Israeli citizen Vladimir Mizlovsky (insert) who was arrested on suspicions of attempting to join ISIS in Syria.
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT,WIKIMEDIA)
Security forces have arrested an Israeli on suspicion of attempting to join ISIS in Syria, the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) and Northern District Police announced on Wednesday.
Valentine Vladimir Mazlovsky, 39, from Shibli in the Lower Galilee, was arrested in early February after security officials obtained intelligence information that he was planning to travel to Syria, according to the Shin Bet.
An indictment against Mazlovsky was filed on Wednesday in the Nazareth District Court.
Mazlovsky immigrated to Israel from Belarus in 1996 and converted to Islam in 2000. During his mandatory military service, he met his wife, from Shibli, with whom he has five children.
Second ISIS video in Hebrew
During the investigation, authorities said that Mazlovsky had ideologically supported Islamic State and bought a one-way ticket to Turkey with the intention of crossing into Syria to join the ranks of the terrorist group. According to the Shin Bet, Mazlovsky had also communicated with Islamic State supporters online and had shared his intention to leave to Syria with them in order to coordinate his arrival in the country.
Police said that the suspect confessed to seeking to join the Islamic State under interrogation. However, he contended that he was only motivated by “the commandment incumbent upon all true Muslims to live under an Islamic State.”
“Israeli citizens leaving for Syria and Iraq is a very dangerous phenomenon,” the Shin Bet said.
“It is apparent that the Islamic State organization distributes false propaganda in order to present a false image of itself as enabling a good life under Islam, or of a religious and military adventure as fighters in the organization. In contrast, the investigation of Israelis returning from Syria and Iraq presents an opposite picture,” emphasized the statement.
Police said Mazlovsky was summoned for questioning in July 2016. They warned him that the Islamic State is an outlawed organization. However, in October 2016 police allege Mazlovsky made the decision to enter Syria and join the ranks of the Islamic State.
Using an encrypted messaging application, police said that Mazlovsky made contact with a man who went by the name Abu Abdullah. Yet, the supposed plan never came to fruition because Abu Abdullah severed contact with the Israeli.
Mazlovsky then allegedly made contact with an Islamic State fighter in Sinai, but was also unsuccessful in entering Egyptian territory.
In a final attempt, police said the Israeli citizen made contact with a supposed Islamic State recruiter using the encrypted messaging application Telegram. The recruiter told him to fly to Turkey, where he would receive approval to join the Islamic State. Mazlovsky then allegedly bought a one-way ticket to Turkey from a travel office in the Arab village of Daburiya, near Nazareth, and equipped himself with $1,000.
According to the Shin Bet, around 50 Israelis have so far traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight with rebel groups including ISIS. Several are reported to have been killed and less than 10 are estimated to have returned to Israel, either by their own accord or after being caught by Turkish authorities while trying to cross the border and deported back to Israel.
In September, the Shin Bet arrested a family of Israeli Arabs arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport from Iraq. According to the agency, the family had traveled to Turkey where they made contact with another Israeli Arab who had joined the jihadist group in 2013 and helped the family cross the border into Syria. The family decided to return to Israel after the father was injured during a raid on an Iraqi military post.
The Shin Bet sees the support for the Islamic State as a “serious security threat to Israel and therefore uses every means at its disposal to prevent threats and bring those involved in this activity to justice,” the agency’s statement read.