Indictment filed against Israeli-Arab woman who joined Syrian terror group

Renwa Rasmi Muhammad Shanawi showed a desire to die over "Muslim humiliation" at the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli authorities.

June 2, 2019 18:27
2 minute read.
Renwa Rasmi Muhammad Shanawi

Renwa Rasmi Muhammad Shanawi. (photo credit: SHIN BET)

An indictment has been filed against an Israeli-Arab woman who returned to Israel after she joined the Jabat al-Nusra terror group in Syria, the Shin Bet cleared for release on Sunday.

According to a statement released by the Shin Bet, 22-year-old Renwa Rasmi Muhammad Shanawi from the village of Jadeidi-Makr near Acre, was arrested last month after she returned to Israel.

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 to view jihadist content since 2017 and had shown an increased desire to die for what she viewed as “the humiliation of Muslim worshipers” by Israeli security forces at the al-Aqsa Mosque.

When she arrived in Turkey, she threw out her Israeli SIM card and purchased a Turkish SIM card which also allowed for her to make calls in Syria. She then spent several days in Istanbul, during which she made contact with a member of the Jabhat al-Nasru organization by phone, who instructed her to come to the Turkish city of Antakya, and from there to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Syria.

At the crossing, Shanawi was arrested by Turkish authorities for questioning but despite warnings, she was able to cross the border with forged documents into Syria where she met with Jabat al-Nusra member “Abed” and traveled with him to the Idlib province, where she joined the group.

She was arrested by operatives of the terror organization a month after entering the country after she was suspected of having been sent to join the group by Israel authorities. She was released a month later and ordered to return to Turkey, where she was detained by authorities and deported back to Israel by plane.

She was indicted by the Northern District Attorney's Office for contact with a foreign agent, attempted membership in a terrorist organization, and illegal activities. Shanawi 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 Shinawi'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 Jabat al-Nusra, illegal organizations in late 2014.

Dozens of Israeli-Arabs have been arrested after they returned to Israel after joining the groups in Syria out of concern that their battlefield experience will allow them to establish terror networks or commit terror attacks within Israel.

Several Israeli-Arabs are believed to have been killed while fighting in Syria.

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