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Al-Qaida-Linked Group Claims Responsibility for Rocket Attacks on Israel

By Jessica Desvarieux
14 September 2009

A group linked to al-Qaida has taken responsibility for last week's rocket attacks from Lebanon into Israel.

In a statement released on a militant Web site, the al-Qaida- linked group Brigades of Abdullah Azzam says it fired two rockets from Lebanon into Israel last Friday.

No one was injured in the attack, but the incident is the fourth across the border this year. The group says the attacks are in retaliation for Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

The attacks took place from southern Lebanon when at least two rockets were fired into Israel. The Israeli government retaliated with artillery fire.

The group's claim cannot be verified, but the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which surveys jihadist websites, says this is the second video the group has posted on a website that features al-Qaida content.

SITE Intelligence Group senior analyst Adam Raisman:

"Their previous message through al-Fajr Center was released on July 23 of this year. That was a propaganda video showing their launching or preparation to launch rockets also from southern Lebanon into Israel," said Raisman.

Israel filed a complaint about the attack to the United Nations and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he holds the Lebanese government responsible for the attacks.

The militant group claiming responsibility says it supports al-Qaida.

The group's full name, "Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, Battalions of Ziad Jarrah," derives from Lebanese militant Ziad al-Jarrah. He was one of the 19 hijackers who carried out the September 11 attacks of 2001 in the United States and was closely linked to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

But Raisman questions the group's genuine affiliation to al-Qaida.

"This group may try to portray themselves as an al-Qaida affiliate group that distributes to al-Fajr Center, which does add substance to that link. But they do not call themselves 'al-Qaida in Southern Lebanon.' They do not call themselves 'al-Qaida in Lebanon.' They do not call themselves 'al-Qaida in the Land of the Levant.' They call themselves the 'Brigades of Abdullah Azzam,'" Raisman said.

In an Israeli Cabinet meeting Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu warned Israel would respond to any repeated attacks with force, and the government "will not hold back when Israeli territory comes under fire."

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