TEL AVIV – Wednesday’s rocket fire on the Israeli resort city of Eilat was “a natural reaction” to alleged Israeli involvement with the Egyptian army’s clampdown on Sinai militants, Abu Baker Almaqdesi, a Gaza-based jihadist who fought for the Islamic State, told Breitbart Jerusalem in an interview.
Late on Wednesday, four rockets were launched toward the southern city, three of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. No damage or injuries were reported. Earlier on Thursday, the Islamic State Sinai Province posted an online statement taking credit for the rocket salvo aimed at Eilat.
Almaqdisi previously fought for IS in Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq, where he says he was injured.
Without offering evidence, Almaqdesi claimed that in recent days Israel Air Force drones have taken part in raids on chapters of Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate. Some of the casualties, he claimed, were Gazans.
Breitbart Jerusalem submitted a request to the Israel Defense Forces for comment on the allegations of drone strikes in the Sinai.
Using anti-Semitic language, Almaqdesi, who spoke to Breitbart Jerusalem in Arabic, claimed that “the Jewish entity” – referring to Israel – “never stopped assisting the Egyptian army of infidels in their war against the mujahedeen, and tonight’s salvo on Umm Rashrash [Eilat’s Arabic name] was a natural reaction to those crimes.”
The jihadist claimed the Eilat rocket attack wasn’t a precedent. “Earlier this month, we fired at the Elojah crossing [between Egypt and Israel]. Our brothers are determined to continue to react to the crimes of the Jews, and we’ll continue to launch rockets at Israel despite their airborne operations and despite the strain of the Egyptian army of infidels.”
Almaqdesi claimed that only three days ago, an Israeli drone fired at a house in the Egyptian Sinai, which happened to be empty and therefore no injuries were caused.
“The Jewish enemy continues its attack on the mujahedeen and innocent civilians, so they should anticipate more from our brothers the Sinai mujahedeen.”
Asked whether they plan large-scale attacks on Israel, Almaqdesi said: “It’s the decision of the brothers in the leadership, but it is clear to all that the Jewish entity is just one player in the war on Islam. Though a major one. Therefore, no option is off the table. It’s true that the Jewish police arrest our mujahedeen even inside Palestine and the forces of the treacherous collaborator Abu Mazen do it too, and even those who are falsely called Muslims in Gaza fight against us. But our organization proved that we could strike anywhere in the world. I can tell you that our weapons are now aimed at Israel more than ever before.”
The Islamic State Sinai Province on Thursday released a statement taking credit the Eilat rocket attack: “A military squad fired a number of Grad rockets at communities of Jewish usurpers in the town of Eilat.”
The group said the rocket attacks were meant “to teach the Jews and the crusaders a proxy war will not avail them of anything.”
“The future will be more calamitous with Allah’s permission,” the statement said.
In a news-making interview last March, Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, a Salafist movement senior official in the Gaza Strip allied with IS, threatened that 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.
Ansari was speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” He has since been arrested by Hamas and is reportedly in a jail in the Gaza Strip.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.