Islamic State cell plan to attack Nazareth Muslim school thwarted by Israeli forces

One of the targets of a thwarted ISIS cell was a a local Muslim high school, which according to the suspects, "operates in the way of 'the infidels.'"

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic "Caliphate" and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a st (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)
A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic "Caliphate" and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a st
(photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

An Islamic State (ISIS) cell in Nazareth was broken up a few weeks ago when six suspects were arrested by the Shin Bet and Israel Police, the Shin Bet announced on Sunday morning.

The ISIS cell had planned to attack a variety of targets. One of the main targets was a local Muslim high school, which according to the suspects, "operates in the way of 'the infidels.'"

The Shin Bet investigation found plan outlines and research on terrorist targets such as bus stops, a nearby police station, and a park that was frequented by Jews.

Recruitment and spread of ISIS in Israel

The cell was seeking to obtain weapons and recruit more operatives.

 A-Jafar Suleiman (credit: SHIN BET) A-Jafar Suleiman (credit: SHIN BET)

Israeli intelligence said that the group attempted to spread its ideology among Israeli citizens and residents through the internet and social media. The suspects themselves were radicalized by online ISIS content.

The suspects are Mahmoud Ahab Suleiman, 25 — Who was previously known by security forces for his previous connections to ISIS — A-Jafar Suleiman, 21; Muman Nijam, 20, Ahmed Balel Suleiman, 18; Jihad Baqr, 20. The sixth member of the cell was identified only as a minor. 

"The Shin Bet and Israel Police will continue to do everything in their power and use all measures at their disposal to deal with phenomena related to radical Islamic ideologies, and preemptively eliminate intentions to harm the security of the State of Israel," said the Shin Bet.

Inspired by previous ISIS attacks

The security forces said that besides online propaganda, the suspects were also inspired to commit acts of terrorism by other ISIS attacks against Israeli citizens in Beersheba, Hadera and Jerusalem in March.

 Image found on the phones of an ISIS cell in Nazareth. (credit: SHIN BET) Image found on the phones of an ISIS cell in Nazareth. (credit: SHIN BET)

Deadly Islamic State terrorist attacks early this year, some of which were conducted by Israeli-Arab citizens, were defining attacks that began the wave of terrorism that has plagued Israel and the disputed territories throughout the year.

On March 22, four Israeli were killed and several others injured in a stabbing attack at a shopping center and gas station in Beersheba. The terrorist was identified as a Bedouin-Israeli who had previously served prison time for spreading ISIS propaganda.

A week later, two Arab-Israeli terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State killed two Border police officers in Hadera in a shooting attack.

Following the series of attacks, Israeli security forces launched Operation Break the Wave, which has seen near nightly operations throughout the West Bank, with a special focus in Jenin and the north.

Anna Ahronheim and Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.