Last updated: 23 November, 2014

Israel arrests Arab citizen for joining IS in Syria

Police and Israel's Shin Bet security agency have arrested an Arab Israeli suspected of undergoing military training with the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, the agency said.

It said that Hamza Magasmah, from the Galilee village of Yafia, was arrested on October 24 on his return to Israel.

A Shin Bet statement said Magasmah and two friends travelled to Syria via Turkey “with the objective of joining the Islamic State terror organisation.”

“Magasmah and his two friends were taken to an IS training camp where they had lessons, among other things on weapons, and physical fitness training,” it added.

The statement said that after about 10 days Magasmah decided to go home to his family and crossed back into Turkey from where he flew to Israel.

“He was arrested at (Tel Aviv’s) Ben Gurion airport and taken for interrogation.”

On November 3, a court sentenced another Arab Israeli, Ahmed Shorabji, to 22 months in prison for joining IS in Syria.

The Shin Bet said last month that an Arab Israeli doctor had been killed fighting for the group.

The man’s brother was arrested in April and charged with aiding another relative to travel to Syria via Turkey to join IS, in separate cases from that of Shorabji.

Security authorities say they know of about 30 Arab Israelis who have made their way to Syria to fight for jihadist groups against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but that only a few joined IS.

Arab Israelis number around 1.7 million, just over 20 percent of Israel’s population.

They are the descendents of 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who remained on their land when the Jewish state was established in 1948.

Israel and Syria are technically still at war following their 1967 and 1973 conflicts.