An Arab citizen of Israel from the Negev town of Hura was arrested in late April for helping two family members leave Israel, enter Syria, and join the ranks of the al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Shin Bet security service announced Tuesday.
Idris Abu Alqayan, 23, was arrested on April 28 and charged on May 15 with conspiracy to commit a crime and aiding an unlawful exit from the country.
Abu Alqayan, a Salafist, helped plan and pay for his brother Othman’s and his cousin Shafiq’s trip through Turkey to Syria. With the help of social media, the Shin Bet said, he also assisted the two Israeli citizens to link up with like-minded Islamist fighters in Syria.
The war in Syria has claimed 165,000 lives and forced millions of Syrians to flee to neighboring countries Jordan and Turkey.
Calling the phenomenon of Israeli citizens leaving to fight in Syria alongside the anti-Assad forces “familiar,” the Shin Bet said it was the first time citizens from the Negev had taken such actions.
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terror Information Center released a report earlier this month asserting that there are currently over 5,000 foreign Arab fighters waging war in Syria and that they constitute “the spine” of extremist organizations such Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.
“The phenomenon is dangerous because all those who enter that arena receive military training, are exposed to extremist global jihad ideology, and there is the risk that they will be used, at the end of the day, to carry out terror attacks against the State of Israel,” the Shin Bet said.