CAIRO (Reuters) – The Islamic State militant group urged its fighters and other Muslims to attack Jews in a purported audio recording released on Monday in an attempt to thwart U.S. President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
The message was said to feature the voice of IS spokesman Abu Hamzah al-Quraishi but Reuters could not verify the speaker’s identity.
Islamic State has not been a player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the comments appeared to be an attempt by the group to stay relevant and resonate with Muslims by sounding concerned about the issue, said H.A. Hellyer of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“We are urging you to join the Caliphate (Islamic State) soldiers who are seeking to remove borders and dams that prevent them from fighting Jews,” Quraishi said.
He especially called on IS fighters in its Sinai branch in Egypt as well those in Syria to mount cross-border raids to attack Israeli targets.
“Be the spearhead in fighting Jews and making their plots fail like their ‘Deal of the Century’,” he said.
Trump is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz in Washington on Monday to present his peace plan, which Palestinians fear will dash their hopes for an independent state.
The Sunni Muslim IS has struggled to regroup and develop a new strategy since the killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by U.S. forces in October. It lost its last significant piece of territory in Syria last year after already being defeated in Iraq.
Reporting by Samer Hassan and Mahmoud Mourad; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Angus MacSwan