Islamic State claims it captured Mossad spy in Syria

Islamic State claims it captured Mossad spy in Syria

Propaganda magazine says East Jerusalemite, 19, confessed to being an Israeli informant; family denies he worked for Mossad

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An Islamic State publication released on February 12, 2015, claims Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam is a Mossad informant from Jerusalem.
An Islamic State publication released on February 12, 2015, claims Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam is a Mossad informant from Jerusalem.

The Islamic State claimed to have captured an Israeli spy working for the Mossad, in the newest edition of its English-language propaganda magazine released Thursday.

In an interview, 19-year-old Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam told the English-language Dabiq magazine he is from East Jerusalem and was recruited to work for the Israeli intelligence agency by his Jewish neighbor, a police officer named “Eli.”

Musallam said he accepted his neighbor’s offer after gaining his family’s support and hearing of the salary and financial opportunities.

“They [his father and brother] both encouraged me to do it and told me that it was a very good job. They told me that there was a lot of money in it, and that you could advance to higher positions. I knew at that point that they themselves were working as spies,” he was quoted as saying.

Musallam said his base pay was NIS 5,000 per month, but would increase depending on the importance of the assignment and level of risk involved.

After a one month training course where he received weapons training and was taught how to pass an interrogation, Musallam said he was tasked with turning in weapons dealers and reporting potential terrorists to the intelligence agency.

Later, Musallam said a Mosssad agent named “Miro” approached him, with an offer to spy on the Islamic State in Syria. According to the magazine, his mission was to collect specific information about weapons, where they were stored and identify any Israeli Arabs or Palestinians fighting in the ranks of the jihadist group.

Noticing that his behavior was unusual for a volunteer jihadist, his commanders began to suspect Musallam and began to monitor him, according to the magazine.

Musallam was detained and confessed to being an informant.

The authenticity of the interview has not been verified.

His family denied he was a Mossad spy, though his father confirmed to Israel’s Channel 2 news that he had been captured in Syria while in an area controlled by the Islamic State.

A number of Israelis are thought to have joined up with the Islamic State, which has attracted 20,000 foreign fighters, according to a US report this week.

In January, a Nazareth man was arrested upon returning to Israel after joining the Islamic State to fight in Iraq.

The group, which captured wide swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, is known for its brutal tactics and use of slick propaganda material to spread its Islamist message.

The magazine also featured an interview with Hayat Boumeddiene, the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, who is though to have aided him in an attack on a kosher Paris supermarket that left four people dead last month.

Boumeddiene, who is called Umm Basir al-Muhajirah in the publication, is thought to have fled from France to Syria a day before the January 9 attack.

Coulibaly was killed by police after killing four Jewish men and holding some 15 people hostage for several hours.

In the magazine, she discusses Coulibaly’s excitement to join the Islamic State.

“His eyes shined every time he would watch the videos of the Islamic State,” she was quoted as saying. “He would say, ‘Don’t show me this,’ because when he would watch the videos, it would make him want to perform hijrah [travel to where you can practice religion freely] immediately and that would have conflicted with his intent to carry out the operations in France.”

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