Palestinian Terror Group Claims Credit for Arizona Wildfires

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A Palestinian jihadist group, Masada al-Mujahideen, claimed credit for the continuing wildfires in Arizona in a statement posted to jihadist forums.

The statement, titled "Masada al-Mujahideen Fulfilled its Promise and Attacked America Again After the Expiration of the Period with Fires that Achieved Historic Results," was obtained and translated by the Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Intelligence Group. The group  tracks the online activities of terrorist organizations.

"We had previously announced an unconventional war against the occupation state of Israel, and then we escalated this war to reach its main supporter, America, so that it receives a major share of it, which will destroy their flora and fauna, with permission from Allah and then with our hands," the group said.

The statement further said that the group targeted the United States "in order to make it clear and to make it known that we can reach it when we warn it, and to make it certain that our hands don't just reach it but also strike it."

The group warned that the attacks "will not be the last, if America does not respond to our demands." The statement boasted that 19 firefighters had been killed in the fires.

As reported by the Clarion Project, al-Qaeda groups were responsible for setting fires in various European countries less than a year ago, according to Russian intelligence.

The summer 2012 issue of Inspire, the online propaganda magazine run by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, devoted 11 pages to starting forest fires in NATO countries, including instructions.

"Fire is one of the soldiers of Allah," it said. "Imagine that, after all the damage is caused, if a jihad organization were to take responsibility for the forest fires. You can imagine the dread it would cause people in the United States, Europe, Russia and Australia."

The statement by the Palestinian terror group was not the first claim by the group related to fires in the US. In January 2012, the group claimed credit for wildfires in Nevada.

According to SITE, in addition to claiming responsibility for fires in the US, the jihadist group has claimed credit for more than a dozen fires in Israel since 2010.

Masada al-Mujahideen was established in 2008 and appointed as its leader Abu Omar al-Ansari. The terror group has claimed numerous attacks against Israel, including rocket and mortar attacks.

In May 2011, Masada al-Mujahideen eulogized Osama bin Laden immediately after he was killed by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan. "Although Sheikh Osama has been killed, his creed will not be killed, and the whole Ummah, Allah willing, is Osama bin Laden. We do not say that as hyperbole, for you see with your own eyes and acknowledge with your own mouths that most of the jihadi groups in the world have come to follow his example, method and creed," the group said in a statement that was translated by SITE.

Masada al-Mujahideen also eulogized Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a top al-Qaeda leader who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan, in August 2011. "He was truly one of the well-known people of jihad and a bright star in the sky of knowledge," the group said in a statement translated by SITE. In addition, the group issued a eulogy for al-Qaeda's Abu Yahya al-Libi in September 2012. Al-Libi was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Mir Ali in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan in 2012.

Following the deaths in October 2012 of Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi and Ashraf al-Sabah, the two leaders of the Mujahideen Shura Council, the group threatened to carry out attacks against Israel.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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