ISIS Style Flags Aloft at Arab Teen’s Funeral, Signs of Bloodthirsty Terror Outfit Growing in Palestinian Territories
Growing signs of the presence of bloodthirsty terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have emerged in the West Bank and Gaza in recent days including on the Temple Mount, according to multiple reports.
On Friday, as throngs marched through the streets of Jerusalem neighborhood Shuafat for the funeral of murdered Arab teen Mohammad Abu Khdair, ISIS style black flags were aloft, Jerusalem Post editor Seth Frantzman reported on Twitter, posting an accompanying picture of the scene.
The bloodthirsty terror group has gained prominence in recent months for capturing large swaths of western Iraq after three years of fighting in the ongoing Syrian civil war. ISIS has developed a reputation for particular brutality including beheadings, mass murder and crucifixions.
Last week, its flags were seen aloft at the Gaza funeral of an Islamist militant targeted by Israel in an airstrike for his involvement in launching rockets at the Jewish state.
At the time, analysts said this was the first such open sign of local support for the group. Israel’s Ma’ariv daily reported that Israeli and other western intelligence services have warned that the group’s influence is spreading and may have set down roots in the coastal enclave.
Also on Friday, Jerusalem Post Arab affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh reported in the Gatestone Institute that “despite denials by Hamas, there is growing evidence that the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] — also known as ‘The Islamic State’ — has begun operating in the Gaza Strip.”
“Palestinian Authority [PA] and Israeli security sources are convinced that followers of ISIS in the Gaza Strip are responsible for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel,” the reporter said. “Hamas, they say, seems to be losing control over the dozens of terror cells belonging to ISIS and other jihadi groups.”
Abu Toameh also said that earlier this year, masked militiamen in the Gaza Strip posted a video on YouTube in which they declared their allegiance to ISIS. The militiamen, he said, are believed to have been operating in Gaza for the past few years.
Earlier this month, shortly after three Israeli teens were abducted on June 12, flyers signed by ISIS claiming responsibility for the kidnapping were circulated near Hebron, and Reuters’ Jerusalem bureau fielded a call from Dawlat al-Islam, an ISIS branch operating in the area. The caller claimed responsibility for the kidnappings and said the incident was in retaliation for the killing of three of its members, Fox News contributor Lisa Daftari reported at the time on her blog.
Israel’s government later fingered Hamas for the abduction of the teens whose bodies were discovered on Monday in a shallow grave south of Jerusalem.
On the Temple Mount, a photograph recently submitted to The Algemeiner shows an ISIS banner posted high up on one of the outer walls of the Dome of the Rock building, possibly a sign of the group’s presence right near Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall.
Arab affairs specialist Dr. Michael Widlanski, a professor at Bar Ilan University, told The Algemeiner of the poster that “it is important to pay attention to signs like this, even though we do not know the extent of such feeling.”
“It could be like just one person writing graffiti. Still, it is clear that especially in tough and authoritarian neighborhoods, nothing succeeds like success. ISIS is succeeding,” Widlanski said. “Its forces have conquered a remarkable swath of territory in Syria and Iraq and have decreed a new caliphate, modeling themselves after the early ‘true’ caliphate of the first four successors to Muhammad. That was an aggressive and expansionist caliphate, not a model for moderate Islam.”
“Israel lives in the rough neighborhood bordered by Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq—all of which have been involved in wars against Israel,” he said. “In all of them, there is dramatic foment by what we might call salafi Sunni movements close to the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda or ISIS and the like, as well as by extreme Shiite movements that are closer to Iran. These extreme movements feel they have the right to employ terror to ‘cleanse’ Islam from within, killing or throwing out non-Muslim foreigners and—even more importantly to them—Muslims who have strayed from the path.”