The video released Monday shows jihadis from the group known as Islamic State in Sinai, or Wilayat Sinai, vowing to target Israel in the near future and conquer Rome.
While the video entitled “Desert Flame” mainly portrays footage of purported violence targeting Egyptian military targets, the narrator in the video invoked the memory of past attacks in the Sinai region as examples of attacks that will continue to target Westerners.
“This is only the beginning, and our meeting [will be] in Rome and Beit Al-Maqdis [Jerusalem],” the video’s narrator was quoted as saying, according to a translation by the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI).
“Oh Jews, wait for us. The punishment [we have prepared for you] is severe and soon you will pay a high price,” threatens the narrator.
The video highlights the growing importance of the Sinai in the IS infrastructure as the terror group has suffered major setbacks in Syria and Iraq.
Last month it was reported that in recent years Israel has conducted numerous drone strikes with Cairo’s blessing on terrorists operating in the Egyptian Sinai, according to a former senior Israeli official who spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity.
Last November, Breitbart Jerusalem published exclusive images of what jihadists say was an IS training camp in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula where some Gazan terrorists took part in training.
In July, Breitbart Jerusalemreported that Hamas arrested six jihadists who returned from fighting for IS in Sinai.
The six, who returned to Gaza separately, were sent by IS’s Sinai franchise to review the feasibility of setting up an IS chapter in the Strip that would attempt to unify all currently active Salafi organizations under the banner of IS, a Hamas official said.
The Sinai has become one of the region’s top IS zones. Breitbart Jerusalemreported that, in the month of April alone, 12 jihadists departed Gaza to join the Islamic State in the Sinai.
Speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” in May, a leading Islamic State-allied militant claimed 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.
Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari is a well-known Gaza Salafist jihadist allied with Islamic State ideology. During the interview, 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.
Ansari was asked about IS’s capabilities inside Israel. He replied:
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.
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.