I-24 NEWS – Liberman says ISIS’s Sinai affiliate ‘random amateurs’ compared to Hamas, Hezbollah. Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday downplayed the threat posed by the Islamic State jihadist group’s affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, saying that while they are “annoying” and “hindersome” they are not a serious concern for Israel’s security.
“If you are talking about Hamas and Hezbollah then [the Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate] is not even a terror group,” Lieberman told Army Radio, describing the group as “random [amateurs] who decided to build themselves an army.”
“We need to see everything in proportion,” he said.
Liberman’s comments came after two projectiles were fired from the Egyptian enclave, landing without incident in open areas in southern Israel. While no group claimed the rocket fire, the Islamic State claimed hours earlier that an alleged Israeli drone strike in northern Sinai had killed five of its militants.
Asked whether Israel had carried out the strike, Liberman said sarcastically that the terrorists were likely taken out by “the special forces of Lichtenstein,” before adding: “We do not let anything go without a response.”
The jihadist group’s Egyptian affiliate Wilayat Sayna (formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis) has been behind periodic rocket fire toward Israel, most recently claiming a salvo of rockets fired at the nearby Red Sea resort of city of Eilat.
The group said the attack was launched “in order to teach the Jews and the crusaders a proxy war will not avail them of anything.”
The Islamic State group claims to be active on Israel’s northern border as well, announcing though its affiliated Amaq news website that it had expanded its reach in southwestern Syria near in the Golan Heights, which borders Israel.
Syrian rebels and witnesses said ISIS militants launched a surprise attack on towns situated along the Yarmouk river between Syria and Israel.
“In a surprise attack Islamic State made an attack on positions held by the Free Syrian Army FSA groups which no one expected to happen so fast,” Newsweek quotes Colonel Ismail Ayoub, a Syrian opposition army defector, as saying.
Israel has so far largely avoided major ISIS-inspired attacks in the country, though it estimates that around 50 of its citizens have traveled to Syria to fight with Sunni rebels.