During a radio interview Sunday, a representative of al-Qaida in the Gaza Strip sent a message to the United States: “Islam is coming and there is no other choice.”
That sentiment was expressed by Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadiya Salafiya in the Gaza Strip, speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.
Jihadiya Salafiya represents al-Qaida in the Gaza Strip.
Saqer further stated that after battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the thousands of foreign jihadists currently in Syria could turn their ire on what he called the many other “enemies of Islam,” including Israel and the United States.
Saqer did not say the spread of Islam in the U.S. will come through violence.
“Islam is coming and there is no other choice,” he told Klein about America and Europe.
“Because we think Islam will come and this is something that no one can prevent,” he stated.
“And we will raise the Islamic flag on every point on earth where Muslims live and we will chase all the enemies of Islam wherever they are. Even in the West, in Europe and in the United States.”
Asked where he thinks the thousands of foreign jihadists fighting Assad will go next, Saqer replied, “After finishing with him, there are many enemies for Islam.”
He continued: “At the head the Zionist enemy and the United States. And the evolution on the ground in Syria will define where is the next target and who is the next target of the Mujahadeen.”
“This can be the Israeli enemy. This can be the United States or anybody who is making a conspiracy with them against Islam.”
At least 6,000 jihadist rebels in Syria, many affiliated with al-Qaida, now pose a major security risk to the U.S. and Europe, according to Obama administration officials and Mideast experts.
Last Tuesday, Michael Morell, the Central Intelligence Agency’s second-in-command, warned in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that al-Qaida groups in Syria, along with the civil war itself, pose the greatest threat to U.S. national security.
The Wall Street Journal reported Morell said there are now more foreigners flowing into Syria each month to fight with al-Qaida-affiliated groups than there were going to Iraq to fight with al-Qaida at the height of the war there.
Meanwhile, according to UPI, Matthew G. Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, stated Syria “has become really the predominant jihadist battlefield in the world.”
“The concern going forward from a threat perspective is there are individuals traveling to Syria, becoming further radicalized, becoming trained and then returning as part of really a global jihadist movement to Western Europe and, potentially, to the United States,” said Olsen at a security conference in Aspen, Colo., this month.
(Click below to hear Part 1 of Aaron Klein’s interview on WABC Radio with Abu Saqer:)
(Click below to hear Part w of Aaron Klein’s interview on WABC Radio with Abu Saqer:)
Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, told the same conference, “The scale of this is completely different from what we’ve experienced in the past.”
De Kerchove spoke of jihadists flocking to Syria from Europe. He described the European jihadist travelers as self-radicalized and traveling on their own initiative.
He said the militants now pose a threat to their home countries if they attempt to return home, and he warned that European governments lack the capabilities to monitor all of them.
U.S. News & World Report further reported on at least 6,000 foreign jihadists from 50 nations, including fighters from Australia, France, Britain and the U.S.
“Australians now make up the largest contingent from any developed nation in the Syrian rebel forces,” the newspaper reported. “There are around 120 French fighters in Syria, about 100 Britons and a handful of Americans.”
There is a history of foreign fighters returning home to carry out terrorist attacks, such as the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed.