The Gaza-based al-Qaida-inspired militant group Ajnad Beit Almaqdes (Soldiers of Jerusalem) claimed responsibility for Wednesday night’s rocket fire on Israel, which triggered an Israel Air Force retaliation.
The organization made clear they fired the rocket in part because of Hamas’s clampdown on Salafi jihadists in Gaza. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all Gaza rocket fire, and yesterday retaliated against Hamas targets in Gaza. One rocket was fired into Israel late Wednesday night.
The rocket fire came as part of the “duty of jihad to Allah and against the Jews,” the group said in a statement.
“The fire onto the Jews at this time comes as a warning against a potential conflagration which will be a direct result of the shameful behavior of Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip,” the group also said, seeming to reveal their true motive.
“They broke into houses of mujahideen of jihadi-Salafi convictions and arrested them. Therefore, our sages at home and abroad instructed us to turn against the Jews, and we call on all the Salafi organizations to do the same.
“We wish to avoid a dangerous deterioration into factional violence, which is where the oppression of the forces is taking us. The Salafist faction has done its utmost to avoid confrontation, despite being subjected to arrests, persecution, torture, and confiscation of weapons throughout Hamas’ rule in the Strip.”
Over the past few weeks, Hamas has stepped up its anti-Salafi measures, most likely due to recent understandings with the Egyptian government. Hamas has at the same time beefed up patrols along the Gaza-Egypt border in an attempt to prevent the passage of jihadi warriors into Sinai.