An Islamic State fighter carries the group’s flag in Raqqa, north-central Syria..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced Monday that three Arab-Israeli minors were arrested on suspicion of supporting Islamic State.
According to the Shin Bet, two 17-year-old residents of the Arab village of Barta’a had, in recent months, participated in religious courses in which they were exposed to extremist content connected to ISIS.
Another Israeli, a resident of east Barta’a, in the West Bank, also was arrested. The village straddles both sides of the Green Line.
The suspects, whose identities remain undisclosed because they are minors, are alleged to have manufactured an improvised explosive device and to have sworn allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. According to the Shin Bet, one suspect had considered leaving Israel to fight for the group in Syria.
The Shin Bet considers “Israeli civilians who support the Islamic State and who are in contact with activists who fight for the group as a highly dangerous phenomenon that constitutes a serious security threat to the State of Israel and to the safety of its citizens,” the agency’s statement read.
“Therefore, the Shin Bet will continue to monitor and use every means at its disposal to prevent the dissemination of ISIS doctrine in Israel, as well as prevent the departure of Israelis wanting to fight for the group,” it continued.
While the terrorist organization has lost a string of military battles, including against Iraqi forces who are close to defeating the group in Mosul and near its de facto capital, Raqqa, in Syria, the group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in Europe, most recently in London where eight people were killed after a vehicular and stabbing attack.
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.
Israel, so far, has largely avoided an attack by ISIS, though numerous Arab Israelis have been arrested on suspicion of links with the group and plans to carry out attacks inspired by the Sunni extremist group, including an attack in June 2016 when two Palestinians shot dead four Israelis at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market.