Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for rocket launches into Israel from Lebanon

The militant Islamic group Al-Qaeda says it’s responsible for the rocket attacks on northern Israel from Southern Lebanon earlier this year, in a new video purportedly produced and posted on the Internet by the group.
New video purportedly produced by Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for rocket attacks on Israel in January.

BEIRUT, July 28, 2009 (MENASSAT) — The footage that recently surfaced online depicts two masked militiamen in the process of assembling rockets and pointing them towards Israeli army targets in what is apparently South Lebanon, according to an article published by Lebanon’s Daily Star.

A voice featured in the video then calls for attacks against the “Zionist” aggressors from inside Lebanon and is said to be that of Al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden. It also blasts Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, accusing him of collaborating with UN peacekeeping forces and being a “big imposter.”

Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s second in command, and the group’s commander in Iraq, Sheikh Abu Amr al-Baghdadi, also purportedly speaks in the clip, urging a renewed offensive against Israel. 

During Israel’s war on Gaza, three Katyusha rockets fired from southern Lebanon on January 8 hit Israel’s northern city of Nahariya. No group claimed responsibility for the attack at the time, which caused minor injuries to two people and some property damage.

Hezbollah, Hamas and Fatah representatives in Lebanon immediately denied any involvement in the rocket launches, saying neither of them sought to implicate Lebanon in a conflict with Israel, the Daily Star reported.

Meanwhile, Nasrallah said in a speech earlier this year that Israeli agents could have been behind the incidents in an attempt to provide Israel with a pretext to launch an attack on Lebanon.

The clip denounces Hezbollah, saying the group is not doing enough to put an end to Israeli aggression in the region.

In one instance, the video put out a direct address to Nasrallah, asking what the difference is between the Hezbollah leader and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The inquiry was a clear reference to Mubarak’s decision to keep Egypt’s border with Gaza, the Rafah crossing, closed throughout the Gaza war. Egypt’s decision to not open Rafah resulted in delays of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

At the end of the clip, the Daily Star describes shaky images showing rockets being placed on launch pads while chants call for aggression against Israel.

In December 2008, the Lebanese Army discovered eight Katyusha and Grad type rockets connected to timers that were supposedly hours away from firing into Israel.

The video claims responsibility for the rocket incidents, saying that the “mujahedeen were able to intercept Zionist and crusader fortifications in South Lebanon and were able to launch a number of attacks at several times.”

Last week, the Lebanese authorities detained ten men on accusations that they were plotting attacks against UN peacekeepers in South Lebanon. All of the detainees were alleged to be part of a group connected to Al Qaeda.

The BBC quoted an army official as saying the men were members of  "a terrorist network linked to al-Qaeda.”

Coinciding with the arrests, Lebanese media reports claimed Al-Qaeda had given its splinter cells in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region “full independence” in their operations.