Muayyed Ighbariya, an Israeli man thought to have been killed last month while fighting pro-Assad forces in the Syrian civil war, called his forces called his parents Saturday night to tell them he was alive.
“My son called me around 11.00 a.m.,” AFP quoted the man’s father, Zaki Ighbariya, as saying. “He said that he and two friends… who went with him are alive and well.”
According to the family, Ighbariya left his home town of Umm al-Fahm, in northern Israel, a few months ago and proceeded to cross through Turkey into Syria, where he joined the jihadi rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra.
“We were happy to think that he died a martyr, because that was his mission; today we are happy once again because he is alive,” Ighbariya’s father was quoted as saying.
He said the family had received word of Ighbariya’s death in September.
In September another Israeli citizen, Mueid Juma’a, was reported to have been killed in battle in Syria. Other Israeli Arabs have been arrested for fighting alongside Syrian rebel groups like al-Nusra, which has been linked to al-Qaeda.
In August, Abdel Qader Altallah, a pharmacy student from Taibe, was indicted upon returning to Israel for initiating contact with an enemy agent, after he briefly joined the ranks of the Syrian rebels.
A month earlier, 29-year-old Hikmat Massarwa, who joined the rebel Free Syrian Army, was handed a 30-month prison sentence after he agreed to a plea bargain and admitted to contacting an enemy agent, illegally leaving the country and infiltration.
The Shin Bet security service has said in the past that it “sees Arab Israelis going to Syria as a very dangerous trend.”