Small Wars Journal

A Battle Cry Seldom Heard These Days: The Palestinian Cause

Sat, 02/09/2019 - 11:55am

A Battle Cry Seldom Heard These Days: The Palestinian Cause by Dionne Searcey, David M. Halbfinger and Rukmini Callimachi – New York Times

When terrorists in Africa delivered two devastating attacks last month, they invoked a battle cry seldom heard in recent militant activity on the continent: the Palestinian cause.


The gunmen in a hotel complex in Kenya and a military installation in Mali were lauded by Al Qaeda’s central leadership, which praised its branches in Somalia and Mali for the deadly attacks.


“We emphasize and appreciate the high efforts and beautiful words of all the vibrant jihadist work to prevent the Judaization of Palestine,” a statement from the group’s leaders said, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremist content.


The rallying cry, thousands of miles away from where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is playing out, was ordered up by Ayman al-Zawahri, the head of Al Qaeda who late last year reiterated calls for the group’s franchises to target Zionists.


Major terrorist activities by Qaeda branches in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years seem motivated by other causes, security analysts said. They were intended to expand into new territory, lash out at Western military action or remind the world of Al Qaeda’s relevance as global powers focused on its headline-grabbing rival, the Islamic State.


In the last two weeks, thousands of people have been streaming out of the last parcels of land under Islamic State control in Iraq and Syria. The group once controlled an area the size of Britain…

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