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Israel concerned IS making inroads among Bedouins

Security services mark increased identification among Israelis in Negev with jihadists; fear terror attacks — report

Illustrative photo of Islamic State militants, with an IS fighter waving the group flag in Fallujah, Iraq, west of Baghdad, June 28, 2015. (Militant website of IS, via AP)
Illustrative photo of Islamic State militants, with an IS fighter waving the group flag in Fallujah, Iraq, west of Baghdad, June 28, 2015. (Militant website of IS, via AP)

Israeli security forces are reportedly concerned about increased Islamic State activity among Bedouins in the Negev and fear that members of the group — who are Israeli citizens — will carry out terror attacks.

According to a report in the Haaretz daily on Wednesday, the Shin Bet security service is more worried about the threat posed by Israeli terror cells aligned with the Islamic State than by the jihadi groups in the Sinai Peninsula and on the Syrian Golan Heights.

Last week, the Shin Bet busted a Hamas cell that planned to carry out suicide and car bombings against Israelis. One of the cell members, Fahdi Daoud Muhammad Abu Qaian, a 19-year-old Bedouin Israeli from the Negev, agreed to actually carry out an attack, the Shin Bet said.

During Abu Qaian’s interrogation he revealed to officers that he agreed in October to either carry out a suicide bombing with an explosive vest or drive a car packed with explosives into some Israeli target. According to Haaretz, Abu Qaian admitted that apart from his Hamas membership, he supported the Islamic State and was linked to Salafist groups in the Bedouin village of Hura.

In October, a Bedouin Israeli killed an IDF soldier and wounded 11 in a shooting attack in the Beersheba bus station. A friend of the killer later said the terrorist was enamored of the Islamic State jihadist group.

The Shin Bet has also announced numerous arrests of Bedouin would-be jihadists in the past two years, including several teachers, and two Bedouin doctors. A Bedouin Israeli was also reportedly killed while fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State in September 2014.

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