Bedouin terrorist was ISIS supporter, recently released from prison

Muhammad Abu Al-Kiyan, 34, led a group of six clan members jailed in 2016 for terror affiliation.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Bedouin terrorist who killed four Jews and injured two in Beersheba on Tuesday was an ISIS supporter who was recently released from Israeli prison.

Muhammad Abu Al-Kiyan, 34, was an elementary school teacher in the Negev town of Hura, where his family reportedly plays a prominent role.

In 2016, he was convicted of establishing a group with five other members of his clan that met for some two years, encouraging support for the terrorist ISIS organization and planning to join its fighting forces in Syria.

Their designs had already advanced to the stage of obtaining passports and preparing to fly to Saudi Arabia during Ramadan, as if they were fulfilling the religious obligation to visit Mecca on hajj. They were planning to stay only one day in the Kingdom before finding an ISIS contact to arrange their trip to Syria.

He and three others in the group, also teachers, were also charged with distributing an illegal organization’s materials, as they propagandized their students with extremist Islamic ideology. In addition, Al-Kiyan would preach jihadist sermons in a local mosque to his Hura neighbors.

Al-Kiyan was sentenced to four years in prison for membership in a terrorist organization, distributing an illegal organization’s materials, conspiracy to commit a crime and attempting to exit the country illegally.

His comparatively light sentence was the result of a plea bargain according to which he professed to regret his actions and promised never to repeat them.

The judge who approved the deal stated the mitigating circumstances that led to his decision.

“A teacher by profession, esteemed in his community, married and a father of five, and until committing the crimes it is clear that he led a normative lifestyle. The defendant has taken full responsibility for his actions, admitted to the amended indictment, expressed remorse for his actions and said that he knows he made a mistake and will not repeat them.

“In light of the above, and especially due to the lack of a criminal past, his acceptance of responsibility and the remorse which seems sincere, the punishment should be on the lower threshold of the range of appropriate penalties.”

According to Haaretz, Al-Kiyan continued to express support for ISIS while in jail and did not integrate socially with Fatah or Hamas security prisoners. A possible reason could be that he felt his “pure” Islamist ideology was incompatible with theirs.

The report stated that in July 2017, a torn SIM card was found in his possession, which he may have used to contact people outside the prison using a smuggled mobile phone.

Israel’s Security Agency kept him under surveillance since his release a year and a half ago, during which time he gave no indication of murderous plans and had held a regular job while maintaining a religious lifestyle.

While a full investigation into his contacts is underway, he is currently being classified as a lone terrorist.