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On October 7, 2023, Hamas and other Gaza-based militant Palestinian factions launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a surprise attack on Israel in the early morning of the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah. As part of the attack, thousands of rockets were fired into Israel and mujahideen infiltrated Israeli towns and military bases near the Gaza strip, killing hundreds of civilians and soldiers and taking captives. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a mass mobilization and declared "we are at war" during a televised address on the developments.
Commenting on the ongoing events, Syrian Salafi-jihadis celebrated the "victory" of the Palestinian factions and called on jihadis in Syria and online to support them in any way possible. At the same time, Syrian jihadis lamented the close cooperation between Shi'ite Iran – a partner with Syria's Assad regime which they view as an anti-Islamic state – and Palestinian groups such as Hamas.
Head Of Al-Qaeda-Aligned Group: Al-Aqsa Flood Shows Israel's Weakness, Proves Truth Of Hadith Predicting Slaughter Of Jews
Abu 'Abdallah Al-Shami, head of the Al-Qaeda aligned Ansar Al-Din Front, wrote: "The Al-Aqsa Flood has brought healing – by Allah's grace and generosity – to the hearts of the believers, demonstrated the weakness of the occupiers, laid bare the traitorous normalizers, and exposed the exploitative Rafidites [a pejorative term for Shi'ites]. All of this has increased the believers' conviction in the approach of the promise of the Lord of the Former and Latter [prophets, i.e. Muhammad], who said: 'The Last Hour will come when the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jews hide themselves behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: "O Muslim, o servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." Only the gharqad tree will not speak out, for it is the tree of the Jews.'"
Ahrar Al-Sham Head: Mixed Feelings Over Victory Claimed By Iran, Muslims Must Unite
'Amer Al-Sheikh, head of Syrian jihadi group Ahrar Al-Sham, wrote on October 7: "In a time when the ranks are intertwined and the cards shuffled, we experience conflicting feelings." On the one hand, "we rejoice over our brothers in Palestine's victory over the criminal Zionists and pray for their steadfastness and empowerment." At the same time, "we are saddened that the mullahs of Iran will strive to claim it for the benefit of their sectarian project and to drag it into their negotiations with [other] counties, when they do not care about the fate of our heroic mujahideen." Similarly, Al-Sheikh wrote that while he is gladdened that "the Muslims across the face of the earth sympathized with the cause of the oppressed in Palestine," he bemoaned that there was no similar outpouring of solidarity with the people of Syria's rebel-held Idlib region, whose blood was shed by "the [Assad] regime, Russians, and Iranians." He declared: "This ummah [Islamic nation] will not endure until it becomes like a single body […] The battle is one. So Allah, protect the mujahideen everywhere and take revenge from the criminals in all areas."
Chief HTS Cleric Quotes Call For Muslims To Sacrifice Lives To Support Palestinians' Jihad
'Abd Al-Rahim 'Atoun aka Abu 'Abdallah Al-Shami, the chief religious official of Syrian jihadi group Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), shared a six-minute video clip featuring Mauritanian cleric Muhammad Al-Diddo, the head of the Consultatory Council for the Palestine Scholars' Association. Featuring the hashtag #Al-Aqsa_Flood, the post quoted Al-Diddo: "The ummah must participate with blood and body parts in the defense of Palestine […] [Their] blood must flow together with the blood of the people of our nation in Palestine, and [their] body parts must mix with [Palestinians'] body parts. The Islamic ummah must play a part in participating to repel the aggression and defend the Palestinian nation."
HTS Cleric Prays For Gazan Mujahideen's Victory, Celebrates Hamas' Jihad While Condemning Its Ties With Iran
Egyptian-born HTS cleric Yahya (Abu Al-Fath) Al-Farghali wrote on October 7: "O Allah, grant those who wage jihad for your sake in Gaza victory over Your enemy and theirs, and give them a clear conquest. O Allah, make their judgment correct and their aim direct, and guide them to Your straight path and to what You love and are pleased with."
Later that day, he added that although "every Muslim is pained by Hamas' rapprochement with Rafidite Iran," nevertheless, a Sunni must treat his fellow Muslims justly. Therefore, Sunnis should celebrate another Muslim's acts of "worship and inflicting harm on Allah's enemies," and "love him and display loyalty to him for that," while at the same time being grieved by his sins and "hat[ing] him and show[ing] enmity to him for that."
Saudi-Born Jihadi Cleric Urges Followers To Support Palestinian Jihad Online, Help Logistically If Asked, "Enjoy Allah's Victory"
Saudi-born independent jihadi cleric 'Abdallah Al-Muhaysini published a Telegram post on October 7 titled "What Is My Role and Yours?" After encouraging his online followers to search the hashtag #Al-Aqsa_Flood and "enjoy Allah's victory and share with prayer and encouragement," he urged them to write posts defending the Palestinian mujahideen, while being on guard for "the hypocrites of the hired pens" who criticize them. He added: "Do not be a pessimist and think you have no role to play, even through prayer or a tweet." Al-Muhaysini further stated: "You are the logistic support and home front for your brothers, so if they request support or anything, hurry and seize the opportunity to participate with them." In conclusion, he told his followers: "Now you can shout 'Allah Akbar' and celebrate Allah's victory. Congratulations to us all."
Syria-Based Jihadi Calls Syrian Jihadi Groups To Fire Rockets Into Israel, Storm Border
Syria-based jihadi Al-Zubayr Abu Mu'adh Al-Filastini [the Palestinian] called on Syrian Sunni mujahideen to join the war against Israel, before Shi'ite Iran steps in. In an October 7 Telegram post titled "Anticipate the Rafidites!", he urged "the groups of rebels and mujahideen […] sons of the blessed Syrian jihadi revolution" to "participate in the battle with the Jews by any means." Detailing his suggestions, he urged: "Whoever owns rockets should fire them. Whoever can storm and cross the fences and borders should do so. Whoever has made future plans should implement them today and cancel their postponement." He added: "We ask you by Allah to support us however you can. Let Syria be the first front to join the Gaza Strip. We do not want Iran and its arms to enter this battle before the Muslims. We do not want the Rafidites to traffic in any of our battles. Block the road for them now."
Celebrations of the Al-Aqsa Flood offensive and pledges of support have been issued by the various Iran-backed Shi'ite groups in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, including Hizbullah and the Ansar Allah (Houthi) Movement.
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