After the Israeli town of Sderot was hit last Wednesday with a rocket shot from the Gaza Strip, the responsible Salafi terror group Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis delivered an ultimatum to the Hamas government: release our activists from your jail within 48 hours, or we’ll target Sderot again, Ma’ariv reported Friday.
The ultimatum was issued by a senior in the Salafi terror group, Abu Bakr al-Maqdisi, who declared on his Facebook page: “We presented to Hamas a 48 hour ultimatum which they did not obey so we hit Sderot. Now we give them another 48 hours to release our activists from Hamas jail.”
Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis, an ISIS affiliate, was one of two groups who claimed responsibility for the Sderot rocket, with the declaration: “The shooting was part of our ongoing efforts against the Jewish enemies of Allah, as well as revenge for the arrest of our people by Hamas.”
Another, less well know group, Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, also claimed responsibility for the same rocket. There are several warring Islamist group in the Gaza Strip, which are in constant conflict with the Hamas government. Last week, five Salafi terrorists were arrested by police in Rafah and in Gaza City.
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi told Ma’ariv it would be “unacceptable” for his town to become the battleground for various Gazan factions to fight each other. “Sderot is not Gaza’s gun fodder,” he said. “If there’s no quiet in Sderot, there must be no quiet in Gaza either. I count on the prime minister, the defense minister and the IDF to shortcut this pattern.”
The terms “Salafist jihadist” and “Jihadist-Salafism” were coined by scholar Gilles Kepel in 2002, to describe “a hybrid Islamist ideology” developed by international Islamist volunteers in the 1980s’ Afghan anti-Soviet jihad, organized largely by the CIA. Since then these hybrid Islamists have spread across the Middle East and North Africa, beheading and exploding their path to divine redemption. Three or four such groups planted themselves in the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai.
On August 14, 2009, Sheikh Abdel Latif Moussa, spiritual leader of Jund Ansar Allah, an armed Salafist jihadist group in the Gaza Strip, announced during his Friday sermon the establishment of an Islamic emirate in the Palestinian territories, and vowed an attack on the ruling Islamist group Hamas, for failing to enforce Sharia law. Hamas forces circled his mosque complex and in the fighting that ensued Sheikh Abdel Latif Moussa and 23 others were killed, and more than 130 were wounded.
Salafist jihadists have also been involved in protests against King Abdullah II of Jordan, and the kidnapping and killing of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza.
Israel, which under its new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, has been retaliating swiftly for every single violation of the 2014 ceasefire, refuses to distinguish between the different rockets shot across the Gaza border. It holds Hamas accountable for all of them, and, in fact, has taken advantage of the recent few rockets and mortar shells to hit Hamas training facilities in the northern Gaza Strip.David Israel