May 28, 2024 | FDD's Long War Journal

Al-Qaeda’s general command lauds attacks against Jews, commends anti-Israel protests on Western campuses

May 28, 2024 | FDD's Long War Journal

Al-Qaeda’s general command lauds attacks against Jews, commends anti-Israel protests on Western campuses

A recent statement released by al-Qaeda’s general command – which is a term it uses to to denote its central leadership – praised and endorsed attacks against “Zionists” in response to the war in the Gaza Strip. Al-Qaeda also noted and appreciated anti-Israel protests and campus sit-ins happening in Western countries.

“We were happy, and every Muslim was happy, with these revenge attacks and operations carried out by the youth of the Islamic nation, especially the heroes of the revenge action in the land of Canaan,” the communique states.

The statement then comments that “we call on the youth of our nation to follow this blessed path…outpace them with the number of operations and the force of strikes and to fill the hearts of the children of Zion with terror in retaliation for the blood of our oppressed people in Gaza.”

Continuing its praise, al-Qaeda’s senior command states, “While we support the assassination of the infidel Zionists and the beheading of them, we also appreciate and value the movement of Western demonstrators and sit-in students from Western universities, who through their sit-ins and protests expressed their rejection of the genocide taking place in Gaza…”

Like other Middle East terrorist organizations and their ilk, al-Qaeda has recognized that anti-Israel protests, including those on Western campuses, have had a positive effect on the global jihad movement against Jews and Israel.

Despite their differences in ideology and tactics, terrorist groups like HamasHezbollah, and now al-Qaeda are praising the protests, which are often organized by movements that are considered heretical by these organizations.

Nevertheless, al-Qaeda and other groups are seizing the opportunity created by the widespread protests to rally their respective organizations and possibly co-opt naive Westerners to their cause [See: Bin Laden TikTok].

Al-Qaeda’s statement goes on to praise and draws parallels with the actions of an obscure Egyptian group called “Vanguards of Liberation Group for the Martyr Muhammed Salah,” which had recently taken credit for the assassination of an Israeli businessman in Alexandria on May 7, allegedly in retaliation for Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip.

“You have an inevitable legal duty, which is jihad and fighting like the Vanguards of Liberation Group for the Martyr Muhammed Salah. May God strike them in the throats of the Zionists. Let the people of Islam be encouraged to create groups that master the art of disciplining Jews, Americans, and those who are allied with them.”

While this apparent organization, “Vanguards of Liberation Group for the Martyr Muhammed Salah,” claimed responsibility for the attack and disseminated a video purportedly showing the murder of the Israeli businessman, some doubts about the authenticity of the claim have emerged.

Before releasing the video, the group had posted a still image of the attack on its Telegram channel, which showed the gunman holding a pistol and wearing white gloves on both hands. In contrast, the video released later showed the gunman wearing only one glove on his left hand. This discrepancy raises questions about the validity of the claim and the actual events that unfolded.

This is the second time that al-Qaeda’s general command has published a statement relating to Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led terrorist attack. Last Nov., al-Qaeda called for attacks against Israeli, European, and U.S. interests around the world.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

Issues:

Al Qaeda Egypt Israel Jihadism