JERUSALEM – One of the deadliest terrorist organizations in the world maintains an official Twitter account, which it has been using to spread propaganda against Israel while working, in its own words, to “evoke the spirit of Jihad.”
The Al Qassam Brigades, the so-called military wing of Hamas, sends out numerous English language updates on its Twitter account, @AlqassamBrigade, with most of the tweets linking to the terror group’s official English website, qassam.ps.
The profile of the Twitter account reads: “The official website of Al Qassam Brigades in Palestine. Gaza, Palestine, www.qassam.ps.”
The website, qassam.ps, does not disguise its militant agenda. Its mission statement says: “The Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades works to evoke the spirit of Jihad (resistance) amongst Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.”
The Twitter account has been used to spread anti-Israel propaganda.
Just yesterday, one tweet claimed that Israel was planting “fake Jewish graves south of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem” in a bid to ultimately take over the mosque.
Last week, the Twitter account linked to a qassam.ps article that refers to Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, as “the Israeli War minister.”
On May 17, the Al Qassam Brigades tweeted, “Breaking News: Israeli occupation forces opens fire at Palestinian farmers in north Gaza Strip, many injuries reported among farmers.”
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces denied any such activity.
The spokesman said the only incident on May 17 was when the army opened fire on terrorists who approached the Gaza Strip security fence to place explosives. The IDF did not identify any hits, but the gunfire worked to disburse the terrorists, said the spokesman.
The claim that the Israeli army targeted farmers is particularly egregious since the IDF’s Civil Administration last week held a three-day seminar for West Bank and Gaza officials from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. Israeli experts at the seminar taught the Palestinian agricultural engineers the latest in farm technologies, plant protection and use of fertilizers.
Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigade, meanwhile, is on the State Department’s official list of terrorist organizations.
The group is responsible for some of the most deadly and infamous terrorist attacks in Israeli history, including the suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover eve that killed 30 and injured 140; a 2001 suicide bombing at Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem killing 15 and wounding 130; and the 2001 suicide bombing of Tel Aviv’s Dolphinarium nightclub in which 21 were killed and 120 were injured.
The Brigade is also responsible for scores of recent shootings and rocket attacks on Israeli civilian population centers. It participated in the 2006 kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Ashley Rindsberg, a blogger for the Times of Israel, first noticed the terror group’s Twitter account yesterday, when he says Twitter itself recommended that he follow the account.
Twitter regularly generates automatic suggestions of accounts for each individual user to join.
“To my surprise (and disgust) while searching for new streams on Twitter, a handle called @AlqassamBrigade was suggested to me by the social media platform,” wrote Rindsberg in a blog post.