Since the start of the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda inspired terrorist organization based in Syria and Iraq, has used its media prowess to release a stream of threats against Israel while explaining to supporters that ISIS is currently unable to actively fight against Israel.
In the second issue of ISIS’s English language magazine Dabiq, released July 27, 2014, it clearly explained this position, while wasting no words in espousing its intentions against Israel:
“As for the massacres taking place in Gaza against the Muslim men, women, and children…” read the magazine’s forward, “the Islamic State will do everything within its means to continue striking down every apostate who stands as an obstacle on its path towards Palestine. It is not the manner of the Islamic State to throw empty, dry, and hypocritical words of condemnation and condolences like the Arab tawāghīt do in the UN and Arab League. Rather, its actions speak louder than its words and it is only a matter of time and patience before it reaches Palestine to fight the barbaric jews (sic) and kill those of them hiding behind the gharqad trees – the trees of the jews (sic).”
The mention of gharqad trees refers to a hadith, a statement attributed to Mohammed, sometimes cited by extremists as an order to kill Jews.
Although threats against Israel make up a small portion of ISIS’s overall rhetoric, they are an ongoing element of the group’s overall messaging. Official ISIS media accounts included a number of graphics last month threatening Israel. Several similar graphics have been posted since, including an image of missiles pointing upward with the caption “The Islamic State pounds the Zionist entity with rockets and will continue hitting their fortresses with a bloody clap that will worry them. We will raise the disgrace with our hands and with all our strength we will push them back.”
Pro-ISIS Twitter accounts have also regularly reposted statements from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Ansar Jerusalem), a terrorist group based in Gaza and the Sinai that has proclaimed allegiance to ISIS. These have included statements of support as well as videos of attacks against Israel claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.
Semi-official pro-ISIS Twitter accounts have added to the threats as well. For example, “The Light Series,” a group that distributes pro-ISIS videos to YouTube that has received high levels of acclaim from ISIS members and supporters online, has shared images of allegedly Palestinian children dressed as Hamas militants and a poster depicting a quote from Osama bin Laden saying, “Their rejection of Hamas after it had won the election confirms that there is a Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims.”
Similarly, the Twitter account “Prophet’s Khilafa,” an unofficial ISIS account that claims to be “dedicated to spreading the news of the Islamic State to the English speaking audience,” has posted images of destruction in Gaza and a series of posters depicting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as “Jews after emancipation involved in slave trade, women trafficking and prostitution.”
Individual supporters are also adding to the chorus. One image in particular depicts ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (now calling himself Caliph Ibrahim) standing in front of an ISIS flag and a pile of ruins, while the Dome of the Rock mosque (and in some versions also the Al Aqsa mosque) shine in the background. Posted on July 9th and in modified form on July 11th, the images have been shared on a number of pro-ISIS accounts.