Obama, calling the president a “Roman dog.”
“You will never enjoy security until we live it here in reality in all the Muslim countries, and until all the armies of disbelief are expelled from Peninsula of Muhammad, Allah’s peace and prayer be upon him,” the MSC threatened, according to SITE’s translation. “The rockets carried a message saying that jihad will not stop by someone’s justice or injustice, until Allah rules between us and you, and until you shamefully leave our land.”
The MSC made specific reference to Israel’s so-called Iron Dome missile defense system. “Regarding the boasting of the Roman dog and the war criminals about their alleged iron dome, we stress to them that all their military technologies and weak domes will not be able, by the power of Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, to stop the destiny of Allah the Almighty in torturing them.”
In a posting on its official Facebook page last week, the MSC criticized Obama’s then upcoming trip to Israel, labeling him the new leader of the “Crusaders.”
In a separate Facebook posting last week, the MSC criticized President Obama’s planned trip to Israel. The Ibn Taymiyya Media Center posted a picture of Obama and said that he was the new leader of the “Crusaders.”
President Obama is not scheduled to visit Sderot during this trip. But during his previous visit to Israel, according to Ynet News, Obama “visited the rocket-battered city of Sderot, where he met a child who was injured in a rocket attack and lost his leg.”
Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem
The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) is a consolidation of a number of Salafi jihadist groups operating in the Gaza Strip including, but not limited to: Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ansar al Sunnah. Sheikh Anas Abdul Rahman, one of the group’s leaders, has said that the group aims to “fight the Jews for the return of Islam’s rule, not only in Palestine, but throughout the world.”
The MSC has taken responsibility for a number of rocket attacks against Israel, as well as the June 18, 2012 attack that killed one Israeli civilian. The group said that the attack was a “a gift to our brothers in Qaedat al Jihad and Sheikh Zawahiri” and retaliation for the death of Osama bin Laden. In early February 2013, the MSC released a martyrdom video branding one of the terrorists killed in the June 2012 attack as an al Qaeda “martyr.”
On Oct. 22, 2012, the MSC released a 32-minute-long video detailing some of its rocket attacks against Israel and threatening to “fight you [Israel] as long as we hold…weapons in our hands.”
In November 2012, the group carried out joint rocket attacks with the Army of Islam. Following the institution of a ceasefire that ended Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, the MSC said that they were not truly a party to the ceasefire.
In 2012, the Israeli Air Force targeted a number of MSC members. On Oct. 7, the IDF killed Tala’at Halil Muhammad Jarbi, a “global jihad operative,” and Abdullah Muhammad Hassan Maqawai, a member of the MSC. Maqawai was likely a former member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. On Oct. 13, Israel killed Abu al Walid al Maqdisi, the former emir of the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ashraf al Sabah, the former emir of Ansar al Sunnah, in an airstrike. The two men were said to be leaders of the MSC.