On Nov. 21, an audio speech from Abdullah Jihad al Ashqar (Abu al Muhtasib al Maqdisi), a media official for Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, was released to jihadist forums. The speech, titled "A Message of Greetings to the Defiant Hands," was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem is one of at least two groups that make up the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC). On Oct. 13, the Israeli Air Force killed Abu al Walid al Maqdisi, the former emir of the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, and Ashraf al Sabah, the former emir of Ansar al Sunnah, in an airstrike. The two men were said to be leaders of the MSC.
In the speech, al Ashqar praised the Salafi jihadist groups operating in the Gaza Strip and Sinai for their recent efforts fighting Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense. He specifically directed his praise toward the MSC, Ansar Jerusalem, the Army of Islam, and the Army of the Ummah. "They spared no effort in directing the strikes against the Jews despite the primitive equipment and lack of capability," al Ashqar said.
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