The Israeli State Attorney’s Office indicted two Israeli Arab men at the Nazareth District Court on Thursday for having ties with the Islamic State terror organization, also known as ISIS. They are charged with attempting to join the group in Syria, as well as with the illegal trade of weapons.
Mahmoud Abdelfatah, 24, a resident of Nazareth, is charged with contacting a foreign agent and supporting a terror organization. According to the indictment, Abdelfatah had been supporting the Islamic State since 2014, and regularly visited radical Islamic websites. He plotted to travel to Turkey under the guise of being on a honeymoon and then cross the border to Syria and fight with the jihadist group in Raqqa, the city declared by the group to be its capital.
According to the indictment, Abdelfatah had been in regular contact on Facebook with another Israeli Arab, who identified himself as Mahmoud Abdullah from Jerusalem. Abdelfatah met him at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, and later Abdullah updated him that he had crossed the border into Syria where he was fighting with Islamic State.
The second man who was indicted is Ashraf al-Rabii, a 23-year-old resident of Shfaram, who is charged with possessing an illegal weapon as well as with supporting a terrorist group. Al-Rabii was an avid reader of Islamic State propaganda and aspired to fight for the group in Syria. He also owned a non-licensed pistol and sold ammunition to others.
The case was investigated by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Israeli police. The prosecution has asked the court to keep the suspects in custody until the end of court proceedings against them.
There have been many cases recently of Israeli Arabs arrested for attempting to join the Islamic State. More than 40 Israeli Arabs have joined the group in the last two years, according to the Shin Bet.