A rebel fighter takes away a flag that belonged to Islamic State militants in Akhtarin village, after rebel fighters advanced in the area, in northern Aleppo Governorate, Syria, October 7, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
State prosecutors on Sunday filed an indictment against Mahmoud Ahmed Azam, an Israeli citizen, for allegedly supporting and planning to join ISIS.
Azzam, 24, from Kafr Manda in the lower Galilee region, was arrested June 6 in a joint Shin Bet and Israel Police operation.
According to a statement by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) on Sunday, Azzam followed ISIS propaganda online and recently made “tangible preparations” to join the organization. The indictment filed by Haifa District Attorney accuses him of contact with a foreign agent, attempting to join a terrorist organization and obstructing legal proceedings.
According to the indictment, Azzam wrote in a post on Facebook in 2015 that he “supports the Islamic State and our Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
“Whoever does not like it, I will save them the search effort, put me on the blocked list or cancel the Facebook friendship,” he added.
Azzam was in contact with several ISIS fighters, the indictment alleges, and at the end of 2016 decided to join ISIS is Syria to fight Israel and “liberate Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque.”
However, Azzam was unable to receive a response from his ISIS contacts about traveling to Syria from Turkey, so, in May, he allegedly sought to join ISIS in the Sinai .
According to the Shin Bet, some 50 Israeli citizens have traveled to Syria or neighboring Iraq to fight with rebel groups including Islamic State. Several are reported to have been killed, and fewer than 10 are estimated to have returned to Israel, either of their own accord or after being caught by Turkish authorities while trying to cross the border and deported back to Israel.
Earlier this month, the Shin Bet announced that it arrested three Arab-Israeli minors on suspicion of supporting Islamic State. In early February, Valentine Vladimir Mazlovsky, 39, an Israeli immigrant from Belarus was arrested after security officials obtained intelligence information that he was planning to travel to Syria, according to the Shin Bet.
“The ISA views Israelis who support IS, are in contact with it and who go to fight in its ranks as a severe strategic threat. The ISA will, therefore, continue to monitor suspects and take the necessary enforcement measures in order to thwart the dissemination of the IS ideology in Israel and prevent Israelis from joining its ranks as fighters,” it said in a statement on Sunday.Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.