Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The global jihad-affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for firing rockets from south Lebanon into the western Galilee on August 22.

The Twitter account of the Salafist Lebanese sheikh Siraj al-Din Zariqat, a senior figure in the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in Lebanon.
1. On August 22, 2013, two barrages of two rockets each were fired into the western Galilee. Two landed in Israeli population centers, one in an open area and one was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. There were no casualties but property damage was reported. It was the first incidence of rocket fire from south Lebanon in two years.
2. Responsibility for the attacks was attributed by sheikh Zariqat to the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a global jihad organization with ties to Al-Qaeda, which has a branch in Lebanon (See Appendix A for information about the organization and its Lebanese branch). However, the Lebanese government condemned the rocket fire and the Lebanese foreign minister claimed that those who carried out were trying to drag Lebanon into a confrontation with Israel. Hezbollah did not issue a formal comment.

3. Since the Second Lebanon War there have been eight instances of rocket fire targeting Israel, most of them directed against communities in the western and eastern Galilee. In our assessment at least some of the rockets were fired by Lebanese networks affiliated with global jihad, including the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an organization established in 2009. In our assessment the recent rocket fire was motivated by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades' desire to challenge Hezbollah (which has shown restraint along the Israeli-Lebanese border) by provoking Israel. It can be assumed that their motivation increased recently following Hezbollah's military involvement in the Syrian civil war on the side of the Syrian regime, its victory in the campaign for Al-Qusayr and the leaking of the confrontation between the Sunni jihadists in Syria and Shi'ite Hezbollah into the Lebanese arena.
Rocket Fire – The Situation on the Ground (as of August 25, 2013)
4. At 16:30 and 16:45 hours on the afternoon of August 22, 2013, four rockets were fired from the western sector of south Lebanon attacking Israeli population centers in the western Galilee. According to the claim of responsibility issued, they were medium-range rockets (40 kilometers, or about 25 miles). The Lebanese media reported that the rockets had been launched in two separate barrages from orange groves between the village of Al-Hush and the Rashidiya refugee camp in south Lebanon (Al-Jadeed TV, August 22, 2013).
5. Two rockets fell in Israeli communities in the western Negev (see pictures), a third fell in an open area and the forth was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system deployed in northern Israel. There were no casualties, with the exception of four civilians who were treated for shock, but seven buildings and three cars were damaged (Haaretz, August 23, 2013). One of the rockets hit Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and damaged several buildings and cars. Another hit a guest home for Holocaust survivors in the communal settlement of Shavei Zion (Ynet, August 23, 2013)
The rockets fired south of Tyre in the attack on the western Galilee ( and websites, August 22, 2013)
The rockets fired south of Tyre in the attack on the western Galilee ( and websites, August 22, 2013)
Claim of Responsibility
6. The Twitter account of the Salafist-jihadi Lebanese sheikh Siraj al-Din Zariqat reported that the Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades were responsible for the rocket fire (See Appendix A). According to the announcement, the rockets had a range of more than 40 kilometers, or 25 miles, meaning that the responsibility of the "Iranian party" [i.e., Hezbollah] for "guarding the Jews" would become difficult. That is because with such rockets the jihad fighters would be able to reach Haifa and the other "strategic areas" of the Jewish enemy (Twitter account of sheikh Siraj al-Din name, August 22, 2013).
7. According to the Lebanese media, sheikh Siraj al-Din Zariqat is a senior figure in the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in Lebanon (Al-Akhbar, August 14, 2013). He is one of the preachers who deliver the Friday prayers in the mosques in Beirut, belongs to the Dar al-Fatwa Institution (a Sunni religious institution under the control of the Mufti of Lebanon) and supports the revolt against the Syrian regime. In the past he was detained and is closely monitored by Lebanese intelligence (YouTube, August 8 2013).
IDF Response
8. In response to the rocket fire on August 23, 2013, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck a terrorist target south of Beirut. A direct hit was reported (IDF spokesman, August 23, 2013). The target, located in the region of Al-Naameh south of Beirut, is a base belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), a Syrian-oriented Palestinian terrorist organization headed by Ahmed Jibril. However, according to the Lebanese media, there were no casualties and no damage was reported (Al-Nashra New Agency, Lebanon, August 23, 2013).
9. Hezbollah condemned the IAF attack, claiming it "showed the enemy's evil intentions toward Lebanon" (Website of the Lebanese Resistance [Hezbollah], August 24, 2013).
Reactions in Lebanon
10. So far Hezbollah had not formally issued a reaction to the rocket fire. Hassan Fadlallah, a Hezbollah member of the Lebanese parliament, claimed that Hezbollah had no connection or information about the rocket fire from south Lebanon into northern Israel. However, he added that Hezbollah did not condemn any action directed at the Israeli enemy (Al-Ahed, August 22, 2013).
11. The Lebanese government strongly condemned the rocket fire, claiming that its objective was to drag Lebanon into a confrontation with Israel:
1) Michel Suleiman, Lebanese president, condemned the rocket fire and demanded the exposure of those responsible. He said it was a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and violated Lebanon's sovereignty (Al-Nashra News Agency, Lebanon, August 22, 2013).
2) Adnan Mansour, the Lebanese foreign minister, accused the terrorist operatives who launched the rockets of trying to drag Lebanon into a confrontation with Israel (Al-Nashra News Agency, Lebanon, August 22, 2013).
3) Tammam Salam, nominated as Lebanon's next prime minister, condemned the rocket fire, describing it as "questionable." He said it was liable to harm Lebanon and set it on a path that would lead to Israeli aggression (Al-Nashra News Agency, Lebanon, August 22, 2013).
12. The UNIFIL force in Lebanon issued a condemnation following the attack. Major-General Paolo Serra, commander of the force, said it endangered the local civilian population. He said it only proved that there were people who wanted to violate the regional calm and endanger the success of the Lebanese army and UNIFIL in recent years in preserving the tranquility. He added that UNIFIL strongly condemned the attack (Mivzaklive website, August 23, 2013).

No comments: