2 Israeli-Arabs caught trying to join ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra

Israeli Arabs from Jaffa who attempted to serve with ISIS in Syria were arrested and charged upon their return to the country. 

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Israeli security forces recently arrested two Israeli Arabs who tried to join the Islamic State (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terror organizations in Syria.

The two, Abdelmalek Asfour and Adam Abu Shehadeh of Jaffa, traveled to Turkey with the hopes of entering Syria and joining the terror groups, but returned to Israel when they lost contact with their Syrian point man.

An indictment filed Thursday against the two at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court included charges of attempting to illegally leave Israel to join the Jihad battlefield in Syria.

Several years ago, Asfour developed an ideological identification with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. He finally decided to join them three years ago.

A year later, Asfour made contact via Twitter with a person affiliated with the terror groups, who introduced him to the more secure Telegram messaging application, through which Asfour could contact a Syrian who would help him enter the country.

Asfour asked Abu Shehadeh to join him, and he agreed.

When they arrived in Istanbul en route to Syria they waited for instructions from the Syrian source, who ordered them to wait a day or two. After not hearing from him for several days, the defendants decided to return to Israel.

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The prosecution noted that while they were in Istanbul waiting for instructions, the defendants purchased thermal clothing and sports shoes intended for long walks for their activities in the combat zones.

The two confessed to all the charges during questioning and provided a detailed account of their actions.

The State Attorney’s Office requested that their remand be extended until the end of the proceedings against them.

A real risk

The indictment filed by Attorney Roni Mudrik stated that the phenomenon of Israeli-Arabs joining Islamic terror groups in Syria poses a real risk.

Israel fears that Arabs returning to Israel after fighting with ISIS will use their experience to establish terror networks and commit attacks within Israel, or that Arabs in Israel will be inspired by ISIS, especially via social media, and work against the state and its citizens.

Israel estimates that tens of Israeli Arabs have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq in recent years. Several have been arrested upon their return to the country. Others have been killed in the battlefield.

Israeli security forces have also arrested several Palestinian and Israeli-Arab terror cells inside Israel either inspired by or which had actual connections with ISIS.