The Shin Bet arrested a Beduin man on suspicion of helping two men travel to Syria and join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria jihadi organization, the domestic intelligence agency said Monday.
According to the investigation, the suspect, 23-year-old Idris Abu al-Kia’an, of Hura in the Negev, is affiliated with the Salafi-jihadi movement, and helped his brother, Athman Abu al-Kia’an and a second relative, named as Shafik Abu al-Kia’an, both Israeli Beduin, travel to Syria to fight against the Assad regime in the ranks of ISIS.
During questioning, al-Kia’an, who was arrested on April 28, confessed to knowing the two other men would travel to Syria and hiding this fact from others, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said. The investigation also revealed that the jihadi volunteers traveled to Syria via Turkey, and that the suspect allegedly transferred cash to them to fund their travels.
Al-Kia’an also gave the volunteers the names of additional fighters in Syria to link up with upon arrival in Syria.
“A substantial portion of contacts with these terror elements was carried out through social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter,” the intelligence agency added.
On May 15, southern district prosecutors charged al-Kia’an at the Beersheba District Court with plotting to commit a crime and assisting individuals to illegally exit the country.
“The exit of Arab citizens of Israel for the purpose of fighting in Syria is a known phenomenon, but this is the first time Arabs from the Negev have been found to join the Syrian war,” the Shin Bet said.
“This is a dangerous phenomenon, as those who travel to this area undergo military training, are exposed to extreme global jihad ideology, and there are suspicions that they will be exploited to carry out terror attacks against the State of Israel at the end of the day,” it added.
Earlier this month, 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 suspect, named as 23-year-old Ahmed Hiri Shurbaji, traveled to Syria in January and joined ISIS, the Shin Bet 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 RPG launchers, as well as learning about hand-to-hand combat. He then took part in battles against Assad loyalist forces, the Shin Bet stated.
“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 at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court 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.