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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gaza jihadist group praises Ansar Jerusalem fighters, calls for more attacks -- By David Barnett, The Long War Journal

In a statement released to jihadist forums on March 16, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) issued a eulogy for Tawfiq Mohammed Freij and Mohamed al Sayed Mansour al Toukhi. Al Toukhi and Freij were members of the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) who were killed on March 11 in two separate incidents.

In the statement, the MSC called on Allah to have mercy on the two jihadists "and accept them among the ranks of the martyrs," according to a translation by Oren Adaki, a Research Associate at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Freij was praised as an "intrepid man" who played a key role in the jihad in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. "He was among the pioneers" and "made the Jews weep and the apostates fear," the MSC's statement said.

As for al Toukhi, the MSC praised him for "making the tyrants" suffer. In addition, the jihadist group lauded al Toukhi for firing on Egyptian security forces when they came to arrest him last week.

The MSC's statement concluded by urging "our brothers in Ansar Bayt al Maqdis to have more patience and endurance." "Continue your journey and aim your strikes to hit the economy and tourism, for by striking these two the tyrants will wither and recede," the Gaza-based jihadist group declared.

Ansar Jerusalem, which has primarily targeted security-related sites, has previously said that it is waging an economic war against the current regime in Cairo. At least three South Korean tourists and an Egyptian civilian were killed when an Ansar Jerusalem suicide bomber targeted a tourist bus in the South Sinai city of Taba on Feb. 16. On Jan. 19, the Sinai-based jihadist group took credit for a gas pipeline bombing in the Sinai and warned the Egyptian army and those cooperating with it that the group's fighters would continue to target their economic interests in response to army operations in the Sinai that have destroyed homes as well as farms, among other offenses.

The March 16 statement marks at least the second time that the MSC, which has operated out of Gaza and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, has commented on the death of Ansar Jerusalem fighters. In August 2013, the group issued a statement in support of Ansar Jerusalem following the death of four of the group's fighters. The MSC followed this with a rocket attack from the Sinai toward Eilat.

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