Israeli-Arabs Attempting to Defect to Syria to Join ISIS Apprehended

November 19, 2015

2 min read

Following a joint investigation between Israel’s Shin Bet security service and the Central Police Unit, several ISIS supporters from the Israeli-Arab town of Jaljulia were apprehended. According to the findings of the investigation, that were permitted for publication on Wednesday, the group had planned on defecting to Syria to join ISIS.

This particular terror cell was under investigation since the defection of an Israeli-Arab, Nadal Hamad Tzalach Tzalach, who had crossed the border into Syria via hang glider in late October. According to security officials, it was found that this group was responsible for the defection and were planning to join their comrade fighting for the jihadist group.

Tzalach’s accomplices were identified as Jahad Nadal Yosef Hagla, 26, and his brother Ahab Nadal Yosef Hagla, 22. Both are residents of Jaljulia and were known to security forces as ISIS supporters.

Jahad had even spent six months fighting for ISIS in 2013 and was arrested immediately upon returning to Israel that same year. He was released from prison in November 2014.

During their interrogation, the brothers admitted to planning to fly over the Golan border into Syria via hang gliders. According to their own testimony, they planned this course of action due to a fear that Jahad would not be allowed to travel from Ben Gurion Airport, due to his being a flight risk from his previous stint with ISIS.

The brothers gave security forces four additional names of accomplices from Jaljulia: Anas Nadal Yosef Hagla, Mahmad Amin Uda, Mahmad Jamil Sa’ada Zakgati and Adnan Ismail Uthman Anash.

Security officials also revealed that Jahad had been holding private meetings in his house for a number of months that revolved around his religious indoctrination, as well as ISIS recruitment sessions. During these meetings, a number of residents from the town decided to leave their homes and join ISIS.

While the two Hagla brothers planned to glide into Syria, the other four intended to fly to Turkey and cross the border from there. They had planned special techniques of communicating through the internet in order to be able to find each other once the entire group arrived in Syria.

Adnan Anash and Mahmad Zakgati had previously travelled to Turkey in October and attempted to make contact with ISIS smugglers to cross the border, but failed. Having been thwarted in their attempts, Anash and Zakgati returned to Israel toward the end of October.

The suspects were charged earlier on Wednesday with numerous felonies connected with their attempted defection.

Security forces explained that attempts by citizens of Israel to leave the country and join with ISIS presents a major security threat to the well-being of Israel. They added that many resources have been invested to prevent Israeli citizens from crossing the border and joining up with the terror group. Similarly, many intelligence resources are being devoted to identifying and capturing ISIS supporters who are planning to join the extremist-terrorist movement, specifically within the Israeli-Arab population.  

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