The Shin Bet and Israel Police arrested an Israeli-Arab resident of Umm el-Fahm on suspicion of joining a Syrian global jihad organization while volunteering to fight the Assad regime in Syria, the domestic intelligence agency announced on Wednesday.
The suspect, named as 23-year-old Ahmed Hiri Shurbaji, traveled to Syria in January and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.
He allegedly took part in military combat training, learned how to operate light firearms and heavy machine guns and studied the use of grenades and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, as well as learning about hand-to-hand combat. He then took part in battles against Syrian President Bashar Assad loyalist forces, the Shin Bet said.
“During questioning, Shurbaji confessed to traveling to Syria in order to take part in the struggle against the Syrian army,” the intelligence agency said.
He fought in areas close to the Syrian- Iraqi border, it added.
Haifa district prosecutors charged Shurbaji in Haifa Magistrate’s Court on Thursday with security offenses.
Shin Bet sources said the phenomenon of Israeli Arabs traveling to Syria poses high risks for Israeli security.
The Syrian arena is filled with anti-Israel, hostile elements, particularly those affiliated with global jihad ideology, the sources said.
The military training and extremist ideology to which the volunteers are exposed can be exploited by terrorist elements to attack Israel, or gather intelligence against it, the source warned.