TEL AVIV: Former Israel Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot revealed earlier this month that Israel was asked by Egypt in 2015 to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State targets. "There aren't many countries in the world that know how to locate targets the size of a podium and to put a missile on a target in a 1,000-kilometre radius around Israel. Our enemies saw it; the Russians saw it; the Americans saw it. The ones who know best how much the IDF works in the Middle East are the ISIS men, since they paid the price of hundreds of dead and wounded, and they knew," he stated. Yet despite the many military blows that Salafi jihadist entities have absorbed over the years-both ISIS and Al Qaeda-both have been able to survive and create new threats due to their ideology, which cannot be bombed out of existence.
In recent days, the Kurdish-led autonomy in northeast Syria announced that it will begin to hold trials for ISIS members who remain under Kurdish guard and who come from many states around the world.
Meanwhile, the new leader of Al-Qaeda, Saif al-Adel, who arrived in Afghanistan from Iran in November 2022, represents a development that has significance for Israel, according to Michael Barak, senior researcher and head of the Global Jihad Research at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) and a lecturer at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy at Reichman University, Herzliya. "This is significant because al-Adel is in very good contact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)," Barak told the Tazpit Press Service. "It's a relationship that goes back to the 1990s. Al-Adel has a team behind him. And Al-Qaeda and Iran have cooperated in the past-Iran can use Al-Qaeda to launch attacks against Israel while denying their involvement."
In November 2022, an Israeli businessman in Georgia was the target of a Pakistani terror squad affiliated with Al Qaeda. The squad had travelled to the country under Iranian orders, according to media reports. Israeli and Georgian intelligence agencies worked together, reportedly, to foil the plot. In September 2021, media reports said that Al-Qaeda's number two, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was allegedly assassinated in Tehran by Israeli agents.
"Al Qaeda still has some of its leadership in Iran," said Barak. "With Al-Adel now trying to strengthen his status within Al-Qaeda, this organization poses more of an external threat to Israel than ISIS." (ANI)