(photo credit: ISLAMIC SOCIAL MEDIA)
Following protracted dual joint investigations overseen by police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), two Israelis from Jerusalem and Ramle were indicted on Thursday for attempting to join Islamic State in Syria.
According to an indictment filed in the Jerusalem District Court, Faris Sharitah, 18, from the capital’s northern Kafr Akeb neighborhood, who had been living in the US for the past several years, unsuccessfully attempted to join the terrorist organization via Turkey in May.
However, when the teenager arrived in Istanbul with an expired passport, he was denied entry into the country and forced to return to Israel, where he was subsequently arrested.
While Sharitah’s plan was thwarted, his brother and a cousin, who traveled with him to Turkey, were allowed past security, and subsequently made their way through the country’s porous border into Syria to join Islamic State.
The 18-year-old was in contact with both relatives after they joined the terrorist group, the indictment stated.
The prosecutor who filed the charges again him, Shira Natan, was granted an indefinite remand request by a judge on Thursday, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Also on Thursday, state prosecutors indicted Hamis Adnan Salame, 20, a college student from Ramle, for attempting to join Islamic State.
Salame, who studies engineering at Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, confessed to police and Shin Bet investigators that he decided to join the terrorist group after being compelled by multiple Internet videos promoting the organization.
After contacting two senior Islamic State members on Twitter, Salame was forwarded instructions on how to make his way to the group’s compound in Syria via Turkey, the indictment stated.
Upon landing in Istanbul, the student traveled to Adana, a city in southern Turkey, where he was instructed to book a hotel room and await further instructions on entering Syria. He was later arrested by Turkish police hours before crossing the border and extradited to Israel, the indictment stated.
In a statement, the Shin Bet said that Israeli Arabs attempting to join Islamic State poses a dangerous security threat for the nation.
“Those Israeli Arabs who travel to these arenas undergo military training, are exposed to radical jihadist ideology and there’s concern that they will be exploited by terrorist elements in the country both to conduct military activity against the State of Israel, and as a source to gain intelligence about targets inside Israel,” the statement said.
In March, Muhammad Said Musallam, 19, from Jerusalem’s Neveh Ya’acov neighborhood, who joined Islamic State in Syria, was executed by a child in a video shown throughout the world after being branded a Mossad spy upon attempting to leave the terrorist group.
The video showed Musallam shackled, kneeling in an orange jumpsuit in a field, where the boy, wearing camouflage fatigues, shoots him in the head, and then fires three more rounds into his lifeless body.
Musallam’s parents said their son became seduced by Islamic State after being promised wealth and a beautiful bride last October.
The 19-year-old also flew to Turkey to cross the Syrian border.
Last month a 23-year-old Israeli Arab was sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to join Islamic State.