Jihadist group a Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, or “Supporters of Jerusalem,” claimed responsibility for Friday’s cross-border attack on Israeli troops, or as the group called it, “the battle of discipline for those who insulted the beloved Prophet.” They issued a statement online on Saturday.
The reason given by the group for attacking Israel was the supposed involvement of an Israeli Jew in the production of the amateur film Innocence of Muslims that elicited violent protests across the world for its offensive portrayal of the prophet Muhammad.
The maker of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, initially claimed his name was Sam Bacile and that he was an Israeli Jew. However, further investigations subsequently revealed he was an Egyptian Copt living in the United States.
The statement from Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed the three attackers trained for a long time in preparation for the attack, waiting with the same anticipation they would have for “their wedding day.”
The attackers entered Israel on Thursday and laid in wait until the attack occurred on Friday. During the attack, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed to have killed eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped one.
The Israeli Defence Force announced on Saturday that one soldier was killed, one was injured, no one was kidnapped, and all three attackers were killed at the scene. The Egyptian government confirmed that three bodies were returned to them, and was working on confirming the identities of the attackers.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis also claimed responsibility for a July attack on the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline, calling the supply of gas to Israel “treason.” They said it was a crime committed by the Mubarak regime and one that was being continued by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.