A group with avowed Al-Qaida links issued a threat in Hebrew on Thursday, swearing to avenge Israel's killing of two Gaza militants, in what an expert said was the first use of the language for such propaganda.
In the half-minute-long recording posted on a website used by declared Al-Qaida affiliates, a hoarse male voice tells the "aggressor Jews" they will not be safe from rockets and other attacks until they "leave the land of Palestine".
The speaker identifies himself as a member of the group Jemaa Ansar al-Sunna or "Community of Sunna Supporters", which has a presence in Gaza.
Mohammed Nimnim and Islam Yassin, killed in Israel Defense Forces air strikes on November 3 and 17, were Gazan leaders of the Army of Islam, a Palestinian Islamist group inspired by al-Qaida. Israel accused them of having planned to attack Israelis in the Egyptian Sinai.
Matti Steinberg, an Israeli intelligence veteran who specializes in Islamism, said it was unprecedented for Hebrew to be used on an Al-Qaida forum.
While Osama bin Laden's followers have made public appeals in languages other than Arabic, this was usually to "win over, educate and preach to the wider Muslim world", Steinberg said. "Here, by contrast, it seems the idea to make Jews feel that the threat is close at hand - and not some distant menace."
The recording, which was quoted on Army Radio, ends by invoking "al Quds", Arabic for Jerusalem. The speaker's reference to rockets suggests links with Palestinians in Gaza, where this has been a favorite mode of attack against Israel.
Steinberg said Jemaa Ansar al-Sunna has had a presence in Gaza for several years and was independent of the Army of Islam.
Al-Qaida and its leader Osama bin Laden have frequently mentioned Israel in its messages in the past, and an Al-Qaida linked group recently claimed responsibility for dispatching two mail bombs from Yemen which were addressed to locations of synagogues in Chicago.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now