Shin Bet busts Arab Israeli teens for allegedly supporting IS
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Shin Bet busts Arab Israeli teens for allegedly supporting IS

Teenagers suspected of making bomb after swearing allegiance to terror group's leader, reportedly considered joining its ranks abroad

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, stand under an Islamic State (IS) banner in the recently recaptured Syrian town of Al-Karamah, as they advance to encircle the jihadists' stronghold on Raqqa, on March 26, 2017. (AFP Photo/Delil Souleiman)
Members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, stand under an Islamic State (IS) banner in the recently recaptured Syrian town of Al-Karamah, as they advance to encircle the jihadists' stronghold on Raqqa, on March 26, 2017. (AFP Photo/Delil Souleiman)

Three Arab Israeli teenagers were arrested for expressing support and sympathy for the Islamic State terrorist group last month, the Shin Bet security service announced on Monday.

Over the past few months, the suspects swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after they “were exposed to radical media content connected to the Daesh organization,” the Shin Bet said, using the terror group’s Arabic nickname.

The three suspects were also found to have created an improvised explosive device, the security service said.

One of the suspects discussed with IS operatives the possibility of traveling abroad in order to fight in the terror group’s ranks, the Shin Bet said.

The agency said they had collected evidence showing all three had communicated with Islamic State operatives abroad.

The teenage suspects are all from the town of Barta’a, in northern Israel. Two of them are 17 years old, while the third is now 18 years old, though he is suspected of committing the crimes he’s accused of while still a minor, the Shin Bet said.

Their identities were not released due to their ages.

It was not immediately clear when the suspects will be indicted.

“The Shin Bet security service sees in Israeli supporters of Daesh, who make contact with operatives of the organization and go fight in its ranks, to be a grave security threat,” the agency said.

Therefore, it said, it would “use the necessary enforcement measures in order to prevent the distribution of Daesh’s ideology to Israel.”

The Islamic State does not have widespread support in Israel, and the Shin Bet estimates that approximately 50 Arab citizens of Israel have traveled to Syria or Iraq to join the group in recent years — far fewer than in some European countries with comparable Muslim populations.

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