Islamic State graffiti found on Druze memorial

Police launch investigation after vandals deface monument for fallen soldiers near Daliyat al-Karmel

A KKL-JNF monument defaced with IS graffiti on the Carmel Scenic Route near the Druze village Daliyat a-Karmel, November 22, 2014. (Photo credit: Israel Police)
A KKL-JNF monument defaced with IS graffiti on the Carmel Scenic Route near the Druze village Daliyat a-Karmel, November 22, 2014. (Photo credit: Israel Police)

Graffiti in Arabic praising the Islamic State terror group was found on a memorial monument for fallen Druze IDF soldiers along the Carmel Scenic Route, located east of the predominantly Druze village of Daliyat al-Karmel.

Similar graffiti was found nearby on a KKL-JNF monument.

Police said six Palestinian youths were arrested in connection with the incident.

The graffiti was erased by city officials.

Last month, residents of Daliyat al-Karmel, south of Haifa, discovered four graffiti spray paintings of the word “Daesh” — an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State — near a soccer field in the city

In a separate incident, the words “Daesh is on the way” were found daubed in Arabic alongside an Israeli flag in the village of Bana’a, in the Galilee.

Rafik Halabi, head of the Daliyat al-Karmel local council, urged police after last month’s incident to act quickly to apprehend those responsible for the graffiti, saying that “even if children did this as a prank, we are taking this incident very seriously,” the Israeli news site NRG reported. “The Druze community condemns this Islamic terrorist organization,” he said.

Although police are attempting to crack down on any show of support for the Islamic State, the group’s popularity appears to be on the rise within Israeli Arab communities, where the rebel group’s flag has been sighted in various places throughout Israel.

According to police and the Shin Bet internal security service, more than 30 Israeli Arabs have joined Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.

Last week, tensions between Israeli Arabs and members of the Druze community soared after at least 26 people were injured in a brawl between some three dozen Muslim and Druze youths. The fight was allegedly over the security situation, which has seen recent tensions with Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank — in part over Israeli plans to step up building activity in the city’s eastern sector and religious tensions at the Temple Mount — spread to Israeli Arab communities after the police shooting of a 22-year-old man in Kafr Kanna on November 15.

Ten Israelis have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks in recent weeks, including two Druze police officers.

Members of the Druze community serve in the IDF and the Israeli Border Police, while members of the rest of Israel’s Arab community largely do not.

Earlier this week, Druze policeman Zidan Saif was killed in a gunfight with terrorists at a Jerusalem synagogue. Saif, 30, was the first officer on the scene of the attack in Har Nof, where two Palestinians from East Jerusalem, armed with a gun and cleavers, had already killed four worshipers. Saif was shot in the head in the shootout in which the two terrorists were killed. Evacuated in critical condition to a local hospital, he died of his wounds late Tuesday night.

The slain officer left behind a 21-year-old wife and a four-month-old daughter, along with his parents and five brothers. Saif’s uncle died fighting in the Israel Defense Forces during the 1982 Lebanon War.

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