On March 14, 2018, Al-Malahem, the media outlet of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), launched a new bulletin named Madad. The first issue of this bulletin is dedicated to Ahmad Nasr Jarrar, a Hamas terrorist who murdered an Israeli in January 2018 and was killed by the Israel Army in early February.

Glorifying Jarrar, the bulletin calls him “the heir to the martyrs” and an “icon for the jihad fighters,” and holds him up as a role model for Palestinians fighting Israel.

It should be noted that Al-Qaeda sees jihad for the sake of Palestine as a supremely important objective, and views the military arm of Hamas (as opposed to its political apparatus) as a legitimate jihad organization, although Al-Qaeda leaders have frequently leveled harsh criticism at the heads of Hamas, and despite the rivalry and resentment between Al-Qaeda and Hamas’s parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.

In this, Al-Qaeda differs from the Islamic State, which sees all parts of Hamas as heretical, and does not prioritize the jihad in Palestine over the jihad in any other arena. However, despite ascribing importance to Palestine, and although it has branches in many arenas in the Middle East, to date the organization does not have a branch fighting openly in Israel.

The dedication of the journal’s first issue to Jarrar, who was widely acclaimed by the Palestinian public, the glorification of the war in Palestine, and the emphasis on Al-Qaeda’s commitment to this war, are part of the organization’s efforts to compensate for its weakness in this arena.

At the same time, the bulletin also stresses a central Al-Qaeda tenet, namely that, in order for Palestine to be liberated, jihad must first be waged against America, which is “the head of the serpent.”

The following are excerpts from the bulletin on Jarrar.

“For the past 60 years the wounded Jerusalem has been bent under the [yoke] of the Jews, who trample it with the declared assistance of the Crusader countries of the Cross [i.e., the West], and the open collaboration of their lackeys, the Arab rulers, who defend the Jewish borders and make things difficult for the Muslims, and who, after all this, [have the nerve to] claim to belong to Islam!

“Despite this plot against [Palestine], the converging of all the armies [on it], and the choking siege of the past decades, [Palestine] still stands with its head held high and surprises us every day as it demonstrates the heroism of the Palestinian Muslim jihad fighter. This fighter lacks most of the material means, yet he terrorizes the Jewish occupier and causes him—despite [the occupier’s] immense capabilities—to awaken each day to a disaster, and to anticipate each day a worse disaster than the one that came before. The Palestinian jihad fighter continues with his plan and works diligently to accomplish the impossible.

“So long as Palestine has people like Ahmad Jarrar, great salvation and great victory await it. There is no victory without sacrifice. Are there, anywhere in the world, [people who] sacrifice like our people in Palestine do? You find them eagerly embarking on jihad, although they know what the consequences will be, and know that the Jews will use every despicable means to nip in the bud the idea of jihad for Allah in this country.

“One example of this, a drop in the ocean of sacrifice, is the heir to the martyrs, Ahmad Jarrar, the martyred son of a martyred father and a righteous mother, [whose parents] raised him to become a icon for the jihad fighters and for those who stand guard over Palestine. He succeeded, despite the limited means at his disposal, to put the Jews in the eye of the storm [and show] the world the truth about the helplessness of the Mossad …

“[Jarrar] succeeded in assassinating one of their greatest leaders, Rabbi Raziel Shevach, and subsequently hindered their ability to reach him [Jarrar]. If it hadn’t been for the Jews’ agents within the intelligence forces of [Mahmoud] Abbas, they would never have managed to kill him, Allah willing.

The Jews managed to locate him [only] after three weeks of pursuit and following a large-scale operation. They laid an extensive siege to his hiding place, but he refused to surrender and fought until he was killed, may Allah have mercy on him. The last things found in the martyr’s hiding place were a gift from his mother, a Quran, and a little food …

“This man, Ahmad Nasr Jarrar, fulfilled his obligation to the cause of the ummah, [the cause of liberating] Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is left to the Muslim ummah in general, and to the people of Palestine in particular, to assume responsibility and complete the journey.

They must stand together as a solid structure and wage the ummah’s battle in various arenas and on many fronts. They must put aside all sins, conflicts and disputes that delay the victory. Liberating Palestine is a duty incumbent upon [all of] us. Every Muslim jihad fighter must act night and day to promote this cause.

[But] we must not forget the role played by the head of the serpent, America, in defending the Jews. The latest manifestation of this is [the Americans’] insistence on turning Jerusalem into the capital of the Jewish occupier. As the Martyr of the Ummah, Osama bin Laden, said: ‘America and Israel are two sides of the same coin.’ He [also] said: ‘Do not consult anyone [before] killing Americans.'”

The rest of the article can be read on MEMRI’s website here.