TEL AVIV – In an audio message released on the Internet on Saturday, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-declared Islamic State, threatened Israel while taunting the “Crusader” West for failing to launch a ground campaign against his terrorist organization.
“Crusaders and Jews don’t dare to come on the ground because they were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Baghdadi stated in the 23-minute recording.
Baghdadi vowed the establishment of an IS caliphate in Israel. “Jews, soon you shall hear from us in Palestine which will become your grave,” he said.
“The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it,” continued Baghdadi. “Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it. … The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day.”
“God caused the Jews of the world to gather in Israel, and the war against them has become easy. It is the obligation of every Muslim to carry out jihad,” he declared.
“Jews, you will not enjoy in Palestine. God has gathered you in Palestine so that the Mujahadeen can reach you soon and you will hide by the rock and the tree. Palestine will be your graveyard,” he said.
In the wake of the formation of a Saudi-led coalition to fight IS, Baghdadi called on Saudi citizens to rise up against the kingdom. He went on to mock the coalition: “If it was an Islamic coalition, it would have declared itself free from its Jewish and Crusader lords, and made the killing of the Jews and the liberation of Palestine its goal.”
The IS leader brushed off Western-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. “Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets.”
Baghdadi was said to have been seriously injured in an airstrike in October. His voice could not immediately be authenticated.
The threats against Israel come as Breitbart Jerusalem reported on Friday that Palestinian Authority security organizations are on heightened alert in and around Bethlehem, fearing the Islamic State could launch terrorist attacks targeting Christian tourists or sites over the next few days.
There have been reports that support for IS is rising in the Palestinian territories, especially the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Last month, Breitbart Jerusalem published images of what jihadists say is an IS training camp in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. According to the Gazan jihadist who provided the photos, scores of Gazan militants received training at the IS camp, which he said was run by the Sinai-based IS-affiliated Al-Wilayat group.
One of the most significant aspects of the camp is its Gaza-centric imagery. One image shows a sign bearing the name of Sheikh Imam Abu Noor al-Maqdisi, aka Sheikh Abdul Latif Musa. Maqdisi was the leader of a Salafist group in Gaza that proclaimed the formation of an “Islamic Emirate of Gaza” on August 14, 2009. One day later he was killed by Hamas forces.
In May, Hamas engaged in deadly clashes with IS supporters who challenged Hamas rule.
In July, the Information Bureau of the Aleppo Province, affiliated with IS, released a video entitled “A message to our folks in Jerusalem,” in which IS members originally from Gaza declared war on Israel and Hamas.
In the video, IS member and Gaza native Abu Azzam Al-Ghazzawim delivered a strongly-worded warning to what he called the “tyrants of Hamas”:
“You are nothing in our reckoning. You, Fatah, and all the secularists, we count you as nothing. Allah willing, we shall uproot the state of the Jews. You are nothing but froth that will be gone as we move in. Allah willing, Gaza will be governed by Shariah despite you.”
Abu Qatadah Al-Filistini, an IS member who leads a faction in Aleppo, Syria, made an appearance in the video and called on all “monotheists in Gaza to join the convoy of the Muhajidin and to join the State of the Caliphate.”
Abu Qatadah accused Hamas of “sliding gradually into apostasy, a slide that started with the demolition of the Ibn Taymiyah Mosque.”
“It is a movement that does not seek to govern according to Shariah but seeks to appease Iran and America, the heads of apostasy.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. 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.