Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) gather during an operation to clear the al-Zirai district of Islamic State militants in Mosul..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Israeli citizen who was imprisoned in an enemy country on accusations of murder may soon be released. The story was cleared for publication by Israeli authorities on Tuesday.
The family of 20-year-old Ben Hassin and Israeli authorities have recently increased contact with government sources in the enemy country in efforts to secure his release.
The Hassin family agreed to pay compensation to the family of the man who was killed in the incident.
Two years ago, Hassin went to the enemy country to meet family members he had there, according to his father. During his stay there he joined a local militia fighting ISIS.
On one of his rides from the frontlines, he argued with the driver and shot him. He was arrested, jailed and accused of murder.
Kurdish and US forces release video of hostage rescue against Islamic State in Iraq
Hassin was represented by a local lawyer who kept in touch with his family. According to the family’s version of events, Ben shot the driver in self-defense after the man presumed that he was Jewish and an Israeli and threatened to hand him over to ISIS.
The family turned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which began efforts to have him released.
A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said, “Our utmost concern is for his well-being and safety, and because of that, we are in touch with the family and are hoping the efforts of the father and the family will bear fruit and he will be released soon.”
The incident was first published a few months ago by then-deputy minister and Likud MK Ayoub Kara, who was recently promoted to minister without portfolio. Kara met with Hassin’s father Ilan, who asked for his help. Soon after the meeting, Kara published details about Hassin, but within a few minutes he was asked by security agencies and the Military Censor to erase his post, which he published on Facebook.
Security agencies argued that it was a sensitive affair, meaning any publication could damage the efforts to release the young Israeli and endanger his life. Until today, the incident was defined as a “security affair,” but Kara claimed that it was a “criminal affair.”
Kara said on Tuesday that Hassin would be released after his family agreed to pay $120,000 to the victim’s family.
Israeli law forbids citizens from entering enemy states, and in the past, non-journalist Israeli citizens who broke the law have been charged and indicted in court upon their return to Israel.
This is not the first instance of an Israeli volunteering to fight alongside ISIS opponents.
Gill Rosenberg, a 31-year-old Israeli- Canadian woman originally from Vancouver, joined Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq and Syria for almost a year. “We Jews always say of the Holocaust – never again. In my opinion, that’s true not only for the Jews, but for all mankind – and especially for the women and children in Syria and Iraq,” she told Army Radio.
“I saw children and women raped, murdered and sold into sexual slavery because of their religion,” Rosenberg explained, adding that she felt she had to do something about it.
She made initial contact with the Kurdish forces through Facebook, and they instructed her on how to reach them in Iraq.
“I went to Jordan and from there I flew to Erbil, which is in Iraq,” Rosenberg revealed. “From there, I made contact with a number of Western volunteers on Facebook and they sent someone to collect me.”
Rosenberg explained that she could not be fully transparent with all of her Kurdish comrades about her Jewish identity, despite it being one of the main drives behind her expedition to the war-torn region.
“My commanders told me to be discreet about my Jewishness and just to say that I was Canadian,” she said.
Rosenberg served in the IDF after making aliya in 2006 and trained Kenyan soldiers in search and rescue missions during her service. She explained that she was initially posted in Syria and then in Iraq, and that sometimes fighting was heavy, while at other times she was tasked with just holding the line.