TEL AVIV – A news agency known for its close ties to the Islamic State claimed that Israeli aircraft on Tuesday struck outposts of Wilayat Sinai, the IS’s branch in the Egyptian Sinai.
With no documentary evidence to back up its claim, the Amaq News Agency reported that seven “Israeli drones, war-planes and helicopters” bombed targets in the IS-heavy north-eastern Sinai.
Contacted by Brietbart Jerusalem, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment, explaining it is the IDF’s general policy to refrain from commenting on reports of operations outside the boundaries of Israel and the Gaza Strip.
IS has kept mum on the alleged incident, the agency added, and the number of casualties remains unclear.
Amaq reported in the past that Israeli aircraft previously entered Sinai on reconnaissance missions and have struck IS outposts.
Speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on Sunday, a leading Islamic State-allied militant claimed it is only a matter of time before the Islamic State’s branch in the Egyptian Sinai carries out a “big operation” in the Israeli resort town of Eilat and other parts of southern Israel.
Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari is a well-known Gaza Salafist jihadist allied with Islamic State ideology. During the interview, Ansari seemed to be speaking as an actual IS member, repeatedly using the pronoun “we” when referring to IS and even making declarations on behalf of IS.
IS has been reluctant to officially declare its presence in Gaza for fear of a Hamas crackdown, but the group is known to be active in the coastal enclave and Ansari is a suspected IS leader. IS-aligned militants have taken responsibility for recent rocket fire from Gaza aimed at Israel.
Ansari was asked about IS’s capabilities inside Israel. He replied:
Israel and the United States are at the top of the list of the targets of the Islamic State. The Islamic State educates its people that Israel and the United States are the leaders of the infidels and we believe that Israel should be disappeared.
As for the question about the cells, I cannot give you any details but there is no doubt that the Islamic State keeps working on creating its infrastructure and cells all around the world. And I can confirm that the Wilayat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State that is operating in the Sinai, will be the pioneers in this confrontation with Israel or what is called Israel.
And I can confirm that it is only a question of time when there will be a big operation in Eilat and in the south of Israel. The Wilayat Sinai will be the ones responsible for the confrontation with Israel.
Col. Yehuda Cohen, the commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Sagi Brigade operating on the border with Egypt, warned in September that the Islamic State in Egypt will likely eventually attempt terrorist attacks against Israel.
“In the end it must be remembered this organization was formed by terrorists that dream of a terror attack against Israel, and it will come. It’s clear that there will be a terror attack against Israel, I believe that it will happen during my tenure,” Cohen told Israel’s Army Radio at the time.
“I teach my people to expect it to come tomorrow, to always be ready for it. When it happens, my doctrine is that we must strike a very strong blow at the same point and ensure that there are zero successful actions for the enemy,” he said, referring to the IDF.