Two Arab-Israelis arrested for planning to join ISIS in Syria

Some 50 Israeli citizens have traveled to Syria or neighboring Iraq to fight with rebel groups, including the Islamic State, according to the Shin Bet.

August 11, 2017 14:19
3 minute read.
Ain al-Hilweh

Youth walk under an Islamic State flag in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon January 19, 2016.. (photo credit: ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS)


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Two brothers from Umm el-Fahm were arrested last month by Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police on suspicion of involvement with Islamic State, it was cleared for publication on Friday.

The security forces raided the home of Mahmoud Abd al-Karim Qassem Jabarin, 25, and Na’im Abd al-Karim Qassem Jabarin, 20, and found ISIS paraphernalia and a Carl Gustav- style submachine gun on the roof of their home.

Authorities also seized a large number of photographs that were in their possession, which “reinforced suspicions that the two supported the ideas and ideology of the organization of Islamic State,” the Shin Bet statement said.

According to the Shin Bet, authorities had received intelligence that Mahmoud was in contact with an ISIS recruiter, a former resident of Umm el-Fahm who has been in Syria since 2014, and that Mahmoud had intended to leave Israel for Syria to join the jihadist group.

The investigation also revealed that the younger brother Na’im swore allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Mahmoud was indicted on charges of collaboration with a foreign agent and Na’im was charged for possession of illegal weapons.

Two Arab-Israelis arrested for planning to join ISIS in Syria, August 11, 2017. (Credit: Shin Bet)

“The Shin Bet views Israelis who support the Islamic State organization as a serious security threat, especially those who are in contact with organization operatives and desire to fight in its ranks,” the Shin Bet read.

“As such, the Shin Bet will continue to monitor suspects and take the necessary enforcement measures to prevent the dissemination of ISIS ideology in Israel and prevent Israelis from fighting with the organization,” it added.

Israel has largely avoided attacks by Islamic State, though several Arab Israelis have been arrested on suspicion of links with ISIS and plans to carry out attacks inspired by the Sunni extremist group.

Israeli security officials have said the two Palestinians who shot dead four Israelis at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market last June and the Israeli Arab who killed three people in a January 1, 2016, shooting spree in Tel Aviv, had all been inspired by the jihadist group.

In March, 25-year-old Nazareth resident Fadil Tzaber Kna’anah was arrested on charges of supporting and of having contact with ISIS operatives.

Kna’anah is suspected of being in contact with two other Arab citizens who were fighting with ISIS and having transferred NIS 5,000 to them.

Several Israeli Arabs have been jailed for seeking to join ISIS in Syria including six residents of the Arab town of Jaljulya who were arrested in November of 2016 for planning to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group and a month earlier a seventh member of the group managed to fly across the Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights using a hang glider.

A few months earlier six residents – including three teachers – from the southern Beduin town of Hura were arrested for supporting the jihadist group.

The three teachers were accused of promoting the jihadist ideology in their classes, “taking advantage of their status to win over people for the sake of ISIS, among students and teachers, within the school walls,” the Shin Bet said at the time.

According to the agency, some 50 Israeli citizens have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight with rebel groups including Islamic State. Several are reported to have been killed and less than a 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.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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