JERUSALEM — Palestinian militants inspired by al-Qaida posted a Hebrew-language threat on a radical Islamic website Thursday, vowing revenge for the deaths of two Gaza militants in an Israeli air strike.
It appeared to be the first time that one of the murky, al-Qaida-inspired groups in Gaza have issued a threat in Hebrew, though larger militant organizations, including Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, have done so before.
The recording, posted by a group identifying itself as Ansar al-Sunna, came a day after an Israeli air strike hit two senior members of the Army of Islam. Both groups are believed to be closely linked.
“Killing our comrades will not stop us continuing jihad. It won’t bring you security,” the voice says, mentioning the names of the two men killed.
“We will continue firing rockets if God wills it, unless you leave Palestine. Your civilians will never be safe wherever they are from us,” it says.
The voice speaks in broken and heavily accented Hebrew and is full of echoes, making it hard to decipher at times. A version of the message also appeared on the popular video site YouTube juxtaposed over a picture of an assault rifle with Hebrew lettering.
Despite its amateur appearance, its presence on popular sites used by al-Qaida militants showed the ongoing efforts by groups in Gaza to link themselves with the global terror network and sow fear among Israelis.
“Israel takes all these threats seriously. These groups are always trying to kill us,” said Ephraim Inbar, an anti-terrorism expert at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv. “It’s not clear if this group is Army of Islam or a different al-Qaida-minded group, what’s the difference. It’s just another group that hates us.”
The Army of Islam participated in the cross-border capture of an Israeli soldier in 2006, and also kidnapped and held a British Broadcasting Corp. journalist the following year, and more recently, has fired a series of rockets into Israel.