Al Qaeda-Affiliated Group Claims Responsibility for Rocket Attack on Israel

Organization also claimed Israel working with Hezbollah to defeat Syrian rebels

A missile used to attack Israel by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades
August 28, 2013

An al Qaeda-affiliated group in Lebanon has claimed responsibility for last week’s terror attack on Israel, according to a newly released statement from the group.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, named after Osama bin Laden’s mentor, released a statement in Arabic late Monday claiming official ownership of the four rockets launched into Israeli territory on Thursday of last week.

"This operation comes within the series of our jihadi work directed at the Jews," read a translation the terrorist group’s statement, which was accompanied by several tweets from group member Sirajuddin Zureiqat, who posted photos of the rockets shot into northern Israel.

Zureiqat—whose Twitter bio read, "Mujahid for the sake of Allah, I ask Allah to accept" —tweeted out two time-stampedphotos on Tuesday of the rockets that he claims landed in two Israeli cities.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades alleged that the Jewish state is secretly working with the terror group Hezbollah to fight against Syrian rebels.

This accusation is a sign that Syria’s civil war continues to fracture various jihadi groups along religious-ethnic lines.

"Israel, Iran, and Hezbollah maintain ‘a strategic alliance in the region and common interests,’" the statement read, according to the Long War Journal.

These unlikely partners are working together to destroy the Syrian rebellion and prop up President Bashar al Assad, the terror group claimed.

The three nations have undermined the rebels through actions that "are extremely flagrant and some of which are managed in secrecy," according to the group’s statement.

"The Jews along with Western states are providing ‘cover’ to the Assad regime and have given Hezbollah a ‘green light’ to fight in Syria with the hopes of preserving Israel's security," the Journal reported.

The Aug. 22 attack on Israel caused damage but no casualties and prompted a fierce response from the Israeli Air Force, which struck a "terror site located between Beirut and Sidon," according to a statement by the Israeli military.

Militant Zureigat stated in a tweet after the attack that the group’s rockets can travel "more than 40km, meaning that the responsibility of Iran's party [Hezbollah] in guarding the Jews will become a difficult mission."

Israel said that it held Lebanon officially responsible for the terror group’s attack.

The Azzam Brigades, which is a U.S.-designated terror group, went on to criticize Hezbollah directly and promise religious recompense for its actions on behalf of Assad, who has been primarily supported from Iran.

Hezbollah’s military action will bring it "closer to the fire of the mujahideen and more exposed in front of them," according to the statement.

The terror group, which has attacked Israel in the past, added that the city of Haifa "should be adorned with its fanciest coffins to receive our rockets."

Syria’s civil war has created a schism between Iran and major terror groups, experts said.

"Numerous jihadi groups have denounced Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in the Syrian civil war," David Barnett, a research associate at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon. "This includes the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which openly supports the uprising against Assad."

In fact, many of the Abdullah Azzam’s recent statements "denounce Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in the Syria conflict, but the group remains hostile to Israel, too," Barnett said. "In one instance, the group offered to help jihadists in the Palestinian territories in addition to pledging to continue attacks against Israel."

The al Qaeda group’s founder, Saleh al Qarawi, opened up about terrorism in an interview flagged by the Long War Journal.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades "are not confined to Lebanon but there are targets that our fires will reach Allah‐willing in the near future," Qarawi said in the interview. "The Brigades are formed of a number of groups that are spread in numerous places."

"We rushed to create these groups and announced them because of the urgency of the battle with the Jews and the priority of the initiative at the time and the place, but the rest of the groups are outside Lebanon," he said.

The group’s ability to continue launching rockets on Israel is a sign that al Qaeda, while dispersed throughout the region, is still well armed and committed to its extremist dogma.

As the situation in Syria spirals out of control following Assad’s reported use of chemical weapons, terror groups of all stripes have amassed in and around the country.

The United States is currently considering military action, leading to concerns that a possible strike will spark a proxy war between Iran, Israel, and the West.

Published under: Israel , Middle East , Syria