2 Bedouin women, 19, charged with joining IS, plotting New Year’s terror attack
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2 Bedouin women, 19, charged with joining IS, plotting New Year’s terror attack

Shin Bet arrests pair from southern Israel; 24-year-old East Jerusalem man also indicted in connection with plot

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

Rahma al-Assad, left, and Tasnin al-Assad, two Bedouin Israeli 19-year-old women suspected of plotting terror attacks against Jewish Israelis on behalf of the Islamic State terrorist group, who were indicted on January 8, 2017. (Shin Bet)
Rahma al-Assad, left, and Tasnin al-Assad, two Bedouin Israeli 19-year-old women suspected of plotting terror attacks against Jewish Israelis on behalf of the Islamic State terrorist group, who were indicted on January 8, 2017. (Shin Bet)

Two female Bedouin Israeli teenagers were indicted on Monday on charges they were planning to carry out a New Year’s eve attack on behalf of the Islamic State terrorist group, the Shin Bet security service said.

A 24-year-old East Jerusalem man, Ahmad Abu Ramila, was also charged on Monday of lesser counts in connection with the plot.

Rahma al-Assad and Tasnin al-Assad, both of them 19 from the Bedouin town of Lakiya in southern Israel, were charged with a number of counts, including planning a deadly terror attack, contacting a foreign agent and joining an illegal organization.

Abu Ramila was charged with contacting a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit a crime, and with obstruction of justice and destroying evidence for deleting his conversations with the two women.

According to the Shin Bet, the two teens made contact with members of the Islamic State terrorist group sometime last year.

During their interrogations, the teenagers said the Islamic State members, from outside Israel, told them to “carry out terror attacks against Jews in the State of Israel,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

“They were even instructed by some of them to carry out preparatory missions ahead of the attack,” the security service said.

According to the charge sheet, this included visiting Beersheba’s Ben Gurion University campus in order to determine if they would be able to bring in a suitcase full of explosives for a bombing attack there. They determined they could not.

They also refused to carry out an attack at the Beersheba bus station as many Muslim Israelis travel through it, according to the indictment.

This fall, Rahma al-Assad contacted Abu Ramila — who planned on marrying Tasnin al-Assad — to see if he would help carry out a terror attack during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

According to the indictment, Abu Ramila had also been in contact with Islamic State members. He refused to carry out the attack, but Rahma insisted.

Tasnin allegedly tried to help Abu Ramila get out of carrying out the attack, urging him to tell Rahma that he would only commit a terror attack if she got him a gun, as Tasnin knew that Rahma would not be able to do so.

The pair also shared Islamic State publications on the internet and shared “inciting content that called for terror attacks against Jews and Israel,” the Shin Bet said.

It was not clear if the two teenagers are related.

According to the charges against them, Abu Ramila and the two women planned to eventually leave Israel and join the Islamic State group’s affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

The two women were arrested on December 18 and Abu Ramila was arrested on December 26, but a gag order was placed on the case, preventing publication.

That order was removed on Monday, as indictments were filed against the three of them in Beersheba District Court.

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