An Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra fighter talks on a walkie-talkie while carrying his weapon on Al-Khazan frontline of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An indictment has been filed against an Israeli-Arab woman who returned to Israel after she joined the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group in Syria, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cleared for publication on Sunday.
According to the statement, Renwa Rasmi Muhammad Shanawi, 22, from Judeida-Makr east of Acre, was arrested last month after she returned to her Galilee city.
While being questioned by the Shin Bet, Shanawi admitted that she had contacted a Syrian citizen who had suggested that she come to Syria and join the ranks of Jabat al-Nusra. Shanawi agreed to the proposal out of a desire to commit “martyrdom,” and stole money from her family to purchase a plane ticket to Turkey.
According to the indictment, Shanawi first began viewing Jihadist content on the Internet in 2017, and had shown an increased desire to die for what she viewed as “the humiliation of Muslim worshipers” by Israeli security forces at al-Aqsa Mosque.
When she arrived in Turkey she threw away her Israeli SIM card and purchased a Turkish SIM card, which also allowed her to make calls in Syria. She then spent several days in Istanbul, during which she phoned a member of the Jabhat al-Nusra organization who instructed her to go to Antakya and from there to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Syria.
At the crossing, Shanawi was detained by Turkish authorities for questioning. Using forged documents, she was able to cross the border into Syria where she met with Jabhat al-Nusra member “Abed,” and traveled with him to the Idlib province where she joined the group.
A month later she was arrested by operatives of the terrorist organization who suspected her of having been sent to join the group by Israel authorities. Released after a month, she was ordered to return to Turkey. There she was detained by authorities and deported back to Israel by plane.
Shanawi was indicted by the Northern District Attorney’s Office for contact with a foreign agent, attempted membership in a terrorist organization, and illegal activities. She was also charged with attacking a police officer while in custody. The State Prosecutor’s Office requested that she be held until the end of the legal proceedings.
“The findings of Shanawi’s investigation point to extreme ideological views, including support for the ISIS terrorist organization and a deep hatred for Jews,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
Israel declared several Syrian jihadist groups, including Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, illegal organizations in late 2014.
Dozens of Israeli-Arabs have been arrested upon their return to Israel after joining the groups in Syria, out of concern that their battlefield experience will allow them to establish terrorist networks or commit terrorist attacks within Israel.
Several Israeli-Arabs are believed to have been killed while fighting in Syria’s eight-year-long civil war.
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