A man recently arrested by Israeli security forces upon his return from Syria represents a growing trend among young Israeli Arabs to join Islamic State terrorists.
An Arab resident of Jerusalem with Israeli citizenship was arrested for joining the Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization and illegally traveling to Syria, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) announced Monday.
The aspiring terrorist, Halil Adel Halil, 25, worked as an auxiliary at a hospital near Jerusalem.
He admitted in his investigation to joining the terrorists with a colleague, Muhammad Sami al-Aziz Abu Snina, after being impressed by online ISIS propaganda.
Halil also confessed to working on his physical fitness at the Jerusalem University gym before leaving for Syria.
He told his family and employers that he was leaving on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, while in fact he boarded a flight to Turkey, concealing his ultimate destination from the monitoring security forces.
Halil and his friend arrived in Istanbul in January and contacted ISIS online. They were directed to a relaying point in Turkey where they met others with similar ambitions, some from Bangladesh and two others from Israel, before being spirited into Syria to join the ranks of ISIS.
Halil returned to Israel after a few weeks in Syria and was subsequently arrested by the Shin Bet at the beginning of March.
On Monday, he was indicted at the Jerusalem District Court on charges of attempting to join an illegal organization, attempting to contact a foreign agent and illegally exiting the country.
The Shin Bet stressed that the incident demonstrates “the security threat posed by Israelis joining ISIS after being exposed to propaganda distributed by the organization, primarily online. Their return to Israel, after having gained knowledge and experience in terror and warfare, constitutes a serious threat of terror attacks within Israel’s borders.”
A Mounting Threat to Israel?
Halil is one of several Israeli Arabs who joined or attempted to join ISIS.
In February, the Shin Bet announced the arrest of an Israeli Arab from Nazareth upon his return from Syria and Iraq, where he had been fighting alongside ISIS.
In January, a security official announced that Shin Bet had successfully apprehended an ISIS terror cell in northern Israel. Security forces took down an ISIS cell in Hebron in November and yet another group of terrorists upon their return to Israel from Syria in October.
By: World Israel News Staff