TEL AVIV – Supporters of ISIS in the Gaza Strip provided WND with a video they say proves they launched a rocket from the Gaza Strip that hit central Israel last week.
The video, with an ISIS flag on the upper left banner, shows a rocket and launcher burrowed in sand. The next scene contains footage of the rocket being launched followed by Arabic news reports about the attack.
Last week, WND was the first media outlet to report ISIS supporters claimed they were behind the rocket attack, citing a senior Salafist militant leader in Gaza.
Israeli defense officials surmised the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad may have been behind the attack as part of an internal dispute.
Tuesday, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, citing additional reporting from the Associated Press and Reuters, reported “supporters of Islamic State claimed responsibility for (a) rocket attack on Israel last week.”
The video, sent to WND by a senior Salafist leader tied to ISIS, was produced under the banner of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which represents ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula.
The authenticity of the rocket launch in the video as well as the ISIS allies’ claim of responsibility for the attack could not be immediately verified.
If the ISIS supporters were behind last week’s rocket attack on Israel, it would mark an escalation of the militant capabilities of ISIS-aligned ideologues in Gaza who oppose Hamas rule.
The ISIS allies in Gaza further provided WND with a statement about the attack.
“We declare our responsibility for the bombing of the occupied city of Ashdod with a ‘Grad’ missile at exactly nine o’clock in the evening on Tuesday. Thanks to Allah Almighty alone missile hit its target; the Jewish enemy confessed to a number of injuries as a result of terror.”
Contrary to the claim, there were no reports of any injuries from the rocket, which did not land in the strategic port city of Ashdod but in an open area outside the nearby town of Gan Yavne.
The ISIS ideologues see Hamas as pro-Western and believe the group sold out by holding elections and carrying out dialogue with members of the international community.
They may be seeking to embarrass Hamas and demonstrate their capabilities with the Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, the group that produced the video provided to WND, also released a statement on Sunday claiming responsibility for assassinating a senior Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip, leading to a major Hamas crackdown on ISIS supporters in Gaza.
The ISIS supporters today gave Hamas a 48-hour deadline to halt its crackdown on them. Hamas ignored the ultimatum and pressed ahead with its offensive, killing one militant, Youssef al-Hatar, 27, described as a locally known Salafist leader possibly affiliated with ISIS.