TEL AVIV – 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, a leading Islamic State-allied militant claimed in an exclusive interview.
Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, a Salafist movement senior official in the Gaza Strip, made the claim in a pre-recorded, hour-long interview to air in full on Sunday on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” the popular weekend talk radio program broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM in Philadelphia. Klein doubles as Breitbart’s senior investigative reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief.
Ansari is a well-known Gaza Salafist jihadist allied with Islamic State ideology. During the interview with Klein, 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.
Klein asked Ansari about IS’s capabilities inside Israel.
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.
The Jerusalem Post, which also reported on Klein’s interview, noted 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.