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      Gaza-Based Salafi Group Launched Rockets at Israel

      A Salafi Islamist group affiliated with Al Qaeda launched Sunday's Grad rocket attack at southern Israel from Gaza.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 8/28/2011, 1:48 PM

      A radical Salafi Islamist group affiliated with the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization has taken responsibility for launching Sunday morning's Grad rocket attack at southern Israel.

      The Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad (JTJ) jihadist organization (Group of Monotheism and Jihad) allegedly issued a statement claiming “credit” for the attack on Be'er Sheva, the largest city in Israel's southern region.

      The missile was intercepted and neutralized by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system at about 7:15 a.m. local time. Residents were warned by the Color Red air raid alert siren before the missile arrived in Be'er Sheva's air space.

      Salafi groups have slowly grown to be a major power in Gaza in the past several years, with thousands of Hamas members switching sides to join the more radical Islamic factions, all of which are linked to Al Qaeda and many of which operate in Judea and Samaria as well.

      JTJ was founded by Jordanian Salafi Islamist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi together with Kurdish sympathizers. Zarqawi, who pledged his allegiance to Osama Bin Laden's terrorist network in October 2004, is the same murderer who beheaded 26-year-old U.S. businessman Nicholas Berg on videotape in May 2004.

      The group's spiritual adviser was Palestinian Authority imam Abu Anas al-Shami, also known as Omar Yusef Juma'a, born in Kuwait and a one-time resident of Yabroud, a village near the PA capital of Ramallah. In 2003 he joined Zarqawi in Iraq, eventually becoming his second-in-command until he was assassinated in targeted U.S. missile strike on his car in September 2004.

      Among the Koranic texts taught by al-Shami and cited by JTJ in justifying its slaughter is an alleged quote from the Islamic prophet Muhammad, “Whoever slaughters a non-Muslim [at war with Islam, or 'enemy occupiers'] sincerely for the sake of Allah, Allah will make hellfire prohibited upon him.” 

      Another quote allegedly from Allah (G-d) often cited by the group to justify its actions directs operatives to behead its victims: “When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off the fingertip of them.”