Report: Lebanese Al Qaeda Wing Active in Gaza Alongside Hamas
Reports have surfaced that Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization, is not the only group behind the mass launching of rockets out of Gaza and into Israel in response to the Israeli military's Operation Protective Edge. An al-Qaeda-linked group from Lebanon has also been spotted in video and photos in the area.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a Lebanese terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda, is also operating against Israel in Gaza. The Post reports that exclusive information obtained by the Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor of MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) shows members of that organization launching rockets into Israel. Specifically, the subgroup Saraya Yehya Ayyash is believed to be responsible for the attacks into Gaza.
Below, the video the Jerusalem Post says depicts the members of that terror group launching rockets:
While the group has previously admitted to launching rockets into Israel as recently as last April, but from Lebanon, MEMRI tells the Post that this is "the first that we have heard about the al-Qaida group's presence in Gaza." The move could indicate a new alliance in the global jihadist movement between Hamas and Saraya Yehya Ayyash.
Rockets have been falling into Israel by the hundreds, with civilians depending on bomb shelters, alerts, and the Iron Dome, a sophisticated defense mechanism used to intercept missiles. According to the Israel Defense Forces, 490 rockets hit Israel between July 8 and today, with the Iron Dome intercepting 129, many over the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv. In addition to attempting to hit populated areas, Hamas admitted that they had been targeting the nuclear power plant in Dimona, a clear act of nuclear terrorism and major violation of international law.
The introduction of a Lebanese terror group into the conflict between Israel and Hamas is especially worrisome given reports that terrorists are expanding their launching bases beyond the limits of Gaza. This morning, three rockets landed in Israel believed to have been launched from Lebanon, creating a second front in the war on Hamas. The rockets were yet another sign that Hamas has allied with terrorists on the other side of the Lebanese border to kill Israelis.
Lebanon itself has also seen an increase in terrorist activity. In June, a suicide bomber tied to the same al-Qaeda-affiliated group attacked a hotel in Beirut, a bombing that authorities said was forced to happen too soon, as they believe the hotel itself was not the target, but that the suicide bomber was planning to detonate in a more populated area.