Jabhat Al-Nusra militants.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A resident of Kafr Yasif, near Acre, was arrested by security forces on January 2 on suspicion of fighting with rebels in Syria, including Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Thursday.
The suspect was named as Amin Ahmed Salah Snobar, 24. He was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport after returning from Syria via Turkey.
During questioning, the Shin Bet said, Snobar confessed to leaving Israel for Turkey on July 7, 2014, and continuing on to Syria to join the rebels fighting the Assad regime.
According to an indictment filed on Thursday, jihadi elements in Syria urged him to return to Israel and carry out terrorist attacks from within the country.
Snobar allegedly arrived at a Syrian base belonging to the Ansar al-Sham rebel group, and later spent time at the headquarters of Jabhat al-Nusra as well, undergoing military training with both organizations.
The Shin Bet said Snobar received weapons and bomb-making training, as well as undergoing fitness training, before taking on missions on behalf of the organizations.
“After spending six months in Syria, he decided to return to his family, retracing his path to Turkey, and from there, boarding a flight to Israel. Upon his return to Israel he was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport and taken for Shin Bet questioning,” the Shin Bet said.
Israel has recently declared Jabhat al-Nusra to be an illegal organization whose activities are banned by law, the agency said, noting that in June 2013 it became al-Qaida’s official Syrian branch, and that part of its ideology calls for attacks on Israel.
“The phenomenon of Arab Israelis traveling to Syria is extremely grave and dangerous, as the Syrian arena is rife with active elements hostile to the state of Israel, with a focus on the global jihad operatives,” the Shin Bet said.
“Arab Israelis who travel to this arena undergo military training and are exposed to extreme jihadist ideology. There is a concern that they will be exploited by terrorist elements to carry out military activity against Israel and gather information on targets in Israel,” it added.
Northern district prosecutors charged Snobar on Thursday at the Haifa District court with several terrorism offenses.
According to the charge sheet, the defendant received combat training, underground warfare training, how to work in cells, arrive at destinations, and operate firearms. He allegedly carried out armed patrols of Jabhat al-Nusra bases, and was trained to fire a heavy machine gun, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and a sniper rifle.
“During his time in Syria...he was in touch with a number of elements who suggested to him, on a number of opportunities, that it would be preferable for him to return to Israel and carry out attacks in Israel, or fight against it from within,” the charge sheet stated.