The leader of the Islamic State terrorist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, issued Saturday an explicit threat against Israel, the first such indication from the organization’s head that the Jewish state was on his agenda.
In an audio recording released on social media, al-Baghdadi warned that his forces will “soon meet [the Jews] in Palestine,” Israel’s Channel 2 television reported.
The terrorist group’s elusive head added that “Israel will pay a heavy price at the hands of our fighters,” the report said.
“Palestine will not be your land or your home,” al-Baghdadi continued, according to the Ynet news site. “It will be a graveyard for you. Allah has gathered you in Palestine so that the Muslims may kill you.”
“The Jews thought that we forgot about Palestine and diverted our attention from it. Never, Jews. We have not forgotten Palestine for a moment,” said al-Baghdadi.
“The leaders of the jihad fighters will surround you on a day you think is far, but we see it as close. We are coming closer to you day by day,” he concluded.
In a video released last month by the Islamic State, the group threatened to wage war against the Jewish people. Flanked by masked militants holding automatic machine guns, a man brandishing a knife can be seen saying that he and his jihadist comrades are “preparing for a major war [against Israel]… With God’s help, God willing.”
In a message directed to “all the Jews, grandchildren of monkeys and pigs,” the man, whose face is blurred, warned that the Islamic State plans to infiltrate Israel to carry out attacks.
“We are coming for you from all over the world to slaughter you,” he said.
Several days beforehand, the Islamic State addressed an Israeli audience for the first time ever in a Hebrew-language video, warning that “no Jew will be left [alive]” once its fighters conquer Jordan and arrive at Israel’s borders.
“This isn’t just talk. We will advance toward you from everywhere, from the north and the south, from Sinai, from everywhere,” said a masked man in green fatigues in fluent, if slightly Arabic- and French-accented Hebrew.
The first video has since been removed from YouTube.
The Hebrew clips came after the terror group released a series of videos in October glorifying the wave of deadly attacks against Israelis.
The videos, bearing such titles as “Project Behead the Jews” and “Message to the Mujahedin in Jerusalem,” were uploaded from sites under Islamic State control in Syria and northern Iraq. Some of the videos spread on social media and were accompanied by the hashtag #BeheadtheJew.
“I recommend that you take the path of Jihad, which God tells you to follow, I bless this jihad against the Jews. Strike fear in their hearts, they are the enemies of God,” a fighter said in one of the videos, according to a translation by the i24 news site.
“A victory is coming to the mujahedin of the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] from above, you are the ones who start but we will continue it,” another Islamic State member said, as he holds an automatic rifle.
Israeli security forces have said that dozens of Israeli citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join IS over the past months.
Ricky Ben-David, Raoul Wootliff and Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.