TEL AVIV – Abu Baker Almaqdesi, a radical Islamist who returned to his native Gaza after fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, claimed in an interview that IS-linked groups in Gaza and the Sinai have made a strategic decision to turn their arms against Israel.
Several groups, including the Mujahedeen’s Shura Council, the al-Qaida-inspired Army of Islam, Ahfad Alsahaba and “many others who adhere to Salafi jihad have recently decided that Israel declared war on the mujahedeen and, despite the war waged upon us by Hamas’ infidels and the Egyptian tyrant, we will continue to strike the Zionist enemy. They must know that our war of attrition has just begun.”
Late on Wednesday, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open field near the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon. No damage or injuries were reported.
“The mujahedeen fired the rocket that exploded in Ashkelon and will continue to fire, but our war against the Jews will not be limited to rockets,” he said. “The bodies of the mujahedeen will be used as a weapon too.”
He said he believes the rocket fire will continue even though Hamas had confiscated hundreds of projectiles in recent raids.
“The seized arsenal and the arrests won’t prevent the mujahedeen from acting,” he added. “Instead of the ones seized, we will manufacture more rockets. Our brothers are being arrested – and dozens and sometimes hundreds join us every day, despite the fact that Hamas acts as the Jews’ gatekeepers. We will know how to harm the Jewish occupation.”
Almaqdesi denied that the purpose of the rocket fire was to undermine Hamas by provoking Israel to strike them.
“These calculations are beyond us,” he said. “We don’t think about political gains because this is not the way we act. We don’t look up to form the government and are not after power and authority. All we want is to impose Sharia, and Hamas prevents us from doing it. En-route to imposing Sharia, the mujahedeen are being arrested, tortured, and killed, and we do it for Allah, and not for any other consideration. These considerations are good for democracy, which is not what we’re after.”
On Thursday, Israeli forces shelled Hamas positions after IDF troops came under fire during a patrol at the Gaza border.