Shin Bet nabs two Arab Israelis for joining Islamic State
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Shin Bet nabs two Arab Israelis for joining Islamic State

Suspects charged with conspiring to murder one of their cousins who served in US military, spreading terror group’s propaganda and training videos

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

Amin Yassin, left, and Ali Armush, right, who were indicted for allegedly joining the Islamic State terror group on August 22, 2019. (Shin Bet)
Amin Yassin, left, and Ali Armush, right, who were indicted for allegedly joining the Islamic State terror group on August 22, 2019. (Shin Bet)

Israeli forces last month arrested two Arab Israeli men suspected of joining Islamic State and helping the terror group spread its propaganda, the Shin Bet security service said Thursday.

The two men — medical student Amin Yassin, 22, and Ali Armush, 28 — were arrested on July 16, but a court-issued gag order was placed on the case. This order was removed Thursday when the two were indicted in a Northern District Court.

According to the indictment, the two men also discussed killing one of Yassin’s cousins who had served in the American military when he next came to visit Israel, as “in their view, his actions made him an ‘infidel,’ and as such his punishment was death.”

Yassin and Armush, from the northern Israeli town of Tamra, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, contacting a foreign agent and conducting training exercises for terrorist purposes.

Amin Yassin, an Arab Israeli man suspected of joining the Islamic State terror group, who was indicted on August 22, 2019. (Shin Bet)

“From the Shin Bet’s investigation, it was determined that the pair support the Islamic State terror group and even see themselves as its emissaries, up to the point of creating an Islamic caliphate in Israel,” the security service said in a statement.

As part of this belief, Yassin and Armush helped spread the terror group’s ideology and training video to others, including through social media, the Shin Bet said.

According to the charge sheet, the two were in contact with people who claimed to be members of Islamic State in Syria.

Armush discussed the possibility of traveling to the war-torn country to join the terror group there, but this never occurred.

Ali Armush, an Arab Israeli man suspected of joining the Islamic State terror group, who was indicted on August 22, 2019. (Shin Bet)

Instead, Armush watched instructional videos put out by Islamic State on how to carry out terror attacks and create explosives “in order to carry out jihad at the appropriate time,” the Shin Bet said.

The security service has in the past estimated that several dozen Israeli nationals had fought for Islamic State and other terror groups in Iraq and Syria. Most were either killed in action or returned to Israel, where they were arrested. Many willingly returned, despite knowing they would be indicted, due to the abysmal living conditions in the Islamist-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria.

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