Arab Israeli man accused of plotting Islamic State-inspired attack
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Arab Israeli man accused of plotting Islamic State-inspired attack

Shin Bet says 26-year-old Taibe resident tried — and failed — to recruit others to join him during summer's Temple Mount crisis

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

Hassan Sheikh Youssef, 26, of the Arab Israeli city of Taibe, is suspected of supporting the Islamic State terrorist group and planning to commit attacks on its behalf. He was indicted on January 14, 2018. (Shin Bet)
Hassan Sheikh Youssef, 26, of the Arab Israeli city of Taibe, is suspected of supporting the Islamic State terrorist group and planning to commit attacks on its behalf. He was indicted on January 14, 2018. (Shin Bet)

A young Arab Israeli man was arrested earlier this month on the suspicion that he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group and planned to carry out an attack in Israel on its behalf, the Shin Bet security service announced on Sunday.

Hassan Sheikh Youssef, 26, from the Arab Israeli city of Taibe, was charged in the Central District Court in Lod on Sunday. With the filing of the indictment, a gag order on the case was removed.

According to the Shin Bet, Sheikh Youssef began supporting the organization approximately three years ago, watching the videos put out by the Islamic State on the internet.

“The investigation also found that Youssef watched video guides on how to prepare explosives and even tried to get someone else to buy an M-16 assault rifle with him,” the security service said in a statement.

He was arrested earlier this month in a joint operation by the Shin Bet and Israel Police.

The Shin Bet said he tried to recruit others to join the Islamic State group this past summer, during the controversy surrounding Israel’s decision to place metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following a terror attack there.

According to the security service, he planned to convince them to work with him to commit “different types of terror attacks, including a shooting in Jerusalem, setting off a car bomb next to the police station in Taibe and a stabbing.”

However, Sheikh Youssef was rebuffed by everyone he contacted, the Shin Bet said.

Israel has seen comparatively few citizens join the Islamic State terror group, though it remains a significant concern to security forces.

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