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‘My son was no spy,’ says father of Israeli slain by IS

Said Mussalam says Islamic State killed his son because he decided to leave group to visit sick mother, vows revenge on Jihadi leader ‘in paradise or hell’

The parents of Arab-Israeli Muhammad Musallam react at the family's home in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem on March 10, 2015, after the Islamic State (IS) released a video purportedly showing a young boy executing their son. (photo credit: AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI)
The parents of Arab-Israeli Muhammad Musallam react at the family's home in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem on March 10, 2015, after the Islamic State (IS) released a video purportedly showing a young boy executing their son. (photo credit: AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI)

The father of an Israeli national who was executed by the Islamic State hit back at claims that his son was a Mossad agent, instead claiming that he was killed for attempting to leave the terror group.

Said Musallam also vowed revenge on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the afterlife, and said no Israeli authorities had contacted him over the video showing his son’s slaying.

A video released on Tuesday appeared to show a child executing Muhammad Musallam, 20, an East Jerusalem Arab who joined the Islamist organization in late 2014, allegedly in order to infiltrate its ranks as a Mossad agent.

In the clip, Musallam can be seen kneeling in an orange jumpsuit before an armed man and a teenage boy. After the man issues a brief tirade against Jews, the boy appears to shoot Musallam repeatedly with a pistol.

Musallam’s father, Said Musallam told Army Radio Wednesday that his son had joined the Islamic State of his own volition, but quickly regretted the decision. The allegations of his being a Mossad agent were simply a fabrication, he said.

“Mossad! What Mossad? Would the Mossad enlist a 19-year-old boy who doesn’t know the first thing about life?” Musallam said.

“I don’t know what they did to him. Maybe they gave him drugs before he boarded the plane, promises of paradise and money,” he said, adding that when he arrived in Syria, his son quickly turned against the terror group due to its brutal tactics.

Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam, an Arab from East Jerusalem held captive by the Islamic State group for allegedly being a Mossad spy, shown in a video apparently showing his execution, March 10, 2015. ( screen capture: YouTube)
Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam, an Arab from East Jerusalem held captive by the Islamic State group for allegedly being a Mossad spy, shown in a video apparently showing his execution, March 10, 2015. ( screen capture: YouTube)

“He was actually against Daesh,” the elder Musallam said of his son, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

“He was in contact with his brother, and he told him: ‘Don’t believe anything you see on television,” Said said.

“They promised a lot of things and then I came here and there is nothing,” Musallam recalled his son saying in a phone call home from Syria, in a conversation with the Associated Press.

The son said he was in Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the Islamic State group, and had heard his mother was sick and wanted to come back, the father added.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined comment while Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency said it announced earlier this year that Muhammed Musallam had left for Turkey to fight with IS.

The elder Musallam said he was the only one in the family to watch the video. He said he saw his son dressed in orange, knew that he was marked for death, and could not watch it through to the end.

His wife cried and she and other family members were too distraught to watch, he added. The family said it had begun a customary three-day mourning period, though there will not be a mourning tent because they live in a Jewish area of east Jerusalem.

Musallam told AP he wished the same fate upon the family of Islamic State group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“I will leave it to God and what happened to my son Muhammed I hope God will do the same for you, your sons and your family,” Musallam said in Arabic, addressing al-Baghdadi. “God knows that one day we’ll meet, whether in paradise or in hell, and we’ll settle the accounts.”

According to the elder Musallam, two months after arriving in Syria his son attempted to cross back into Turkey, but was arrested at a roadblock near the border manned by Islamic State fighters.

He was incarcerated in a prison in Tell Abyad, northern Syria, and forced to confess that he was an Israeli agent.

In February, the Islamic State mouthpiece Dabiq published an interview with the Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, resident and said he was recruited to work for the Israeli intelligence agency by his Jewish neighbor, a police officer named “Eli.”

In the piece, Musallam was quoted as saying that he was encouraged to join the Mossad for financial gain by his father and brother, who, according to article, were both working as spies for the agency.

The parents of Muhammed Musallam  hold a portrait of their son,  March 10, 2015, (photo credit: AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)
The parents of Muhammed Musallam hold a portrait of their son, March 10, 2015, (photo credit: AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)

“What would he be doing now [were he still alive]? He would’ve completed his national service, started working, started making money,” Musallam said, adding that “if he had money, he never would’ve gone.”

Muhammad performed voluntary national service as a firefighter in Jerusalem. He later signed on to a course run by the Rishon Lezion fire department, but failed to show up, instead flying to Turkey and then on to Syria.

“They caught him and killed him. If he would’ve come back to Israel, he would’ve told us everything that he saw and heard,” the elder Mussalam said.

“None of the authorities have contacted me. Nobody. Not the police, nor the Shin Bet, nor the Mossad. Only my friends at the Egged bus company,” he said.

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