Is al Qaeda Establishing a Foothold in Sinai?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

This, from Aaron Zelin at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is not happy news:

Yesterday, a new group called Majlis Shura al-Mujahedin Fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis (the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, or MSC) announced itself, issuing two statements and a video martyrdom message from the attackers, Abu Salah al-Masri and Abu Hadhifa al-Hidhali. Both men were killed by Israeli security forces following the attack, and a senior MSC member was killed by an Israeli airstrike near Rafah today.

The choice of non-Palestinians to conduct the attacks could be part of a conscious effort to establish the Sinai as a new base of jihad operations, providing an opportunity for all Muslims -- not just Palestinians -- to fight Israel. And the MSC's credentials are enhanced by the fact that its statements and video were first posted on al-Qaeda's official jihadist forum, Shamukh al-Islam, by an organization called Ibn Taymiyya Media, a Palestinian global jihadist media outlet most closely associated with imprisoned cleric Sheikh Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi and his followers.


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/is-al-qaeda-establishing-a-foothold-in-sinai/258786/