Israel has arrested five Israeli Arabs from Nazareth on suspicion of supporting the Islamic State and preparing to carry out terror attacks, the Shin Bet security service announced Tuesday.
The cell’s members, all reportedly members of the same family, were arrested in October and November in a joint operation of the Shin Bet and Israel Police, according to officials.
The men were named as Abd al Karim Ihab Abdel Rahman Suleiman, 22; Mohammed Ihab Abdel Rahman Suleiman, 18; Abdel Karim Jamal Ali Suleiman, 23; Mohammed Salah Mohammed Suleiman, 19 and Murad Mohammed Salim Suleiman, 27.
The five relatives held secret meetings and trained in the use of weapons ahead of planned attacks in Israel, according to the Shin Bet. Over the past year, the suspects became more religious and expressed support of the Islamic State and the so-called jihad against apostates.
Earlier this year, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared the Islamic State an illegal organization, making support for the pseudo-caliphate a crime in Israel.
Two rifles, a Russian SKS and a Swedish Carl Gustav were also confiscated in the arrests, after the suspects revealed the weapons’ whereabouts. According to the security service, they practiced using the guns in a grove not far from Nazareth.
The police’s Northern District filed indictments against all five men at the Nazareth District Court on counts of illegal possession of weapons, supporting an illegal terror group and meetings held in support of an illegal organization.
Last month, six Arab Israelis from Jaljulia were arrested for preparing to join the Islamic State, after a seventh man successfully joined the organization by hang gliding into Syria from the Golan Heights.
Also in Nazareth, seven men were indicted in an Israeli court in October for attempting to carry out terror attacks in Israel under the Islamic State’s flag, acquiring weapons and scoping out army bases and police stations.
All told, at least 40 Israelis are believed to have joined the Islamic State in recent years, according to Shin Bet assessments.